I am from another country. I was forced to leave because of the war… everybody knows about the war. Anyway, one day, I was at the bus stop waiting for the bus when someone asked me where I came from because I did not look or dress like I was from here… I told the person my country and we talked a lot about many things; apparently, the person has visited my country. It was a long conversation because the bus was late that day for some reason… I was advised on how to go around, and one of the things the person told me, which I found helpful, was that when I apply for jobs, I should find a shorthand version of my name that is easily pronounced so that I can get a job… I laughed and laughed because I have never heard that before… but you know what? I tried it and it worked. I am grateful someone told me that…
I have been asked the same question: ‘Where are you from?’ The first time I was asked that question, I was angry because I thought people asked that to get at me or make me feel uncomfortable. Later on, I realized this was not the case in all situations. Now, I try to understand the intention behind asking. For some, it is based on a genuine need to know while for others, it is because they want to profile you to determine your race and identity, and for some people, they ask out of courtesy and as part of an unspoken rule in human interaction. I think each reason for asking is legitimate; after all, I am not from here, I only moved here voluntarily a few years ago.
‘You don’t sound like a Canadian’ the woman told me. I replied, ‘how do they sound?’ ‘I don’t mean to be rude, I was only referring to how you speak…’ she said apologetically. ‘I don’t mean to be picky’, I replied her, ‘I just want to know if there is a certain way Canadians sound because I have lost count of how many times I have been told the same thing in the past fifteen years’. The conversation ended there. I always joke with my children, who are truly Canadian because they were born here: ‘it seems I can’t be a Canadian anyway even now when I am a citizen because of the way I speak’. I was a refugee from the former Yugoslavia.
Inclusion is not merely an act, it is an art.
Migration has become an inseparable part of the present “postnormal times”, which is characterized by war, chaos, contradiction, global displacement, neoliberal realities, etc (Sardar, 2010). Be it voluntary or forced, animate and inanimate things move across borders. My introduction to the world of forced migration and displacement happened over a decade ago. It was the Ife-Modakeke crisis in Osun State,1 Nigeria in the early 2000s. As a secondary school student at the time, it was troubling for me; schools were cancelled, and we had to stay indoors for several days. Once there was a time we almost left our house to spend the night at a family friend’s apartment because we were afraid of being attacked. A few years later, I found myself in a similar situation in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. At that point, I was not under any parental supervision; so, I was responsible for myself. Although still a student (but this time at university), I was forced to move locations in search of safety. Unlike my previous experience in Ife, this time, I was thinking of the intersection of theatre and forced migration, peace and conflict resolution in Jos, Plateau State (I would later learn that displaced populations who made it out of the border of their country with refugee status were refugees while those still within the border of their countries were internally displaced persons). The experience motivated me to design a series of community-based theatre projects on conflict resolution, peace building and community development, etc. The need to provide a safe and positive space to engage in courageous conversations around conflict and its aftermath has resulted in my theatre organization, Theatre Emissary International, in partnerships with other institutions to better position artists to address these issues. Recently, my community-based arts practice in Canada has been mostly focusing on the experiences of refugees and immigrants among others. I have had the opportunity to create meaningful dialogues, to direct and perform stage plays, and to facilitate drama workshops with refugees and immigrants of different nationalities across diverse age groups to explore issues around identity, diversity and inclusion. Apart from the socio-cultural benefits of diversity and inclusion, there is also an economic value to be gained from inclusion. My reflection in this paper is based on the experiences I have had while creating performances on issues that concern the refugees and immigrants in Victoria, British Columbia. In the paper, I am going to focus on a theatre performance, In the Footsteps of Our Immigrants, to examine the following question: What does it mean to be welcomed and integrated into a society where the expectation of social inclusion is high and perceived to be in a certain way? I am interested in how everyday encounters between citizens of a country and refugees can create or destroy a sense of belonging; therefore, in this paper, I am going to examine the themes that emerged from the comments and stories during the devising process of the said play.
