POW 2018 Workshop & Keynote Descriptions

Here are the details of the awesome line-up of presentations, workshops, performances, and keynotes for this year's POW! Workshops and schedule are subject to change — isn't everything? See the Schedule Summary here.

Early Bird Rate available until July 11th!

Thursday, October 11th

Pre-Conference Performance — OPEN to the public!

TBA

Friday, October 12th

Pre-Conference Workshops   Get in on the Pre-Conference!

P1. Resilience Through the Power of Words: Storytelling for Empowerment, Inclusion, and Identity — Through using creative expression to tell our stories, we feel connection and similarity, yet can also define our own uniqueness and create our own heroic path. No one else can write the story of our life, and once we choose to become the author of our own story, we find our place in the narrative that unites us all.  With the transformative power of words and expression, participants will use storytelling to provide an archetypal framework for their journeys, and empower them with mastery over life’s challenges. Amy will share how storytelling fostered the resilience which enabled her to thrive after her own near-death experience, and how we can all use storytelling to overcome obstacles by reframing our narrative, turning life’s detours into the path of our choosing.

Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD specialist, artist, author, Huffington Post columnist, RAINN/global TEDx speaker, award-winning health advocate, actress & playwright. She's contributed to over 70 publications on arts & healing, and has been featured on NBC's TODAY, Cosmopolitan and CBS. She's currently touring a mental health advocacy/sexual assault prevention program to colleges nationwide. Amy has written, directed and starred in a one-woman musical about her life, Gutless & Grateful, touring over 200 venues, theatres, schools, festivals, conventions and organizations since it’s 2012 New York debut, winning 7 national awards. Her short plays have been published by the Eddy Theatre Company, PerformerStuff, and The Narcissists Anthology, and have been finalists in Manhattan Repertory Theatre’s Short Play Festival, New York New Works Theatre Fest, NYC Playwright’s Women in the Age of Trump, and her work in Nevertheless She Persisted is currently nominated for an Audie Award.

P2. Creative Collaboration: Dissecting #MeWe — Join #MeWe International Inc.'s founder to experience some of the exercises in the storytelling innovation, and actively work with Mohsin to identify additional methods or approaches to consider, including in the continuously updated program and methodology. This will be a community-brainstorm with a goal of fostering creative collaboration, and team of teams culture around how #MeWe develops as a storytelling process for healing and community-building.

Mohsin Mohi Ud Din is the founder and CEO of the award winning #MeWe International Inc, which leverages the science of storytelling and communications as an MHPSS tool for healing, building resilience, and youth-led community-buidling. Mohsin was previously the Director of Storytelling Innovation for Ashoka's Youth Venture, where he used his #MeWe storytelling methodology as a tool to empower social entrepreneurs, educators, and young leaders. Before Ashoka, Mohi Ud Din worked in public advocacy and strategic communications for the United Nations and UNICEF. He has been working for various human rights organizations since 2003 and has more than 7 years’ experience working with youth and youth organizations on social and emotional learning, community-building, and empowerment. In 2017, Mohsin was awarded 'Solver' by MIT at the United Nations for his innovation with #MeWeSyria, and in 2017, Open IDEO and DFAT awarded #MeWeSyria as a winner of their 'Education in Emergencies Challenge'. In 2009, he was granted a Fulbright Fellowship grant to Morocco—where he founded the Me/We arts innovation methodology for street children and migrant youth. In 2012 was named a United Nations Alliance of Civilizations Fellow. He is a regular contributor to UNHCR Innovation, the Huffington Post and Vice Impact. He has led triangles and given speeches at the United Nations, World Economic Forum, and MIT, among other places.

P3. Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) — What is the physicality of a wound? What types of loss feel nearly impossible to come back from? What kind of life settles into our bones if we don’t take the time to grieve these losses? Can we dive into the wound, the loss: excavate and unearth it? In this somatic writing workshop we will focus on translating surviving and survivorhood; what it looks and feels like to live beyond traumatic experiences, some single ruptures and many ongoing. The dominant narratives about the survivor body(ies)— often pathologized as disembodied, disassociated and unwell— will be turned on their heads. We can never actually leave our bodies, as hard as we might try (and as wise as we are in our reasons for trying) and are therefore always already embodied. As a group we will explore texts, utilize breathwork and body-focused writing prompts and share our work with each other as we engage in conversation about writing as a tool for healing and connecting to our wise bodies. There will also be a shared altar so please bring meaningful and protective items to help us hold space.

