Nov 9, 2017
This episode is part-two of Bearing Witness: The backstory to Creating Space where we hear the inspiring yarn behind Ruth Nelson and how this podcast came into being. In the first episode we followed Ruth who, as an 18-year-old, inadvertently signed up to volunteer in community work with refugees leading her on the path of studying psychology.
She survived a brain encephalopathy, and in not choosing the path of least resistance, Ruth headed to northern Uganda at the age of 26 to work in community outreach as an NGO. It’s in this episode where we pick up Ruth’s story as she struggles with the futility of her presence, as a young inexperienced community worker, in an active conflict zone. Ruth saw her role, initially at least, as bearing witness to the atrocities of this insidious and complex conflict but over the two years she initiated and facilitated many programs, some of which had surprisingly comedic outcomes.
After Ruth returned to Australia to complete her qualifications as a psychologist and to work in the field, life happened, and she made a difficult decision to put her career on hold to dedicate her efforts to raising her child. It was during this period, Ruth felt like she was losing hope as social media reflected a world of growing ignorance and intolerance. So she decided to share stories. What was supposed to be a blog, became a podcast and Ruth searched far and wide to ask women to share their own stories at the virtual campfire. Ruth believes we are sentient bags of saltwater who just love a good story, and in listening to others we can readily identify shared values despite coming from different, seemingly alien backgrounds.
Since the Creating Space Project started in June 2016, Ruth has facilitated, so far, the sharing of stories, in a narrative framework, of 73 ordinary, yet extraordinary women. It was my opinion Ruth’s story needed also to be shared and she eventually acquiesced to my appeal for an interview. I think it makes for a particularly inspiring listen … enjoy!
This is the last episode before Ruth takes a break for a few months, as she is due to have another baby. But fear not - the Creating Space Project will return!