Nick Pollard

Occupational therapy, which is what I teach, is about getting people to find purpose and meaning in their lives. As the profession has begun to acquire an underpinning philosophy, there has been a growing discussion about how people have a right to occupation. 'Occupation' here is not just a job, but used to encompass everything we do as humans (it is not a word that translates very well, and this is a problem in the international discussion of the profesion). One of the things I tell my students about are Max-Neef's human scale development values, which talk about very basic values that cannot be quantified or reduced to an economic unit, such as the 'right to be', the importance of 'belonging' (to a place or a group), and the right to love , friendship, to be idle, to experience enjoyment. Going back to community publishing and writing, these are values which are usually expressed in what people write about when they give a narrative of their experience. I suppose they can be summed up as 'conviviliaty' which is a term Ivan Illich uses to describe a positive way of living together, and which I guess questions what society is actually for. Because in the field of occupational therapoy, so many of the health conditions which people have are the product of inequality, deprivation, lack of access to education and facilities (even in a wealthy economy like the UK), I think these are key issues. To change things for a more convivial future entails working together but often a piece at a time. This project is actually an example of taking those steps.