Jennifer Patterson is a grief worker who uses plants, breath, words to explore survivorhood, body(ies) and healing. She is the editor of Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti- Violence Movement (2016), lectures across the country, and has had writing published in places like OCHO: A Journal of Queer Arts, Nat. Brut, The Establishment, HandJob, and The Feminist Wire. She has facilitated writing and breathwork workshops at places like healing centers, LGBTQ centers, a Hasidic and Orthodox Jewish healing center, a needle exchange and harm reduction clinic, veterans hospitals, online with the Transformative Language Arts Network, sexual violence resource centers, the collective What Would an HIV Doula Do?, and at colleges and universities. A graduate of Goddard College’s MA program, Jennifer is finishing a book project focused on translating embodied traumatic experience through somatic practices and critical and creative nonfiction. You can find more at ofthebody.net.

Friday Keynote

Jennifer Patterson — Living in Liminality: Working with the Wounds of Trauma, Altered States & Poison Medicine — A survivor of multiple forms of violence, writer, herbalist and trauma & grief worker Jennifer Patterson has been working to translate the wounds of the body. Using a multiplicious toolbox, the altered states induced by complex PTSD, somatic writing, plants (psychedelic and not), embroidery and breathwork have all been explored by Jennifer to stitch together a non-traditional creative nonfiction narrative and, in turn, workshops to support people traveling along the lifelong healing path. Jennifer will discuss the role of working with altered states in her own writing and healing work and in the writing and healing work she does with many different communities, from queer & trans people to Hasidic & Orthodox Jewish communities to people navigating substance misuse in a needle exchange. She will also do a short reading from her in-progress manuscript.

Amy Oestricher

Saturday, October 13th

Workshop Series #1

1A. Storytelling: Urdu Poetics and Classical Indian Dance Inspired Expression — Much inspiration has developed from teaching for 15 years in a bilingual classroom. Through observing children’s loving expressions, there is more involved with language exchange than spoken or written word. During this performance piece, a message of healing will be conveyed in a manner that is intended to be personally understood. After the performance, the participants will be gently guided in dialogue to discover how we may expand our current understanding of linguistics and engage further social development using and playing with language.

Neena Massey is an artist of life. Her intention is to express stories of healing and transformation through various mediums. Her current art practice spans the arenas of performance art, wellness and education.  Raven Speaks is a transcendent storytelling experience designed to convey a message of healing and transformation. Raven Speaks embodies a performative platform of Neena Expressions. This artistic vision is influenced by Classical Indian and Middle Eastern Dance movement, Qigong, meditation, sound, lyrical poetry and spoken word, in Urdu, French, Spanish or English. Neena has been studying various dance and language designs for over 27 years.

1B. Real Life, Whole Self Facilitation for Liberation and Transformation —  How can we facilitate greater community, meaningful change, and authentic freedom in our TLA work? Drawing on Quaker and bioregional models rooted in fostering collective wisdom and good witnessing, we explore facilitation as the art of co-creating and holding brave space. Through discussion and writing prompts, we'll cultivate greater awareness of what we bring to the table (motivations, expectations, gifts, fears); trouble-shoot hot issues and challenging participants; and share best practices for preparing ourselves (including facilitator self-care) and our groups. Come share your experiences, questions, and callings in this interactive workshop. Ample handout provided.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of two dozen books, including Miriam's Well (fiction), Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous (creative non-fiction), and Following the Curve (poetry). Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg founded the Power of Words conference and co-founded the TLA Network. Believing in the collective wisdom of our communities, she has been facilitating writing workshops widely for over 25 year for many populations, and training communities in facilitation and group process. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads writing and singing retreats. www.CarynMirriamGoldberg.com

1C. How Stories Came to Be: Folktale as Experimental Personal-Narrative Prompt — A path from ancient story to personal mythos may reveal itself as we use the presentation of a traditional Zulu tale for the foundation for this interactive workshop.  We’ll explore the expression of how and where our personal stories originated, and who we are now. This session includes tactile prompts to keep, time to write, and opportunities to share.

