Brock U. Research Addresses Migrant Worker Loneliness, Isolation

News from Brock University

Posted October 21st, 2016 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – It can be a lonely, frustrating experience for thousands of agricultural workers in Niagara and across Canada.

Brock University graduate student Heryka Miranda and research partner Juan Luis Mendoza de la Cruz rehearse their performance of The Sunflower Man.

Brock University graduate student Heryka Miranda and research partner Juan Luis Mendoza de la Cruz rehearse their performance of The Sunflower Man.

Brock University graduate student Heryka Miranda and her supervisor, Nancy Francis, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology, are researching methods that migrant farm workers can use to address feelings of homesickness and isolation.

The theory behind Miranda’s methods is called “movement-based expressive arts therapy.”

“Expressive arts therapy includes song, music, dance, visual arts, voice work, knitting; it could be any kind of artistic modality for the purposes of healing,” says Miranda.

“Movement is a very unconscious, subliminal mode of communication and because of that, we will feel things, emotions, that we might have otherwise parked or pushed aside,” says Francis.

Mexican and Guatemalan women and men across Niagara attended Miranda’s “dance for relaxation” sessions, where they participated in breathing exercises, guided visualizations, improvised movement to music and engaged in meditative drawing.

Miranda is studying what these activities mean to the workers and assessing how these activates impact the workers’ lives. She hopes to develop programs that will increase migrant workers’ quality of life in Niagara and build bridges between them and the wider community.

Juan Luis Mendoza de la Cruz, one of Miranda’s research partners, is a worker from Mexico employed on a flower farm.

Mendoza and Miranda have developed a dance that draws upon techniques from Indigenous choreographers and artists in the U.S. and Canada. The two perform periodically for the community.

“This (the dancing) is comforting for me, since it gives me light and motivation to follow my life projects, such as working with sunflowers, flowers that have been an inspiration to me all my life,” says Mendoza.

Miranda and Mendoza will be performing their dance, The Sunflower Man, on Parliament Hill Wednesday, Oct. 26. Media and the community are invited to watch their rehearsal in the dance studio of Walker Complex, Brock University on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m.

See more about the story in The Brock News

See video: Expressive Arts in Niagara’s Migrant Community

PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION Niagara At Large welcomes you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s