Situated Knowledges: Reflections from the Field

I am in London for a fieldwork immersion at our London hospital research sites.  Conducting research in two countries, in two global cities, is turning out to offer rich points of view that can be very fruitful as heuristic to understand one’s own context. I have been struggling for an Archimedean point – that impossible … Continue reading “Situated Knowledges: Reflections from the Field”

Sacred Smoking? Cigarette Breaks and Spiritual Health

The fourth-floor terrace at a hospital in Vancouver is an interesting place that can act as metaphor for the setting of the city itself. It is a space of absolute natural beauty and yet also a space filled with the mundane, sometimes uncomfortable realities of life. In this space, and in the moments of connection … Continue reading “Sacred Smoking? Cigarette Breaks and Spiritual Health”

In-between spaces and moments in acute hospitals: an unexpected geography of prayer

Everyday interaction in hospitals allows for the crossing of boundaries in unexpected ways, creating in-between spaces and moments. Many nuances emerge when looking at shared spaces and moments between categories that are often perceived as opposites or binaries, such as, for instance ‘sacred’ and ‘secular’. Secular spaces in the hospital can unexpectedly become sacred. For … Continue reading “In-between spaces and moments in acute hospitals: an unexpected geography of prayer”

Platform 5

On Saturday morning, I interviewed Martha (pseudonym), a spiritual care volunteer. As I walked to meet her, I was struck by the hospital’s peacefulness compared to during the weekdays when it is much busier. During our walking interview, Martha showed me the ward that she visits most weekends. This is where she comes to pray … Continue reading “Platform 5”

Contemplative Practices and Prayer

I recently attended an intriguing conference presentation on contemplative pedagogy that left me wondering about the relationship between the contemplative practices and prayer (thanks to my colleagues at UVic Nursing – Drs. Anne Bruce, Deborah Thoun, and Coby Tschanz — who got me thinking!).  The presenters featured the resources of CMind, the Center for Contemplative … Continue reading “Contemplative Practices and Prayer”

Building Rapport

I recently finished a week of immersive fieldwork at our research sites in Vancouver. I parachuted in for the week, and just as I was getting comfortable, parachuted right back out. Although my visit was short, the ethnographic experiences were rich and provided me with much food for thought about the fieldwork process itself. I would … Continue reading “Building Rapport”

Prayer as transgression?

The question, ‘prayer as transgression?’, which is the title of our project, has often been read as a statement. The question itself has raised various responses including, ‘prayer is not negative’ or ‘I don’t agree that prayer is a transgression’. Several people we’ve met during our research have associated the word ‘transgression’ with The Lord’s … Continue reading “Prayer as transgression?”

How did we come to study prayer in Canadian and British hospitals?

This project on prayer in hospital settings in Canada and Britain is part serendipity and part long-term planning. Serendipity as we had not been planning to study prayer as a specific spiritual practice until there was a call for research on new directions in the study of prayer a few years ago. That got Sonya … Continue reading “How did we come to study prayer in Canadian and British hospitals?”