Lyn Ford is a fourth-generation Affrilachian storyteller, and writer; Lyn is also a Thurber House mentor to young authors, a teaching artist with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) and the Ohio State-Based Collaborative Initiative of the Kennedy Center (OSBCI), and a Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher. Lyn's storytelling style creatively plays with the nuances of folktale, mythos, and fairy story to encourage mind and heart connections in the joy of simply being who we are.

1D. Working with Vets 101 — This training is lead by civilian and veteran facilitators of Warrior Writers, a national non-profit whose mission is to create a culture that articulates veterans' experiences, build a collaborative community for artistic expression, and bear witness to the realities of war and the full range of military experiences. There will be a didactic portion as well as guided discussion. Some areas of learning & investigation include: veterans’ issues and experiences, PTSD, challenges/benefits of working with veterans, and specific information about healthy ways of engaging veterans. We utilize creative writing, dialogue, participatory learning and active listening processes as well as artwork of veterans/soldiers to guide discussions. 

Lovella Calica is a writer, photographer and multi-media artist. With backgrounds in Human Development, English and social justice organizing, she offers a unique perspective and develops creative, collaborative ways of organizing and communicating. She is the founder and director of Warrior Writers. She has edited four anthologies of veterans’ writing/artwork. Lovella has received three Art and Change grants from the Leeway Foundation and was honored with the Transformation Award in 2009. She self-published her first chapbook of poetry Makibaka: Beautifully Brave and Huwag Matakot: Do Not be Afraid.

Valerie Stemac is an artist and writer living in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. She served as a Mental Health Technician in the US Air Force from 2011 to 2017. She has performed on stage at Dodge Poetry Festival, The Torpedo Factory, and The Lansburgh Theatre in Washington DC. Her written work has appeared in Origins Journal and numerous chapbooks. Her visual art has been shown at Workhouse Art Center, Ratner Museum, Columbia University, Washington Art Works, and Puffin Cultural Forum. In 2017 she served as Veteran Artist in Residence At Workhouse Arts Center and currently facilitates creative writing with military veterans for Warrior Writers.

1E. TBA

Workshop Series #2  Register for POW!

2A. TBA

2B. Heather Forest Storytelling Concert: Wisdom Tales from Around the World — In a fusion of poetry, prose, original melody and the sung and spoken word, Heather Forest brings elegance, wit, and drama to classic tales from the treasury of world folklore. The comedy and pathos of point of view, the mysteries of womenfolk, the trickster, the fool, quests, and journeys are colorful threads on this masterful teller's colorful loom of ancient tales.

Heather Forest is a modern-day bard. Her storytelling performances are a fusion of poetry, prose, original melody, guitar, and the sung and spoken word. For the past 40 years she has shared her repertoire of world tales with audiences in theatres, schools, literature conferences, and storytelling festivals throughout the United States and abroad. A multiple award-winning author and recording artist, she has published seven children's books, three folktale anthologies and eight audio recording of musical storytelling. She has been featured ten times at the National Storytelling Festival and is a recipient of the Circle of Excellence Award from the National Storytelling Network.

2C. A Co-Created Landscape — What could we create if we were creating the world anew? Using mounds of mingled clothing, found objects, natural objects, plasticine, words and writing, sculpture, sounds and warm silence, the participants will co-create a wondrous landscape and find their place in it. Time for creative writing, time for sound and healing time for being vulnerable in the presence of others will all play a part in this experimental landscape.

Barbara Bloomfield has been a systemic counselor and writer in the UK for 23 years. She runs Growing Bolder creative groups for people over 60 who have mental health problems, gently pushing members to become bolder, more daring and more active in their communities and local issues. She has written four books, including a graphic novel about relationships which has been translated into 12 languages. Barbara is the Director of Groups for Lapidus International, the expressive arts organization that promotes activism, progressive values and reflection through words and creativity. When she grows up she wants to be a conversational artist.

2D. Community Storyteller: Entertaining and Empowering the Community through Stories — Karen Pillsworth has served her community in Kingston, NY as Storyteller Laureate since 2002. She knows that stories not only entertain, but can also change history. Whether she is telling before the Common Council, performing at a historic site, library, or on a stage floating in a cave, she knows stories make a difference. Come, take a listen, and learn that every story is an important story...especially yours!

