As part of the recent international, interdisciplinary and bilingual conference on Migration/Representation/Stereoptypes, Dr. Henry Daniel, Professor of Dance and Performance Studies in the School for the Contemporary Arts in the Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology, Simon Fraser University, facilitated a masterclass on movement, migration and belonging.
High school students, teachers, faculty members, visiting scholars and union representatives took part in the masterclass and explored stories about ‘contemporary nomads’ who move from place to place in search of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual sustenance. Using improvisation, spoken word, digital culture and dance, participants examined nine characteristics of a ‘contemporary nomad’:
1) An incessant curiosity that drives someone to keep searching for answers about their existence;
2) A sense of belonging nowhere completely but at the same time having parts of one’s identity that are at home in different places;
3) An inability to immerse oneself completely in any one established community even though there is an almost romantic longing to do so;
4) An ability to recognize others in the same predicament;
5) A formal indoctrination in more than one language, cultural form, or institutional system;
6) An attachment to these languages, cultural forms, or institutions and to the people who practice them;
7) Transplantation by force or other means from one or another of these institutional frameworks and/or systems;
8) Someone who regularly and sometimes even fluidly moves between these systems and institutions;
9) A desire not to be pinned down.