Canada prides itself on its policies and initiatives that encourage and support the principles of diversity and inclusion. It gravitates towards a pluralistic socio-cultural and political environment that aims to provide safe and positive spaces for critical dialogue and a cohesive society. For instance, government bodies such as the Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canadian (IRCC) have recently adopted more inclusive policies, which can even be seen in the department’s name. Other government agencies continually develop initiatives that make immigrants feel welcomed and integrated into the Canadian society. It seems all hands are on deck to work together in making newcomers feel like they belong as they move across the border to their new country. Additionally, corporations, government agencies, academic institutions and not-for-profit organisations find ways to integrate diversity and inclusion into every aspect of their branding and operational strategies. Community centres and networks are constantly creating avenues to ease immigrants’ integration. For example, the Community Partnership Network in Victoria (CPN) constantly organizes forums around diversity, inclusion and multiculturalism in relation to different sectors in the city. Part of the CPN’s strategy is to organize frequent diversity programmes around this theme, which resonates with research findings that diversity training programs are crucial to fostering diversity and inclusion in any given sector (Madera, 2013). Other strategies include having corporate diversity council, supplier diversity, employee networking and mentoring, cultural awareness, support for invisible minorities and inclusive leadership.2 Such strategies in diversity management are considered as complementary, interrelated human resource policies that focus on increasing and maintaining a diverse workforce, which provide firms, institutions and communities with a competitive advantage, among other benefits.3 In this regard, Canada has set an example for the rest of the world.
However, despite these strategies, there are still many questions around diversity and integration in a new society. There are multi-disciplinary approaches to engaging with the issues of forced migration and refugees. For instance, applied theatre, the practice of theatre and drama in non-traditional settings and/or with marginalized communities have provided opportunities to highlight the refugee experience. Refugee theatre encompasses performances and artistic endeavours on the topic of refugees, and it tackles areas of social and cultural policies such as public health, education, housing, social welfare, immigration, the juvenile and criminal justice systems, etc. (Balfour, 2012; Jeffers, 2011) Questions around what it means to be integrated into the Canadian mainstream culture arise in an ever-evolving society that is characterised by multi-ethnic groups; and these questions are central to the discourse. Specifically, the idea of what it means to be received, welcomed and integrated into a society where the expectation of social inclusion is perceived in a certain way, becomes a conundrum. For instance, what is the Canadian mainstream culture? What is the existing Canadian way of doing things? How best can immigrants integrate into a society where the notion of integration can be one-sided? Do immigrants have to jettison their diverse cultural identities in order to integrate? And how is the resettlement process changing realities and creating spaces for critical conversations around social cohesion and diversity? Since the resettlement process acknowledges ‘arriving, becoming and belonging’, what does it mean to arrive in a new place (Balfour, Burton, Dunn and Woodrow, 2015)? When does someone feel part of a group/culture, and what does it mean to adapt into a new environment and new cultural expectations? These questions point to broader issues of national identity and nationalism – whether imagined or perceived. In exploring these queries, I have framed my discourse using Benedict Anderson’s notion of ‘imagined community’ (1991).
Anderson’s work focuses on nation and nationalism. Scholars have argued and agreed that defining nation, nationality and nationalism is a difficult task.4 In Anderson’s view, this is because ‘…nationality, or, as one might prefer to put it in view of the word’s multiple significations, nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artefacts of a particular kind’ (1991, p. 6). Anderson’s idea of nation or nation-ness from a physical perspective to a cultural viewpoint provides a unique hermeneutic lens to conceptualize identity and nationalism. From an anthropological perspective, Anderson defines nation as ‘an imagined political community- and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign’ (1991, p. 6). Nation is imagined:
1) because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion; 2) as limited because even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite, if elastic, boundaries, beyond which lie other nations; 3) as sovereign because the concept was born in an age in which Enlightenment and Revolution were destroying the legitimacy of the divinely-ordained, hierarchical dynastic realm; 4) as a community because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship (Anderson, 1991, p. 6).
In essence, a nation is believed to exist as a political community that is inherently limited in scope and sovereignty. It may occupy a certain geographical location, yet the fact remains that the actuality of even the smallest nation exceeds what is possible for a single person to know – for no one in a given nation can know everyone else in that nation. Nation goes beyond the political; it includes the cultural, both tangible and intangible. The idea of an imagined community is connected to the notion of limitation of a nation since its size is never taken to be co-extensive with humanity itself; its sovereignty is defined by the nation’s citizens – not by divinity as seen in kingships- same as its currency, geographical location, name, etc. These four features of an imagined community highlight the importance of what cultural theorists like Stuart Hall referred to as ‘root’ and ‘route’5 and put it at the centre of the discourse. Root refers to someone’s place of birth or cultural heritage. It is a symbolic metaphor for place attachment, that is, physical location and its connection to identity. Route refers to the ways identities are reconstructed, repositioned and reimagined through various courses taken to create one’s whole identity. Consequently, the notion of imagined communities helps us to start considering and mapping our routes when formulating our identities both as individuals and as a community. It positions us to see beyond the physical locations of people and take into consideration the non-physical attributes of communities, and how daily interactions influence imagined communities. For instance, the words house and home correspond to one word in my local dialect (Yoruba, from south-west Nigeria). However, we can easily understand when it means house or home. “House” is the physical space where we live as a family; however, “home” refers to the tangible as well as the intangible, non-physical components that makes a family, which include family members, behaviours, memories, etc. The understanding that communities are constantly imagined helps us to pay attention to interactions, because through our daily interactions, we both connect to and disconnect from people.
