In the conference material Gideon Arulmani states “The Jiva conference celebrates the poet, the romantic, the storyteller, the psychologist, teacher, economist and psychometrician, along with the sociologist and historian, all of whose qualities, make up an effective career counsellor”. So multidisciplinary then! The conference provided an extraordinary opportunity to learn from each other about what influences our attitudes toward ‘career’ – in a truly international setting. Established career theory, policy and practice in the ‘West’ has paid scant attention to perspectives on career in socio-cultural and historical environments elsewhere in the world. The papers, presentations and workshops at the Jiva conference were stimulating, challenging and enriched our views on how to support individuals in the career choices they make. Ok, but how?
We began by recognising that it was a ‘hand made’ conference. Hand made as a term retained its true meaning in India, but in the West it might mean something else. In the UK for example we have lost most of our crafts and our manufacturing base, but the importance of traditional craft and craft skills for India and the region was highlighted through many aspects at the conference. Perhaps our term would be ‘hand crafted’ – suggesting careful choice of materials, used by a skilled craftsperson to produce a work of quality, one that is sustainable – possibly unique – something you will keep and treasure. The Jiva conference was, without doubt, hand crafted.
Each delegate would have taken away their own key words and thoughts from the conference – craft may be one, culture, context, diversity, story, narrative, traditions, taking time, listening, grace – were all words on my list. Perhaps the overarching word for me is ‘spirituality’. In ‘busy’ practice there is little time to slow down and pay attention to spirituality – it was central to the Jiva conference. This would not be surprising to those brought up in such a culture, but to most of us from the West, we seldom pay attention to the ways our ‘culture’ influences our outlook and work with clients. In order to see something different we need to change this position and stand somewhere else to look. The Jiva conference provided us all with that opportunity.
Have a look at the photos by clicking on the title above.