Combining words with pictures to record your Covid stories

A workshop to stimulate your creativity, and maybe a recipe for survival in these uncertain times.

As I enjoy writing as much as I enjoy creating pictures, I always love having the opportunity to talk about both, and how one sparks off the other. When my friend and fellow-poet Maria Vouis asked me if I’d like to take part in presenting a life-writing workshop for SA Health, utilising prose, poetry and pictures, I jumped at the chance.

Maria, 2022 winner of SA’s Satura prize for Poetry and MC/fellow co-coordinator of our musicians/poets’ open mic Southern Poets’ Interactive Network (SPIN for short) and I have received funding from SA Health – Ageing Well Grants to run four whole-day workshops to be held in outlying areas of the city, as well as in two rural districts, enabling local residents to take advantage of a facility that is rarely available within their community.

Viral Lines encourages participants to combine poetry, prose and visuals to capture their personal COVID stories of struggle, survival and victory. It uses poetry and prose as memoir, combined with visual storytelling such as drawing and photo-collage, to explore this testing time in collective and personal history.

When I looked at my own coping strategies during the worst of the lockdowns, I realised that I was using Instagram to record my daily thoughts, both to offer a little solace to those who were suffering far greater privations than I was, and also to derive comfort from communicating with others who were experiencing anxiety similar to my own.

I created a very silly cartoon strip on Instagram called Rat of the Year 2020 that ran for precisely four episodes before I ran out of inspiration. But boy, was it a good way to let off steam! I also wrote a few haiku, some of which turned into haiga. Here’s an example:

During the workshop I will be talking about these and other ways to combine words and pictures, both as a coping mechanism and as a way to explore new pathways in creativity.

The workshops are aimed at seniors but they are open to all ages and all levels of experience. For teachers, social workers, counsellors and other professionals, we offer a Professional Development Certificate.

‘Life Writing’ is a powerful voicing tool that focuses on and integrates profound and challenging experiences. We would love to hear, read and look at your stories. The workshop provides a forum for sharing, empathising, and strengthening social relationships, thereby helping to forge resilience and reduce isolation in the community.

There will be four workshops, starting with Seaford, SA on Saturday August 6, 10am – 4pm, followed by Whyalla on Saturday 27.8.22, and Goolwa on Saturday 17.9.22. The fourth workshop date and location is pending.

The workshop cost is $30 or $25 concession, and includes morning tea.

If you’re interested in booking for one of the workshops, please contact me via my contact page.

Published by julia

l love drawing and printmaking. I also love communicating. And I love meeting people who care about these things.

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