The biases that perpetuate workplace inequality are largely unconscious and automatic, and shifting an organization’s talent management paradigm from “cultural fit” to “diversity and inclusion” takes more than well-intentioned policy programs. Establishing metrics for diversity and inclusion will help identify risk areas, prioritise initiatives, set targets and other program goals, assign accountability, and measure the impact of initiatives. Although Simpson’s (1949) diversity index originated as a tool for measuring the diversity of species in an ecosystem, in this article, it refers to those signifiers that we can use to measure how diverse a society is (p. 683). The metric was designed to capture two critical elements of diversity: richness and evenness. Richness refers to the number of different groups represented (e.g., how many ethnicities are present) while evenness refers to the spread across those groups (e.g., whether employees are spread evenly). Name and identity, and language and accent are two diversity metrics I focused on in this article. Thinking of our society from the perspective of diversity metrics can help us to ask critical questions about inclusion. Although combining the notions of diversity and metrics seems contradictory and raises some concerns about measuring something that is not necessarily quantifiable all the time, it is intentional. First, its contradiction is compelling; diversity itself seems unquantifiable, but many corporations are putting numbers to it already. Secondly, the intention is not to be tokenistic about diversity but to reiterate that there are certain indices that can point to how inclusive and diverse a society is. Therefore, I do not intend to put numbers to diversity but explore how interaction can foster or destroy a sense of belonging among citizens of a country, refugees and immigrants. This is the focus of the rest of this article.
Project Description: In the Footsteps of Our Immigrants
The question of identity has been central to diversity and inclusion in the 21st century. In Canada, refugees and immigrants are integral to the workforce because their productivity boosts economic development. Globally, 68.5M people have been forcibly displaced worldwide (United Nations Humanitarian Commissioner for Refugees, 2019). As of January 2019, Canada has resettled 123,055 refugees through various programs – blended sponsorship, government-assisted, and privately sponsored programs (UNHCR, Canada, 2019). The need for integration and multiculturalism in the country has been reiterated on social media and newspapers as well as at formal and informal forums. For instance, Paul Darby, the director of the Conference Board of Canada, estimates a shortfall of 3 million skilled workers by the year 2020, and the refugees and immigrants are being eyed to make up for shortage (Ramsey, n.d.).
The play In the Footsteps of Our Immigrants is a response to the need to create a safe space for courageous conversations around these issues. It is a live interactive theatre performance honouring World Refugee Day, June 20th. The play explores the narratives of newcomers, immigrants and refugees about relocation, resilience, settlement, and integration in the city of Victoria. Victoria is the capital of the province of British Columbia. It is home to over a hundred thousand people. Beyond its beauty as a garden city and its colonial historical past, the city has been in the spotlight due to Canada’s resettlement plan for refugees. The city has welcomed many refugees and immigrants. It has two major resettlement agencies that provide support to refugees and new immigrants: Intercultural Association of Greater Victoria (ICA) and Victoria Immigrant Refugee Centre Society (VIRCS). The author of this paper has worked with both organizations by using theatre as a medium to provide safe and positive spaces for self-expression for refugees and immigrants as they settle in Victoria.
