On Saturday May 13th, 2017, The WomenSpeak Project concluded it’s Your Story Writing Workshop for Women. The workshop was once again led by our excellent facilitator Monique Roffey who took participants through exercises to help them ‘mine their memories’ and give voice to the anger, frustrations and fears that were buried for many days, months, years or decades.
Women were reminded that advocacy is something each of us can do everyday, right where we are. We can stand up for women in our workplaces when they are being treated unfairly; we can stand up for ourselves and not be boxed-in by notions of what we ‘should’ be; and we can write about our experiences so that others can relate to and learn from what we have been through.
Monique discussed the difference between art and therapy and reminded participants that while writing can help us make sense of the things that have happened to us, it was not until we shaped our ‘raw’ thoughts into more coherent and focused writing that we are able to respond to issues in a more direct and reasoned manner.
We are pleased that there are now 33 new members of the WomenSpeak community whom we have welcomed through these workshops and look forward to providing more opportunities for women throughout the Caribbean to become advocates.
Comments from participants
“The free writing exercise was a gem. I would never have thought of adopting this approach to the process of writing. The conscious writing exercise forced me to focus more directly in a single thought, and resulted in my remembering an experience I had not previously thought of writing about. When I got home I sat down and penned a short story of 8 pages about this experience. I also appreciated the the pieces of advice about scheduling a set time to write, as well as jotting down thoughts in one notebook (instead of all over the place as I tend to do). Indeed the workshop provided me with valuable tools to spur me on to writing. Thank you WomenSpeak, Simone Leid and Monique Roffey. Deeply appreciated.”
The WomenSpeak Project conducted its first writing workshop on April 30th, 2017 in partnership with Bocas Lit Fest.
Twenty women participated in the event. Some were already writers and activists but many were just women who wanted the opportunity to tell their stories and learn some of the strategies to getting what was buried in their minds and bodies onto the page.
The 3-hour workshop was led by author and teacher Monique Roffey who took the women through meditative and free writing exercises to get them to unlock their stories and put them down on the page.
This was a closed event where women were free to express themselves and talk about their lives. Additionally, Akilah Riley – a clinical social worker – was also on hand to provide some words on self-care.
Comments from participants:
“Enjoyed it tremendously!”
“It is one of my most memorable moments to date.”
“It was over all very informative and touching. It was good to meet so many like minded women.”
“Very therapeutic. Was much needed for me.”
“This workshop was very valuable for me. I came away with more questions than answer but for the first time, I feel they are the right questions, the ones that will result in real changes for me going forward. I particularly liked how Monique took the comments from the participants, drilled down further into those issues and translated them into actionable steps and further questions to work on.”
The Womenspeak Project will be hosting a writing workshop for women entitled “Your Story” at @bocaslitfest on 30th April 2017 10am to 1 pm at National Library, Port of Spain. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot. Cost $100.00. Spread the word! It’s going to be a transformative event.
“When we realise that we share issues then we can actually think about how to change them collectively, because sometimes as an individual, things can seem overwhelming if you’re trying to address them just by yourself.” ~ Alake Pilgrim
Share Your Story and help build a community that can work towards eradicating discrimination against women.
Acclaimed Caribbean Women Writers at the Bocas Lit Fest 2011 in Trinidad and Tobago talk about writing as a tool for personal growth and processing difficult experiences and for creating social change. More in depth comments from these writers to come in future videos.