Karen Pillsworth, Storyteller Laureate for the city of Kingston, NY, has been sharing her stories for over 30 years. She is regularly featured at Mohonk Mountain House and has told on WAMC, National Public Radio. Karen Has traveled to Newfoundland, Canada to share her stories and is on her way to the Sydney International Conference in Australia in June. Though she loves to travel she knows "there's no place like home" and loves to share her family stories about growing up in upstate NY no matter where she roams. Check out her work at: www.karenpillsworth.com

2E. Journey Through Teen Hell, 2 Perspectives (Father and Son) — Father and son share different perspectives of a former Little League all-star's devolution into a troubled teen involved with drugs and other negative behavior, and a journey of recovery which involves growth on both of their parts, individually and together. At a time when opiate addiction is at epidemic levels, with drugs responsible for more deaths than guns, this heartfelt personal story sharing raises issues and imparts hopeful lessons. Discussion and resource advice will follow the initial presentation.

Mike Seliger has been chairman of The Healing Story Alliance executive committee for the past six years. He presented, with high school teacher Kristin Stegman, at Power of Words conference in 2005, a session entitled "Dear Storyteller, do we have a  story for you!" He holds a Ph.D in Sociology, a MA in Psychology, a BA in Music, and has a lifetime of  training and experience in mime, clown/ physical comedy, and story telling. Recent publications include "Healing Story, Social Justice, and Resilience" in the annual journal, Diving on the Moon, poetry in various publications including The New York Times, articles and blogs. See his website, www.Mikeseliger.com. He is proud to be Danny Seliger's father.

Danny Seliger is completing his studies in chemical dependency counseling, at Rhode Island College. He is employed at a  substance abuse facility in Providence, RI. He is happily married with two dogs, four cats, and soon, his wife is expecting chickens! He has been sober since June, 2000. He is Mike Seliger's son.

Workshop Series #3

3A. Discovering and Sharing Your Sacred Story for Social Change — Much has been written about how writers heal themselves through writing, however, how writers can help others and facilitate healing in community is often overlooked. In this workshop, we will discover stories unique to our experiences, understand them as our personal—and sacred—gifts to the world, and as vehicles for personal and social transformation. We will consider these questions: In what ways do you think the stories of your personal experiences may be beneficial to others? How might sharing stories of your personal experience be a part of your spiritual practice of doing good work in the world? What aspects of your life experience may comprise an essential story you gift to the world? How might your story be a vehicle for social change?

Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens is an interdisciplinary educator, poet, writing coach, passionate scholar and determined optimist. She is the founder of A Brave Space, a learning community that seeks to create positive social change and personal transformation through writing. Her interests focus on narrative ways of knowing and conducting research, particularly how narrative methods can be combined with feminist intersectional analysis to effect positive personal and social change. Her work has appeared in Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History: A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia, Volume 2, The Irish Herald, Soulstice: A Feminist Anthology Volume II, and Sandy River Review.

3B. Between Genres: Defying Form and Discovering Self — V.S. Naipaul writes, “Literature, like all living art, is always on the move. It is part of its life that its dominant form should constantly change.” In this generative workshop, we’ll examine a few short examples of writing in various experimental and traditional forms--prose, fixed form poetry, fiction, and mythology--and consider how tackling a single topic through multiple forms can help us discover new facets and surprising lines in our most necessary stories.

Seema Reza is the author of When the World Breaks Open, a memoir of essays and poetry published by Red Hen Press in Spring 2016. Based outside of Washington, DC, she coordinates and facilitates a unique multi-hospital arts program that encourages the use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care and socialization among a population struggling with emotional and physical injuries. Her writing has appeared in print and on-line in Entropy, The Feminist Wire, Bellevue Literary Review, The Offing, Full Grown People, and The Nervous Breakdown among others. She is the Chair of Community Building Art Works. Her second book, a collection of poetry, is forthcoming from Write Bloody in 2019.

3C. Talking to Crickets — This presentation is directed to those, and/or their caregivers and loved ones--past and present, who have received a diagnosis of a terminal illness. The presentation will concentrate on how--just as we think we may have killed a cricket only to find later it is alive, well, and chirping--we, as humans, live until we die. Participants will discuss the importance of legacies and passions, struggles with ongoing loss, and guided through best methods of writing for each individual.

