On November 16th, 2019, The WomenSpeak Project conducted the Write To Speak Spoken Word Workshop. The workshop which was facilitated by Alyea Pierce, a poet and Fullbright National Geographic Storytelling Fellow is part of our annual partnership with the Institute for Gender and Development Studies to spread awareness about the 16 days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence.
Simone Leid, Founder of the WomenSpeak Project, opened the session with a conversation about 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence and participants discussed the various ways in which women experience violence in their daily lives. Additionally, participants learned about gender and power and how women are even more vulnerable to violence in the contexts of natural disasters, terrorism and migration.
Next, Alyea Pierce took participants through various exercises to help them create impactful images in their poems and to identify different ways to express their feelings about being a woman – though sight, smell, taste and other senses. Women then engaged in a sharing and vulnerability exercise where they responded to various word assoication prompts. They also had the opportunity to write a short piece and recieved feedback from their peers in one on one workshopping before presenting their piece to the whole group.
Responses from participants about what they learned:
The most important thing I learnt about spoken word is that its a way to give women a voice to speak their opinion and their story especially when it comes to activism.
A woman can speak her mind and not be judged.
(Violence against women) should not be accepted as a norm. Women must speak out, express themselves and be able to feel safe.
I’ve learnt that natural disasters can also cause women to be subject to abuse.
This was an amazing workshop that I quite enjoyed it was inspiring to hear these women stories and how they overcame their trials. I’m encouraged definitely to continue writing spoken word.
I am impressed with the way Ms. Pierce asked questions to make us comfortable and open up to deliver our pieces with ease.