Vulnerability & Play

I have been lucky enough to meet Play Expert Yesim Kunter and together we are developing ideas for a Vulnerability & Play workshop at monthly playdates.

Here is a short video of some work in progress.  In this exercise we are looking at shedding negative labels and limiting beliefs, to reveal hopes and dreams.

Welfare and the World | School of Economic Science

I was invited to speak at the School of Economic Science as part of their latest Inspiration Day - Welfare of the World.  I spoke about Emotional Sustainability in Practice and why I think creativity and dialogue are such important tools as agents for change and how I use them in my work and projects.

I was one of eight speakers, all of whom were very inspiring and insightful.  It was a great day and I am very grateful to have been a part of it.

As requested by some of the attendees I am posting my presentation slides.

Poetry Workshop at Lights of Soho

On Saturday I co-hosted a poetry workshop with Danielle Allen from Indigo Poetry at the gallery and members bar, Lights of Soho.

Our theme was The Feminine Principle, an area we had chosen to explore with both genders to create a dialogue on the feminine and masculine energies that we all naturally possess and the qualities that reflect these energies.  

Source: cherieroedirksen.com

Source: cherieroedirksen.com

“We are beginning to become aware that what it means to live as a woman does not mean to be lock-stepped into a culturally-defined gender role that embodies and ensouls feminine attributes, and that to live meaningfully as a man does not mean that he must submit to a stereotyped ideal of masculine qualities. The emerging level of our current collective consciousness, regarding this issue, recognizes that each individual’s creative and unique soul-making process is an ever-evolving dance of change and renewal between yin and yang, masculine and feminine, male and female.”
— - Carol Wolf Winters, Ph.D

We had seven participants at the workshop, five female and two male.  We began by introducing the Dialogue Guidelines in accordance with David Bohm's theory.  Our first exercise was constructed poems.  Each participant was given a text relating to the feminine principle and a poem reflecting a feminine quality, and asked to construct a poem with alternate lines from the article and poem.

The results were very interesting and the text and poems provoked different reactions in the participants.

After we performed the poems to each other and had a short break, followed by an energising movement exercise we started the next exercise.  We asked participants to select three words that we provided, either two masculine qualities and one feminine or two feminine and one masculine and write a haiku with each word in one line.  Some found this exercise more challenging but there were some great results and we discussed our reactions to the words, whether we thought they truly were 'feminine' or 'masculine' and any other feelings they provoked in us.

'my own awareness,
penetrating your structure,
becomes protective.'

Our last exercise was to ask the participants to select a natural object that we provided a write a love poem or ode to it.  This exercise produced some incredible results, reflecting the power and beauty of nature and our relationship and connection to it, and what we can learn when we take the time to stop and give our full attention to something we previously did not consider or thought to be insignificant.

'The most important reason why we are out of balance with Nature is the fact that we have lost complete sight of this unifying aspect and have made the feminine principle as well as Life and our Earth our enemy'
-The Whole Elephant Revealed, Marja de Vries.

Some participants feedback...

What did you find most interesting about this workshop?
"Uncovering my own potential to write poetry! The exercises and prompts were very good at easing us into it."

What did you enjoy most about this workshop?
"A chance to write with other people rather than in isolation.  Poetry can be a lonely activity."

"Sharing our thoughts that came from the exercises in a 'dialogue'"

Did anything we discussed during the workshop change your thinking in any way or particularly resonant?
"Feminine, masculine principles; a big debate.  Pleased that the event was open to all genders."

"Creativity, relinquishing control."

"The idea of principles and exploring that."

Any other comments?
"It felt like a hug from the universe."

"So good.  I am less of a cynic now."
 

Poetry Games on the International Day of Poetry

March 21st was the International Day of Poetry, so a fitting day to run another poetry games workshop.

This time I was invited to a Kent based book club and as well as some profound and often entertaining poems, the discussion that followed really highlighted each participants desire to create a positive narrative within their poem, despite often having both negative sustainable text and poem.  Perhaps this desire for positivity is an innate human quality that is often compromised by the negative rhetoric that we are faced with on a daily basis within our media.

As in previous workshops, the accessibility of the exercise was very enjoyable and liberating for the participants, and the joy felt by constructing the poems and decorating the papers was lovely to see.

Here is some feedback from the participants,

What did you find most interesting about this workshop?

The process of creating something ‘original’ from existing text

What did you enjoy most about this workshop?

The interaction with the other people and the exchange of thoughts

Did anything we discussed during the workshop change your thinking in any way or particularly resonant with you?

The use of words/language in a new way and the ideas around positive and negative narratives

Any other comments?

Jessica lead the discussion in a very considered and thought provoking way. Thank you.

Below are the finished poems.

Poetry Games Workshop at The School of Economic Science

A great way of focusing on words and thoughts that arise and engage the emotions.
— Workshop Participant

On Sunday I was invited to be a part of The School of Economic Science's Inspiration Day; Words, Words, Words.

The exchange of thinking was lovely because I felt it.
— Workshop Participant

I ran three Poetry Games workshops during the day and some interesting, moving and often profound poems were constructed.  I offered poems on themes of relationships, emotions, travel, food, nature and creativity that were combined with a selection of pages from sustainability related texts.

It sort of made me realise that I can somehow write poetry too and give some meaning and voice to disparate thoughts.
— Workshop Participant

It was a lovely day and the feedback provided an insight into people's relationship with their personal creativity, the ability for poetry to focus our thoughts, often those that come from a subconscious level and the enjoyment gained from participating as a group.

The playfulness of the session. How creativity was easy to access and concentration wasn’t difficult (very creative and fun)...It was easy to express feeling with a feel of self-control rather than feeling overwhelming feeling.
— Workshop Participant

Below are a selection of the finished poems...

The Hospital Club Sustainability Week 2015

As part of my MA research I was lucky enough to work with the London private members club, The Hospital Club.  I first approached the club in 2014 when I discovered their annual Sustainability Week and subsequently was invited to join the junior committee and run some workshops in the run-up to Sustainability Week 2015.  

I really need to thank the club for the opportunities they gave me over the course of the year, to trial my workshop ideas and exhibit the completed manifesto during Sustainability Week, and even be featured in the below film!

I look forward to continuing this relationship in 2016.