The uncertainty of occupation

First up, a fact about me that you may not know. When I first left high school I started a degree in Occupational Therapy at Cumberland College of Health Sciences in Sydney. I didn’t survive past the end of Semester 1, I believe it was a psychology essay that finally tipped me over the edge but if it wasn’t that it would have been something else. I was young and not entirely convinced I was in the right place so it was possibly never going to end well.

Anyway, fast forward a decade or three and one of my dearest friends is an OT – teaching at University of Sydney, Cumberland Campus (same place different name) and putting the finishing touches on her PhD at the same time. One of the courses they teach in OT today is described on their wiki:

The course introduces students to the notion of community development through occupation. Students have been asked to think about the occupational nature of communities. That is, what people do, how they do it, where they do it, and who they do it with. They have also been asked to consider how people experience inclusion and participation in the everyday life activities that shape a community. In doing so, students have analyzed factors within people, environments, and the activities themselves that facilitate or inhibit community participation.

The assessment for this unit is a creative work. Developed in pairs, it’s designed to assess engagement with and interpretation and/or analysis of issues of community development and barriers to occupation by representing them visually in some way. There’s a workshop day with an artist (also a dear friend as it happens) who works with the students to get them thinking about creative interpretation. The semester finishes with an exhibition of the works and I went to see it during this last week.

Wonderful, challenging, amazing, interesting, thought provoking and clever. It was a privilege to spend an hour thinking and processing issues outside my usual frame and was well worth the trip to Lidcombe on a train crowded with Chelsea supporters heading to Homebush Stadium. Plus there was wine. And a catch up with my friend in the car on the way home. What’s not to like?