The Short Artss Collective held its first Writing Masterclass at the Convention in Tasmania in October. Although we didn’t know how many people we’d be expecting, we were thrilled to see so many willing and enthusiastic participants come along to the first class for the “Letters To Myself” project. We had participants across a wide age range which was exciting to see, as well as a couple of participants joining the group via Skype.
We started off by introducing ourselves and explaining the project, and then getting into some short, fun, five minute writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing. Our first task involved a descriptive writing piece, asking participants to describe the room we were in. After a short five minutes we invited participants to read what they’d written if they were comfortable to do so.
The most amazing and beautiful thing to note was that each person talked about not only the physical appearance of the room, but the feeling of acceptance and friendship they had experienced there and the fun they’d had.
Our two other writing tasks involved writing short pieces to our five year old self and our future selves and again, it was beautiful to hear that each person had written notes of assurance and encouragement to their younger selves, that they were going to be okay, not to be afraid. Letters to future selves tended to focus on hopes and dreams and, above all encouragement.
The atmosphere in the workshop was electric and inspiring. Participants and observers alike found it a very emotional experience. It generated a lot of enthusiasm to do more writing and discuss ideas for further Short Artss activities afterwards.
We then debriefed after the writing experience and then had a quick discussion about other artistic experiences the group wanted to undertake and experience. A lot of creative and fun suggestions were made, including a fundraising cabaret show, painting and photography workshops that culminate in an exhibition of works and the making of our own short films. It looks as though Short Artss has a bright and exciting future ahead!
What’s next? Now that the first Masterclass has been conducted and it was a bigger success than what we first anticipated which is wonderful, now we can move forward to the next stage confidently. For those who attended the workshop or are still interested in participating in the project can you please contact us via email [email protected] or call or txt Carly Myers on 0430 231 557 to register your interest to continue in the project. If you have not returned your completed Expression of Interest form please do so to the above email address or post it to Carly Myers 1/31 Roch Crt. Ballan Vic 3342. If you do not have an EOI form, contact us on the above details and we will send it out to you. All participants must be registered via their Expression of Interest forms for the project by 31st December 2013 as we need to know exactly how many people want to participate in the project. It is also important we know who is participating for the purpose of supporting each participant individually both in the writing and photography components of the project; that we maintain consistent contact with all the participants in organising workshops and stages of the project; and it also provides important evidence to support our funding applications.
We will hold another workshop in January 2014 to develop the writing process further. This workshop will be conducted via Skype or if participants prefer via teleconference. The date is yet to be finalised.
In the meantime, participants can you all keep up the writing momentum and have a practice at writing a piece about what it felt like to start school? Think about how you felt.
KIDS: Were you excited? Scared? Did you have a friend who came with you? What was your teacher’s name? Were people kind to you? Did you need any extra things to help you do things at school – such as a chair that was made especially for you or a stool for your feet? What did you like doing most of all?
ADULTS: Can you write to your younger self to reassure that all was going to be ok? What would you like to say to that younger student self?
If you would like to share what you have written I’d love to read it. Please Private Message me if you’d like.
Please note: We are aware there are many average height parents who are very interested in participating in the project themselves; we welcome them to attend all the workshops and to contribute to the project just like the short statured participants. Ideally the project is about developing a book containing writing and photography only by short statured people and because of the interest shown by our average height parents in participating we are looking at having 2 books published, one containing stories and photos from our short statured participants and the other by our average height participants. We see the value in having two separate books, as both books will end up ‘responding to each other’. We welcome your thoughts on this idea; please let us know via [email protected]
Carly Myers and Leisa Prowd Short Artss Collective