Faculty member talks care at TEDx event

Dec 4 2013
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Joanne_Minaker_picWhen approached to speak at Edmonton’s December 5 TEDx event being held at the Garneau Theatre, Joanne Minaker questioned who the "Landscape-Changing Women" the event title was referring to were exactly.

Did the title refer to her? Or perhaps the young mothers she’d encountered in her research over the past few years? She felt she needed to define “landscape” before deciding on what she would bring to the stage.

“I see landscape as not just this physical space, but as a view—how we see things as a space of relationship,” explains the sociology faculty member.

So Joanne decided to focus her TEDx talk on care, but in the larger context of the sociology of care.

Thinking about care differently

“Typically people think about care in one of two ways: as a character trait, which is very individualized, or as it applies to early childhood education, nursing or social work,” she says.

“I’m taking care as acts and relations that sustain human beings, or transform their lives. So very broadly, I look at care as being the shared piece that we need to meet people’s physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs.”

Research helps frame the meaning of care

Joanne’s talk will draw from her research on young mothers, particularly those in the margins with histories of chronic instability and no secure attachment. As a mother of three herself, she questioned who was caring for these young moms so they could care for their children.

“I want to frame care as a social justice practice, and not just in the big, broad programming that might happen, but in those day-to-day moments of building relationships,” she explains. “A lot of what I’m trying to do is open—open around categories, open around ideas.”

Events to share big ideas and inspire discussion

TEDx talks are locally and independently organized events that bring people together to share in “ideas worth spreading.” There will be three speakers at the December 5 event at the Garneau Theatre, as well as a dance performance and a few recorded TEDx talks. Each speaker gets 18 minutes to share their ideas with their audience of approximately 125 people.

“As a platform, this will definitely be much broader than academia. I’m not there to give a lecture—I’m there to stimulate a conversation, and hopefully get people passionate about and thinking about something differently,” says Joanne.

As excited as she is to have the opportunity to speak about care, she recognizes the responsibility she has as well.

“Realizing that what I will say will be going up on the Internet and will be available, and that what I have to say is going to be heard is really exciting. It’s an honour and a responsibility.”