Workshops begin at OKA

I have started a series of 3 Saturday workshops at Orange Korner Arts community center with a group of 5 women. These workshops were the first attempt to address the security/safe spaces theme. I was excited about working with OKA because the converted house is a safe space where community members, youth, adults and families can gather and take different types of creative classes. There is a kitchen and community gallery space on the first floor and classrooms on the second floor.

So, in the first session, we did some icebreakers to get to know one another, and I showed a series of examples of MIM videos as well as some shorts from the Center for Digital Storytelling. We did a short writing exercise in which I asked the participants to define ‘security’ and think about the times in which they feel most safe. We ended with a video scavenger hunt which was a fun, light way to start getting hands on the camera.

I think after the first session, I had a reality check, that I wasn’t prepared yet to tackle the topic in the way I had envisioned. I wanted the process to be positive and affirming, and the topic for some people was a trigger for deep and serious concerns– I wanted to further the idea of OKA as a safe, life affirming space, and not as a place to mine these concerns- since 3 short sessions is not sufficient time to do that justice…

So, I decided to switch gears and focus on prompts that could guide them to create short personal pieces that encourage their unique voices.
I thought back to 2 pieces which I like from past participants, I am, and We are from the hood.

I found this site which really helped me focus the second session. We read both poems, “I am” and “Where I Come From.” We discussed the use of visual language and examples from their own lives. From there, I had each person write a mind map with core concepts like past, present, future, or family, etc…we took 15 minutes to brainstorm and free associate. From there, each person took the phrases they wrote and turned it into a poem/story. Lastly, I distributed the storyboards and had them identify 6 images they want to represent in their story.

They came up with really amazing work at the end of the second session. Each of them went home with a Flip camera and their list of images to capture. Next week we will record their Voiceover and edit together…. Stay tuned.

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