In the Footsteps of Our Immigrants has been running for the past two years, and it is rooted in community-engaged practice. It is created and played by actors and youth from various ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds who are interested in sharing their experiences as they navigate through the worlds of migration and resettlement in Victoria, Canada. There is an interactive session at the end of the play to engage the audience in the dialogue. Later became part of The Onion Theatre Project, the play originally came into being as a result of a collaborative arts project that involved diverse local partners, which are the Victoria Immigrant Refugee Centre Society, British Columbia Arts Council, the City of Victoria, District of Saanich and the University of Victoria. During the week of the World Refugee Day 2018, we performed the play at Cedar Hill Rec Centre, Victoria City Hall, Claremont Secondary School, and the University of Victoria. At the beginning of this collaboration, as a co-visioner and the director of the play, as well as the project itself, I was interested in community building, and using theatre to create safe and positive spaces for having courageous conversations. Our process involves using the people that are here and creating a space where all our voices can be heard in unique and different ways. We provide a space to critically and creatively explore these diverse topics and examine what they mean to us. Facilitating an atmosphere to support and mentor immigrant youth is important to me.
This article focuses on the first version of the play, which was performed in 2017 by eleven artists, consisting of fifth generation Canadians, US-Canadian of Guyanese descent, refugee youths from Syria, and international students from Nigeria, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Israel. The rest of the article focuses on my reflection as the facilitator-director of the project. I engage Benedict Anderson’s (1991) notion of “Imagined Communities” to critically investigate migrants’ experiences through participants’ stories.
Materials and Methods
The play process involved recruiting individuals who were interested in the themes of migration and displacement or have had experiences as migrants or refugees. I understand that this type of theatre (applied theatre) is not focused on training professional actors but rather aims to give community members an opportunity to participate in a play creation process for the purpose of having self-expression. Therefore, what I was looking for as I interviewed potential participants/actors was a personal connection to the theme, an interest in and commitment to the process, and a curiosity to explore different art forms. My approach was participatory as I asked participants to prepare a personal item that could facilitate conversation. They were also invited to bring rehearsal quotes, pictures, news articles, poems or a piece of music, etc. At the beginning of the project, I facilitated a series of discussions to provide a space for the participants to express themselves through words before moving to non-verbal communication – through art forms. At the beginning of every rehearsal, we would warmup with games and exercises to get ready for the meeting. At the first meeting of participants, I asked questions that guided our deliberations: ‘What theme would you want to explore?’ ‘What kind of artistic form are you interested in using to express your ideas?’ Participants were interested in exploring diverse themes ranging from language barrier and psychological needs to working as these themes affect refugees and immigrants. Language barrier was important because reports show that many refugees and immigrants face the problem of language barrier, especially with regards to accent (Banerjee, Reitz and Oreopoulos, 2018). From personal interviews with refugees in another project, I found another common theme to be the need for work, which is a means for self-assertion; labour and dignity are deemed connected and seen as an opportunity to make a difference and have financial resources.6 Working is not only important to citizens and settlers; it is an essential part of refugees’ and immigrants’ lives, as well. The need to explore the theme of working also came out of the narrative that refugees are parasitic, only wanting to take from their host community. We wanted to provide an alternative narrative and encourage people to see refugees as working people in their various countries before the war.
The performance was a mixture of fact and fiction. Participants used their life experiences as stories to create monologues. For instance, the first scene of the performance focused on names and identity. Each participant had a monologue about names, and each participant wrote his/her lines with the help of the stage manager, who documented the script. Other scenes included a barista scene with a focus on the interaction between an immigrant barista with a thick accent and the customers, and a job interview scene. Considering how sensitive and heavy the themes were, we used humour. To create the scenes in the play, I used still images that I call three-folds still images (three folds still images captured: what happened before (past), what is happening now (present), and what can happen afterwards (future). We also used songs, dance and music. The music for the performance was composed by one of the participants, and the performance ended in a talkback session.
Through movement, we explored some experiences of refugees
The next section of the article discusses the themes of identity and language as represented in the play as part of diversity metrics.
It is important to note from the onset of this discussion section that the themes I have identified in this paper are not the only diversity metrics. I have identified names and identity, and language and accent based on my own observations working with diverse communities and the interviews conducted with refugees and immigrants. I have also chosen these because they affect how we make the changes that we want to make, especially within the context of inclusion across sectors. The metrics themselves are for diagnosis, tracking progress and measuring return on investment.
Diversity Metric I: Names and Identity
Names connect people to their ancestry and origins. Through names, genealogy can be traced, and for some cultures and tradition, future can be determined. Names go beyond identity; they are an embodiment of the past, present and future. Names can connect people to culture, and the naming process is considered sacred for some cultures. What is the role of names in preserving ancestry and the identity of a race? How does a name influence the daily interactions in a society that is working towards inclusion?
