Writing as Advocacy Six Months in

Updated: Jun 26, 2021

This month is the last of my writing as advocacy workshops. When I started these workshops six months ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know what I needed. I needed a space to write and get to know people with their words and through their stories. I needed a space to feel that stories could change the world.

This month, we’ll be writing about stereotypes of people and places. For me, stereotypes never lead anywhere good. I’m hoping we’ll change that. If imagining possibilities and endings that don’t include us or imagining people outside of the roles we see them in makes us uncomfortable, my hope is that that will lead to good.

Writing can empower and invite us to embrace new ways of thinking, seeing, responding, and being—I hope.

Over these months I’ve offered exercises with the aim to develop a story that might touch readers and ourselves. I’m hoping I’ve done that. You may remember that early into this project of passion and necessity, my department gifted me with two research assistants. Their role is to ask questions to help me and us to deliver creative writing workshops that feel like community. On a personal level, I know it’s because I need that in my life. That space to create and be.

With participants’ permission, they will ask questions designed to find out some things I would like to know so I can create spaces that inspire, build, engage, become, and develop community. This project started as a passion and a necessity. It still is.

I know how these workshops make me feel. I want all of us to have that.

As a researcher I’m interested in how communities form around writing, sharing drafts, providing one another with feedback, and supporting one another through creative writing and performing/reading their writing. I'm also interested in how we might engage readers and audiences not currently interested in hearing/learning about issues advocates may be interested in writing about.

What information will I be using and how:

The only information studied will be through surveys to receive formal feedback and informal feedback. Feedback will be anonymized. This is practice-based research exploring the community/environment of creative writing that uses writing as well.

What do I want to know?

How can we create more effective creative writing workshops for students? How can creative writing workshops create/foster community? How might writing about advocacy and advocating through writing empower writers/participants to develop confidence in advocacy and in creative writing as a form of advocacy

Where does data come from?

Data collected will include feedback given on surveys and informal feedback received via email, in the group chat, and social media. Feedback will be copied/pasted from social media with identifiers like names and handles removed/blacked out. It will be stored on university provided storage (q/n drive) and disposed of within six months of the project end.

What’s next?

Participants will have the opportunity to share their writing during the final workshop and to talk about how they might use their writing to change the world around them.

If you’d like to join us for the last session, here’s the link. There’s always room for one more.

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