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Creative Writing Workshops in Bristol

By Riyan Hago

After a long hiatus due to Covid, we have launched our first creative writing workshop project in Bristol. Partnering up with The Wild Goose, a branch of the charity Inhope, we have curated a set of eight workshops taking place at their drop-in centre on Stapleton Road. We are joined by two writers, Mel Ciavucco and Amanda Thomas, who are facilitating the workshops, alternating every two weeks.

These introductory sessions explore the general realm of creative writing, focusing on reaching out to those who have currently or previously experienced homelessness or a precarious living situation, and giving them an opportunity to explore the art of writing.

The workshops are to be delivered chronologically, taking the participants on a journey through the process of writing a short narrative piece. By the end of the four months, our participants will have been guided through the planning process, discussions surrounding character creation, step-by-step advice on developing themes and plot, and tips and suggestions concerning how to ensure reader engagement, just to name a few!

In addition to practical advice on the technical and literary, our workshops are also a tool to help build confidence and inspire determination by discussing mental barriers and how to overcome them as well as the personal benefits that can be achieved through writing. Emotional and psychological obstacles such as self-doubt and imposter syndrome will be covered, as well as universal struggles shared by all levels of writers- in particular the dreaded yet often unavoidable writer’s block!

“Our first session was a full house, all keen to learn and engage, so there was lots of creative energy in the room! Their passion really came through, which was a real joy to see. Facilitating these workshops has been really enjoyable and has personally inspired me so much.”- Mel Ciavucco

Our participants have shown a varied background with regards to their relationship with writing; some of them have a colourful history of written and published work, while others have shown a keen interest in developing their writing skillset, curious as to what creative writing can do for them.

We hope that these workshops will not only provide some respite from daily life and an opportunity for amateur and aspiring writers alike to connect and share their work in an encouraging and inviting environment but that it will also serve as a steppingstone, for some, to explore further writing opportunities at Arkbound, such as our mentoring scheme, as well as publishing opportunities.

Although entirely optional and at the discretion of each individual, these workshops are an opportunity for participants to explore the theme of life experience and Biographical writing through a fictional form. The aim is that the psychoanalytical process involved would not only help with the creative writing process, but it could also provide a cathartic release- with mental wellbeing and emotional offloading being an already popular motivation behind many of our participants’ desire to write.

“Although it only started two weeks ago, I am really enjoying it immensely, so thank you for allowing me to partake in it because I know that I am going to find it extremely useful.” - Participant

With seven more sessions to go, our budding writers have dived headfirst into the sessions, with inspiration evidently bursting at the seams. Engaged and eager to contribute, discuss, and receive feedback, we have set a fantastic precedent for the workshops that follow, with ninety minutes of writing proving not quite enough!

 

The workshops have been supported with funding from Quartet Community Foundation, although we are still in need of additional funding to ensure a follow-up period of 6 months of mentoring is carried through, together with providing real publishing opportunities.

To find out more, please get in touch with riyan@arkfound.org

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