Thursday, September 25, 2008

GRIT(S) in Portugal

An interview w/ Dyana Valentine
on The II International Community Psychology Conference in Lisbon- 2008

Ghetto Savant: What was the Lisbon conference like?
Dyana Valentine: It was well-run, hosted in the beautiful Gulbenkian Institute and the community psychologists who attended were remarkable. I arrived during the pre-conferences and attended a workshop on Youth Participation, run by Shep Zeldin from University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was a great introduction to the conference.

GS: What was the formula for you and Blaine Teamer's workshop presentation?
Our workshop "Using New Media and Social Networks to Promote Wellness" was structured very simply. Blaine produced a fantastic three minute DVD intro of the TRUE GRIT(s) project. I then introduced myself and told the participants about the "I'm In On It..." concept and that once I saw TRUE GRIT(s) the first time--I HAD to be part of the project, any way I could.

We then watched a short excerpt of the film, followed by a discussion and then small-group activity. The participants (all community psychologists from the US, New Zealand, Portugal and England, many of whom are PhD candidates) broke into groups of 4-6 people to discuss their own answers to the 5 questions:
How do you define cheating?
Have you ever cheated?
Have you ever been cheated on?
What did you learn from either/both experience? and
How did you heal?

GS: What did you take away from the other workshops?
I gained wonderful contacts around the world, inspiration to continue building my competencies in the practice of community psychology and the absolute calling to read more scholarly works to clarify and inform my own work and ensure that it aligned with and grounded to my field.

GS: How are other people in the field using media?
Community psychologists are using many forms of media in their work such as: theatre, music, film, photography, drawing and painting to reach their communities of practice. In Lisbon, I learned that use of social media sites such as Facebook and Myspace are more common than I thought in community psychology. There are also many professionals using intranet tools to gather their communities and peers to discuss issues and interface with other communities.

GS: Who did you meet and what were they doing in the field?
I met colleagues who specialize in: use of theatre in community education and advocacy; domestic violence prevention and intervention; homelessness; leadership; women and power; urban planning; hip-hop music and youth participation; photography; capitalism in university settings; heavy metal music communities, and the list goes on. I highly recommend looking at the conference catalog on and reaching out to the community psychologists doing something that you connect with. I can say confidently that, as a group, we are all open to sharing our work with others!

copyyright 2008

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