Exploring race and national identity is integral to the survival of refugees in a new place because navigating ethnicity presupposes the identity of a given ethnic group, their national identity and race. Ethnic geography reveals multiple spatial arrangements, but how can a name become a representation of a community and a preserver of identity without geographically occupying a space? As mentioned before, the first part of the performance focused on monologues about names. Participants reflected on their own experiences about how their names were mispronounced, and how people were profiled based on their names and country of origin. A participant from China narrated his process of choosing a name when he arrived in Canada. Using his experience, he commented on how many Asian students find ways to rename themselves or find an English word that fit the meaning of their native names. A participant from Syria narrated how a lecturer at a university in North America used his name to express her ignorance about Syria. The discussion about names gave way to other, different conversations. First, there was the idea that a name becomes a personal inheritance, handed down from one generation to another, and that it is influenced by experiences such as migration, war and displacement. For instance, many immigrants from Asia must either shorten their names or adopt an English name when they arrive in North America because there is a general assumption that their names are difficult to pronounce. Many writers use pseudonyms because of political conditions, gender or racial discrimination; and due to crisis, some have to change their names so that they can belong to their present society, etc. In fact, one of the most common complaints immigrants make is how often their names get mispronounced (Ashperger, 2015).
Secondly, names can place us within an ethnic group, national identity and a race. Names are not just imagined; they provide both visibility and invisibility. Names can define, redefine and disqualify an individual. Through names, ancestries can be traced, because they connect people to tradition and culture (Kofoworola, 2015). To the bearer of a name: how does your name influence the way you think of yourself or what others think of you? From formal interactions to informal interactions, names have implications about how we are perceived. For instance, many have changed their names to secure jobs. In fact, study finds that people with Asian-sounding names are less likely to get called back for job interviews (CBC, 2017). In organizations with more than 500 employees, Asian-named applicants are 20 percent less likely to receive a call back; in smaller organizations, the disadvantage is nearly 40 percent. Large organizations may discriminate less frequently as they have more resources for recruitment and training, more human resources development, and greater experience with diversity (Banerjee, Reitz and Oreopoulos, 2018).
Finally, names can be used to preserve people, places and the planet. The idea of preserving an individual, culture and self-identity is essential to the growth of our society. For instance, using odonyms and immortalizing people and events can be done through naming. Through identities (whether how we choose to identify ourselves or how people identify us), we find and connect with communities that fit into our identity or share our beliefs. Therefore, it can be said that through names, different socio-cultural issues and injustices become obvious. The implications that names have about identity, everyday interactions, professional pursuits, job markets and policies, etc. show the importance of names. They unveil people’s biases; and how people react to our name can give or take away a sense of belonging. After all, as Banerjee (2018) observed, implicit bias does not necessarily mean that a person is racist; ‘it's just something we all have within us, and we make these very quick unconscious decisions’.
Diversity Metric II: Language and Accent
Language is not only a barrier in the discourse on diversity and inclusion; it is a metric for measuring who belongs and who does not. You are gauged and measured by how you say what you say, that is, choice of words, grammatical structures, syntax and how you sound (accent). Language is in the heart of people’s culture; no wonder there are diverse language tests to measure language competence and to determine who fits into the system and who does not. In Canada, for instance, regardless of your profession, as long as you are not a Canadian citizen, you have to take an English language test to secure admission into schools, or get permanent residence, or to become a citizen. Many people are not qualified because they have not scored the required marks. It is important to state that this is not a criticism against the Canadian English system. After all, Canada is not the only country with such language tests. Rather, it is a consideration of what inclusion means within the ethos of language, communication and diversity; it is about the socio-cultural and political implications of language in creating a sense of belonging. Specifically, how does language uphold or demote a race? What are the responses that people’s accents evoke in listeners? And what are the implications of language and accent on other aspects of the society such as workplace etc.? Furthermore, it is about the politics of language and how people respond to accent in daily interactions. Some have been identified and profiled through their accent. Our understanding of language and accent as a diversity metric resonate with Mayank Bhatt’s submission on accent. According to Bhatt, ‘accent is a strange thing. It gives variety to a language, an identity to a person, adds spice to a conversation’ (n.d). Accent helps some people find connection and a sense of belonging, yet it also disconnects and disqualifies others, because there is a relationship between speech, pronunciation and identity (Ashperger, 2015). In the context of Canada, many refugees and immigrants, even the ones with Canadian passports, are not considered Canadian because they do not sound as one. This is because belonging is related to sounding “Canadian” (Ashperger, 2015, p. 321). However, within Canada itself, there are spatial arrangements marked by linguistic configurations. Canada is a bilingual country with English and French as official languages. However, one language can be dominant in one region while the other can be dominant in another. The Quebecer French sounds different from the France’s French.
