In opening this text, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of those who made this book and the work discussed in it possible. First, I thank the individuals who took time from their busy schedules to participate in an interview. As often happens in qualitative research, conversations took turns toward sensitive issues. To the participants, thank you for being so trusting and forthcoming. I hope that you found the interview process interesting and affirming, and that I have honoured the words and sentiments that you shared with me as I brought them into this text.
Second, I am ever-grateful to Joshua Whitehead, who joined me on this project as a research assistant. His help extended far beyond conducting some of the interviews and aiding with transcription, which he undertook with serious, thoughtful interest and complete competence. Although he finished his work on the project well before I prepared a proposal for this book, his contributions in the early stages of analysis have remained important. Josh, your convictions, intellect, and passion will carry you far in your academic and artistic pursuits, and I wish you well in all of them.
Third, I recognize that this project would not have happened without the funding support of the University of Calgary, through its Seed Funding program. My relationship with the University is complicated; indeed, some of the complications surface in this book. Still, when it comes to my research projects, the University has been a source of support to me since I arrived here in 2008, and I am thankful to have landed in a place and a job where I can engage in meaningful, thoughtful, and provocative scholarly work.
Thanks also go to Peter de Liefde, publisher and to Peter Mayo, series editor for agreeing to include this book among the work of my adult education colleagues around the world.
Finally, I acknowledge that, like any project, this one was improved through the input from and opportunities for conversation with a couple of key people who had no official role. To those colleagues who have become friends—our conversations about this work might have been sporadic and brief, but they helped me work through questions that were dogging me. To my partner Karen—as a non-academic, you continue to amaze me with your patience for and interest in my academic work. It is my good fortune to have you all in my life, and part of the work that I find so interesting and meaningful.