Ronda Miller is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. She is a Fellow of The Citizen Journalism Academy, World Company, a Certified Life Coach with IPEC (Institute of Professional Empowerment Coaching), and created poetic forms loku and ukol. She was the co-chair, along with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, for the Transformative Language Arts Conference at Unity Villiage in 2015. She has three books of published poetry and is current state President of Kansas Authors Club.

3D. Creating the Character Called "I" — As memoirists and/or essayists, we are challenged to create a believable character of the self. Working toward this end, students will have an opportunity to experiment with the craft element of character development through the analysis of master texts, discussion, and writing practice. Which lens will you use to tell your story? Historical? Socioeconomic? Metaphorical? Which details must you include for your reader, and which will you save for a different self-portrait of words? Join Rachel, an award winning memoir teacher, as she guides participants to write with a clear narrative voice.

Rachel Gabriel received her M.F.A. from Hamline University. Her writing is included in anthologies, and was recently awarded an Artist Residency Fellowship at The Ragdale Foundation. She was a recipient of the Loft Literary Center’s Excellence in Teaching Fellowship, specifically for the creative nonfiction classes she developed. As an interdisciplinary artist, she uses music, language, textiles, and book arts to explore women’s stories which are overlooked or forgotten. Ms. Gabriel facilitates a biweekly Children’s Story Time as “Mama Ray,” and is in the midst of several creative projects, including course work for certification as an Applied Poetry Facilitator.

3E. Interbeing: A Walking Meditation — Mindful contemplation is a way to elevate consciousness, and bridge experience. “Interbeing” is a concept introduced by Thich Nhat Hahn, recognizing oneness in all living things. This workshop focuses on this awareness through walking meditation. A series of activities (warm-up visualizations, breathing and walking meditation), will engage participants in contemplating sense of peace in the moment, prompting reflection on how all things, people and experiences are ultimately interconnected. This workshop will invite dialogue about how place-based meditation exercises inspire spiritual unity.

Mary Wright is a professor of Literacy Education at the University of Wisconsin River Falls with 30 years of educational experience, including thirteen as a classroom English teacher. Her work provokes contemplation and dialogue about sustainability concepts, raising awareness about social and environmental issues affecting curriculum. Mary’s collaborative arts-based inquiries reflect her belief that socially engaged artmaking produces new social relationships in a participatory engagement with place. She leads teacher candidates and teacher educators in multimodal storytelling and teaching literacy education grounded in arts-based transdisciplinary methods. Her research interests include arts based teaching and learning, sustainability and well-being, peace education.

Workshop Series #4

4A. The Power of Words/The Power of Silence: Practicing Oral History for Social Change — We are living in a time of great challenge. Fortunately, social movements are growing to meet these challenges to positively transform our world. “Movements begin with the telling of untold stories” (Media Mobilizing Project): a task for which the practice of oral history is especially well-suited. We’ll first briefly cover how oral histories are used in social movements, ethics and best practices. Then, we will get the chance to experience the interview process -- as both interviewers and interviewees -- focusing on different ways to structure an interview and their possible effects on an interviewee's response, as well as how to listen.

Liz Medina is a labor activist, political educator, and interdisciplinary artist who brings together images, stories, and social theory to reveal the lived and imagined systems that construct our lives. This past fall, she completed an oral history project about work in Barre, VT. She holds an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths and is a graduate student in the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program at Goddard. Her passion for eliciting and sharing stories is connected to the organizing work she does in Vermont through the Vermont Workers’ Center, UAW 2322, the VT AFL-CIO, and the Green Mountain Labor Council.

4B. Rest x Choice (Rest by Choice) — Pause. Selah. Breathe. Wait. So many names for what can be such an elusive way of life; rest. It's a good word despite the fact it has four letters. Let's honor the practice and trust that it is good! Beth Turner, a professionally trained healing writing facilitator and storyteller walks us through this session on Rest x Choice with peace, centeredness, writing/reflecting prompts, a few life-giving stories and a creative take-away piece of work that will keep blessing us/our lives long after the session and conference concludes.

Beth Turner knows what it is like. Rest by choice? Rest by force? She has walked out both options through her life as a mom, wife, professional therapeutic writing facilitator, television news anchor, business owner, a dreamer and self-confessed over thinker! Using storytelling and healing writing as primary modes of healing and awakening for the last four years, Beth has seen the fruit of encouraging, empowering and equipping people to see rest as; a sweet thing, a healing choice, a weapon in a spiritual sense. Beth resides in Madison, WI with her family plus a rabbit, a large loving lab, and a couple errant backyard chickens. She is in the market for a large stretch of land where a river runs through it.