Beyond being a representation of culture and people, accent is a proof of people’s existence. It is inclusion and multiculturalism in itself even though, it may not be desirable to its owner (in this context, a foreigner) because it prevents the foreigner from sounding believable. Therefore, as Bhatt asserts, ‘those who have it, would prefer to lose it. Those who don’t, can’t understand the misery that those who have it experience. It’s a barrier to communication. Even the most educated and articulate person will find it hard to communicate if he or she has a pronounced accent’ (n.d).
The issues of diversity and inclusion gain importance using these two themes: name and language. The connection between names and language is that language also forms identities through names. It seems they are two sides of the same coin in that names are expressed in a certain language, and when well-pronounced, they are accented to appeal not only to the hearer but to the linguistic features of a given culture (Kofoworola, 2015).
Inclusion as an art requires a series of learning and unlearning processes. This involves building knowledge-based skill sets and changing perspectives so that policies will not only be about diversity but also about inclusion. Inclusion is also intersectoral, which means that it cuts across every aspect of the society, because inclusion understands that human societies are always evolving, imagined and changing. Diversity is what we do (doing/the act), and inclusion is how we achieve diversity (diverse/the art). Thus, identities are not constant because they are influenced by daily experiences. Practices also change because we learn new things daily. If there is no constancy in the fabrics of people, places and the planet, then there is a need to understand that our interactions inform, transform and at times deform our identity. According to Anderson’s notion of imagined community, an imagined socio-political community is constantly evolving. There are elements of differences in nations and society, but it is important to consider how social phenomena like migration, war and development change dynamics. To preserve existing cultures and traditions, there is a need to build societies that promote humanity and support inclusion index. It is therefore how we imagine our communities that helps us to start mapping our routes in formulating our identities as individuals in relationship to others. Arts is a powerful medium for understanding and communicating experiences because it has the capacity to reflect, comment, critique and correct issues in a society. In this article, I have reflected on the implications of ideas that emanated from a stage play I directed. Through this case study, I underscore the role of arts as an expression of diversity and a vector of inclusion. Through an arts-based approach, we have been able to create a safe and positive space for having courageous conversations around issues that affect refugees and immigrants. Through interactions, the idea of imagined communities is embraced, in which citizens need to understand that one of the questions relevant to the daily realities of refugees and migrants is: what environment can we provide refugees during their resettlement process? It is no doubt that Canada has become a sanctuary country for refugees and immigrants. Whether due to forceful or voluntary resettlement, many have found safety, home and refuge in Canada. A thriving environment that promote critical thinking, encourage emancipation of the individual, provide opportunities to work and grow into one’s overarching vision is encouraged.
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1 Historically, the people of Ife and Modakeke have been in dispute over the land. The recent crisis happened in the early 2000s (See Elugbaju, 2018; Asiyanbola, 2010; Ogundipe, 1996; Johnson, 1966; Ajayi & Smith, 1964).
2 These strategies have been considered to be viable and effective in diversity management practice (See Madera, 2013; Cox & Blake, 1991).
3 Diversity management practice is concerned with how diversity can be incorporated into the core principles of any organization’s management to promote diversity, inclusion and cultural competence (See Dyer & Reeves, 1995; McKay, Avery, & Morris, 2008, 2009; Richard, 2000; Richard & Jonathan, 1991).
4 Scholars have identified many reasons as to why it is challenging to define nation, nationalism (See Nairn, 1977; Seton-Watson, 1977).
5 The notions of roots and route have become important for thinking about identity and culture (See Clifford, 1997; Gilroy, 1993; Hall, 1995).
6 I performed in a stage play titled Message in a Bottle with other colleagues, and after the performance, I facilitated a drama workshop on Arriving, Becoming and Becoming at the University of Victoria’s Ideafest, 2016. My drama workshop was titled Breaking down the fence: Exploring refugee advocacy through applied theatre. The purpose of the workshop was to engage the audience on issues that concern refugees and immigrants in the city of Victoria and within the university community. Prior to this project, I conducted informal interviews with refugees and immigrant workers in Victoria for my research and community engagements.