Training for trainers: WRITE HERE
NKUA / 6.9.2017
Training Workshop/Seminar “WRITE HERE”
NKUA / History and Philosophy of Science Department
In theContext of the EU Risk Change Project, a training workshop-seminar entitled “WRITE HERE” took place on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 at the History and Philosophy of Science Department, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. The training was held byAlex Plasatis, associate of the Writing East Midlands. (http://www.writingeastmidlands.co.uk/).
The participation of the History and Philosophy of Science research group in RISK CHANGE focuses on the use of perspectives from the History of Technology and Science, Technology, Society in research on the connection between borders, European history and migration. In the context of this workshop-seminar, this focus will be backed up by instruction on how to support activities of relevance to oral discourse, narration and creative writing, tailored to support research that requires interaction on groups seeking asylum and refugees.
An account by participant
In the framework of the Risk Change Project, a training workshop-seminar took place in the premises of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science of the NKUA. The training was held by Mr. Alex Plasatis, associate of the Writing East Midlands. Τhe participants were students from the Department of History and Philosophy of Science of NKUA.
The teaching method was adjusted to a workshop format. The lecturer described what is performed in the framework of this project in England and then asked the students to prepare some small written exercises, individual and in groups.
Mr. Plasatis works in a facility for accommodating refugees in England. He has the opportunity to associate with refugees, get to know them, talk to them and stand by them. He is focused on offering them a forum for spending time creatively. As he informed us, the refugees do not have any occupation at all during the day. This is the reason why the East Midlands Writing School was created. Refugees, who participate in the writing school, do not actually just spend their time, but several of them also discover the creative talent that lies within them.
Concerning the training, he introduced us to the refugees’ accommodation space by showing some videos with the activities that are taking place there. The majority of the refugees on the videos presented the poems they have written in the framework of the Writing School workshops.
In addition to watching the videos, we were asked to carry out exercises. For the first exercises, we were divided in couples and interview each other. The goal of the exercise was to present our partner to the rest of the group and, more precisely, to point out his/her relationship with the migration.The second exercise was to think about someone, relative or friend, and write down a poem about him/her. It is true that the majority of us felt challenged, as we are not used to write poems. Although, he helped us and asked us to think about the points that characterize the person we have chosen and then write them in small sentences, the one below the other; so everyone managed to write a poem. When we finished, several agreed to read their poem to the group and others hesitated.
The third and last exercise was the one we liked more. We worked in groups. We chose a photo out of four different ones that Mr Plasatis showed to us. Then, he asked us to discuss it and, more specifically, to describe the photo. After finishing the discussion, he asked everyone to say a sentence that describes the photo and its relation to the others. This way we managed and wrote a small poem on the photo. The photo we chose is the following.
And the poem we wrote is the following:
Guns n’ Daisies
The young woman made four decisive steps forward.
Soldiers lay their weapons against her.
We can see the fear in their eyes.
She answers their fears with a flower
Nobody wanted to be there, neither her, nor the others.
The training workshop-seminar on creative writing taught us that anyone is capable of writing a poem, as long as there is willingness and creativity. Furthermore, it gave us an idea on the way the refugees spent their time in the framework of this workshop.
All the students who attended it found it very interesting and liked it more than we expected. Through this training workshop-seminar, we managed to develop sociability amongst us, cordiality and creativity and, of course, a sense of cooperation.
RISK CHANGE Project (2016–2020) is a four-year project co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.