4C. TBA

4D. A Time Clock World — We live in the time of the digital revolution. The machine in our pocket measures and defines our experience of the world around us. Mr. Gray’s stories will share another time of revolution when many of our ancestors left work in the field to labor over a machine in a mill. His performance will share their stories and ponder the lessons we can learn from them.

Ray Gray has given his life to exploring the power of story. For thirty-five years he traveled the country sharing stories with children. At the age of sixty-four he decided to focus on adult stories. He created a performance based on the ideas of Carl Jung."Imagining The World of Carl Jung" was performed from London, England to Boulder, Colorado. The Jungian concept of “individuation” has recently led him to explore his family roots in America’s industrial past—coal miners and steelworkers. Ray is volunteering at the National Museum of Industrial History in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and working on new stories.

4E. The Dreamer's Art — “The Dreamer’s Art” is an exploration into the power of creative dreaming: bringing awareness into our dreams, and bringing our dreams to life. We all dream, but seldom remember. But it is possible to access this inexhaustible resource, this gateway to our deepest selves and our universal connection to all creation. We will learn about practice, process, and how we can free our creativity, enhance self-knowledge, and experience joy and discovery. We’ll talk about tools for recalling, intuition, dream incubation and cueing, lost memory, messages from the body, healing nightmares, personal mythology, archetypes and metaphor, and personal authenticity in the 21st century. There will be story, pictures, brief writing and memory exercises, and Q & A. Bring a dream to work on!

Gillian Whittle is an artist and writer who has been consistently remembering, recording, illustrating, and writing about her dreams since 1976. She has exhibited her artwork in conjunction with “dreaming classes,” and created her dreaming presentation with the help of a grant from CT Commission on the Arts & the Institute for Community Research, as a member of Urban Artists Initiative. This work has had various incarnations over the years, as her life and career have morphed from chef to disabled person to mature student to mental health professional to disabled person again. She has appeared with her artwork on local tv in CT, twice been awarded writing scholarships to Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and has performed her poetry with the Mystic Paper Beasts theatre troupe. She has been clean and sober for 28 years and offers her dreaming practice as a tool for recovery from addiction, trauma, and the challenges of personal integration in our beleaguered world.

Healing Arts / Body Work

TBA

Saturday Evening Keynote

Mohsin Mohi Ud Din — Notes from #MeWe: Storytelling as a Tool for Healing and Community-Building — The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves shapes how we treat ourselves and interact with the people and places around us. As the CEO and Fonder of #MeWe International Inc., storyteller Mohsin Mohi Ud Din has traveled the world activating community-led spaces where young changemakers are using the #MeWe storytelling methodology to literally and figuratively re-author their futures, and re-connect with themselves and their communities. In this interactive and multimedia presentation, Mohsin will share insights from the field, reflect on challenges, and dive deeper into the #MeWe methodology and how storytelling can be an effective tool for healing and community building.

She Mohsin's bio above in the Pre-Conference Workshops.

Sunday, October 14th

Workshop Series #4   See the Schedule Summary

5A. Under Our Skin: Telling and Transforming Personal Narratives of the Body — What stories do we tell ourselves and the greater world about our bodies? How do we reclaim and fully embody ourselves through all the ups and downs and despite all the labels society would place on us? Join Angie River in an interactive performance as she tells the story of her journey with physical disability, mental health, and body positivity, followed by a writing workshop in which participants can delve into their own personal narratives of the body.

Angie River is a queer disabled femme. As a writer, educator, activist, and performance artist, she believes strongly in the transformative powers of words and performance. She has taught writing workshops and done performances across the United States. Angie is a published poet, and teaches online and in-person writing workshops. Angie fully believes in the power of words and performance to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, to build connections and community, and to make personal and social change. You can find Angie online at rebelonpage.com.

5B. Papa, Come Dance with Me Again! — A sixty-five year old grandfather with a career as a professional storyteller and dancer, shares his fading memories as he journeys through the stages of Alzheimer’s, recalling stories at the encouragement of the disappearing voice of his fourteen year old grandson who is an aspiring dancer.

