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ID: HR23-663
Presenting author: Kit Regan

Presenting author biography:

Kit is a Peer worker, they have a lived experience of the pleasures, and harms of substance use, homelessness, mental ill health and associated harms from social marginalization and poverty. They are queer, and tend to overthink at times.

Phenomenology of Harm reduction Peer work with people Using substances and experiencing homelessness in the City.

Kit Regan
This presentation explores the perspectives and approaches of a peer worker in the city of Melbourne. Working as part of cohealth’s City Street Health program– a harm reduction team using an assertive street-based outreach approach.

They explore ways they and their team – particularly those who also have lived and living experience; work with, walk with and sit with the members of the community they work with & support. The speaker explores the similarities and differences as someone with experience of being in the city and walking around carrying a backpack when homeless, injecting meth daily, who now walks around those same streets carrying a backpack as an assertive outreach worker seeking to connect and support people as they work through the hustle. They discuss ways their experience and somatic memory inform their approach.

This presentation is informed through a lens of phenomenology, and the practice of Intentional Peer support. The orientation and direction we face in a physical space and how this affects how we work with members of the community. Drawing on concepts articulated by Shery Mead in her personal retrospective of IPS i and concepts of orientation identified by Sara Ahmed in her text Queer Phenomenology. As well as ways that movement and somatic experiences have a bi-directional interaction with our trauma.

The presenter is interested in the ways we move through spaces and how this affects how we move through experiences and memories in order process them and build meaning.

The presenter is particularly interested in the way that we can physically orientate ourselves when sitting with someone and facing the street together, along with the ways we can use the practice of physically walking next to someone to process and explore narratives and to somatically work through them as we walk through the streets.