How to make workshops happen
The intention to hold a workshop, and the idea of a location grows quite quickly into a real event with real people taking part in it – it will take six weeks at least to plan.
First task is a visit to the community and the people working with it to find out:
What is already being done?
How we can help those efforts to grow
How we can bring a book and story initiative that will really resonate with the community; that really makes a difference
What is the landscape – the circumstances, problems, fears … hopes of this community.
Questions we need to answer are:
Is there a venue? Is it suitable? Is it available?
Will the workshop be for children or for children and adults?
What languages are used in this community?
Is there a library or community centre where donated books can safely be kept?
If not, what can we do to create a safe storage for books?
Will there be school holidays around that time? Could we work with children after school and adults in the morning? Would weekends come into it?
Will the nearest school and / or library be involved?
Are there volunteers who will carry the project on and make it sustainable? Could this be part of an existing project and add enrichment and stories?
What is really needed – and how much of that can we achieve.
What will we leave behind?
We can then begin to visualize an event – and they are all going to be site-specific and different from each other. Here is one idea for a theme:
My place on the world:
This would begin with story telling and reading about real people placed in a distinct landscape and stories in the first person, including stories of displaced people who have come from ‘somewhere else’. Books that are highlighted will be left with the community, in multiple copies if possible and stories recorded. The workshop would include art work – possibly self-portraits using mirrors and maps of the community.
There are endless directions that workshop like this can go. It is up to the community and the participants to drive the process – and up to the organisers to make sure that the structure is in place when it begins.