Joseph Galata is a retired university faculty member, television and radio journalist, therapist and teacher, retired representative on the United Nations Socio-Economic Council, non-profit executive director, and grant funding writer-administrator. He continues to perform internationally as a storyteller, actor, dancer, director, writer, producer, and workshop facilitator on health and social issues.

5C. How Stories and Ideas Work Together to Make a Great Talk — As transformational language artists, we rightly focus on the power of imagery. But we sometimes neglect the tools required to explain ideas. Doug has long been a professional storyteller and coach. He also spent years studying the teaching methods that placed the Hungarian system of music education on UNESCO’s World Heritage List of “intangible cultural heritages.” From this mixture Doug has distilled a simple, powerful connection between explaining ideas and telling stories. Bring an idea you want to communicate. You’ll leave with a new approach to choosing stories to make your idea understandable, memorable, and acted upon.

Doug Lipman, longtime professional storyteller and storytelling coach, recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award for “sustained and substantial contributions to storytelling in North America.” He is the author of four books, including the award-winning classics, "The Storytelling Coach" and "Improving Your Storytelling." He is also a certified Kod├íly Music Teacher. His years of study with master Hungarian music teachers—who have successfully created a musically literate nation— have informed his approach to explanation—and to using stories to teach.

5D. Let Us Lift the Heart of Your Poem off the Page: A Playback Theatre and Poetry Workshop — Your poem has one life on the page, another when spoken aloud, and another when you, and audience members, experience your poem through Playback Theatre. Playback Theatre co-creator, Jo Salas, believes “effective artistic expression is not the exclusive province of the professional performer,” and all of us are able to “create a thing of beauty that can touch other hearts.” We’ll honor what Salas calls our “undying need for connection through aesthetic ritual.” Bring your original poems to be played back by actors and audience volunteers, using words, music, and movement – expressing your poem’s artistry, universality, truth and beauty. Short poems at any stage of development are welcome.

Kelly DuMar, M.Ed., C.P. (left) is a poet, playwright and workshop facilitator who has been blending creative writing, storytelling, poetry, playback theatre and psychodrama for over 30 years. She's a Certified Psychodramatist, a Fellow in the American Society for Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama and a Playback Theatre Artist. Kelly has presented workshops at POW for the past four years, as well as at conferences including The Mass. Poetry Festival, The International Women’s Writing Guild, Playback North America conferences, the New England Theatre Conference, the National Association for Poetry Therapy and the American Society for Group Psychotherapy & Psychodrama. You can learn more about her poems, plays and workshops at www.kellydumar.com
 
Franci DuMar (right) has been a trained Playback artist for over ten years. Her mother, Kelly, introduced her to Playback as a child and they collaborate on workshops in a variety of settings. A troupe member of True Story Theater, Franci performs regularly in and around Boston and teaches Playback to children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. Through exploring one’s writing with Playback Theatre, Franci believes new awakenings can emerge for writer and audience.

5E. Machines of Oppression: Performance as a Catalyst for Dialogue and Change — In an ever-divided social and political landscape, how do we create spaces for open, vulnerable, and engaging dialogue about challenges we face, both individually and collectively?   In a culture that is increasingly fragmented by the minutiae of the individual and algorithm-induced echo-chambers, theatre is, by nature, a collective gathering where ideas are exchanged, visceral and rational connections are made, and fruitful dialogue can occur. Utilizing methodologies from Devised Theater, Theater of the Oppressed, and Transformational Storytelling, participants will play a series of games, creating short allegorical performances that spark conversation about various forms of oppression experienced in our society.

Alanna Reeves is a creativity coach, teaching artist, inclusion facilitator, and theater practitioner. She directs an annual devised theatre production for teens, "Broken Mirror," at The Rose Theater in Omaha, NE. Alanna recently won the "Community of Hope Award" from the American Cancer Society for creating "The Cancer Stories Project," a devised production based on locally-sourced stories of resilience through cancer diagnosis. Her creativity business, Willow Tree Arts, cultivates a safe space where artists can deepen their practice and find a tribe of like-minded individuals to support them along their artist-journey. Read more about her work at www.willowtreeaartcenter.com.

Panel

TLA in Community Organizing for Social Change — Seema Reza, Noradeen Farlekas, Mike Seliger

Join us this October!

"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Kansas, P.O. Box 442633, Lawrence, KS 66044

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