TLA can be a powerful change agent in the world, one whose borders reach far beyond workshops, coaching, performance, and other forms of traditional TLA work. In this class, we’ll explore how creating intentional communal spaces, taking an inward look, working across vast definitions of “difference” (including race, religion, gender, class, living with ability or health challenges, and more), can help foster greater cohesion and expression in a fragmented culture. We’ll also learn how to navigate difficult situations and people more smoothly and compassionately, as well as how to joyfully sustain ourselves in our own individual TLA callings.
As a philosophy, TLA invites many practitioners to the table, including those drawing on various models of facilitation, some reified and some more open source (from social change theater to poetry therapy to healing stories). We'll overview those models as they speak to making and sustaining community and positive individual and social change. As we travel through the class, we'll focus especially on embodying compassion in action through how we approach facilitation, and design, promote, assess, and learn from the workshops and other sessions we lead. Facilitating for community and change also encompasses cultivating our own supportive community and capacity for resilience and wonder as we and the world change.
The Art of Facilitation Series: Facilitation is a life-long art of presence, engagement, and ethics. By immersing yourself in a variety of facilitation traditions, approaches, tools, techniques, best practices, and philosophies, you can discover, embody, and enact your life's work and art in facilitating workshops, classes, meetings, coaching and consulting sessions. "The Art of Facilitation: Roots and Blossoms of TLA Facilitation" (Jan. 15 - Feb. 25, 2020, and again in early 2021) explored designing, organizing, facilitating and assessing relevant, effective, and creative sessions (this class will be offered again next winter). "The Art of Facilitation: Facilitating Change and Community" focuses on fostering community and working with various populations for transformation, discovery, and liberation. You may take the classes in any order.
Week 1: FACILITATING FOR COMMUNITY: In a fragmented and polarized society, TLA facilitation has the potential to create life-giving communities which nourish, sustain, and build bridges across many disparate cultures. We’ll talk about various methods of deepening community, including food, rituals, celebrations, and creative collaboration.
Week 2: FACILITATING FOR CHANGE: What kind of change do you want to facilitate? You will define what change means to you, as well as engage in inward reflection on motives, expectations, and dreams. In addition, we’ll discuss how to handle when that change actually happens, and how to better prepare for unexpected challenges that might arise.
Week 3: A WIDE EMBRACE: Working with difference: across race, religion, ethnicity, nations, and gender entails great self-awareness and ongoing self- and other-study, particularly in understanding our own privilege and challenges.
Week 4: COMPASSION IN ACTION: Working with people living with learning differences, disabilities, serious illness (mental, spiritual, physical), can often lead us into challenging places. We'll look at what we need to know when approaching such communities and individuals, where we can find resources and support, and especially how to remain in our role as facilitator.
Week 5: FACILITATING DARKNESS INTO LIGHT: Being in relationship with humans sometimes means entering uncomfortable places and impossible situations. We'll delve into working with challenging people and difficult scenarios, including best practices for navigating such moments with grace and compassion.
Week 6: THE LIFELONG ART OF FACILITATION: Because the art of facilitation is a whole-self, full-hearted calling, one of our tasks is to embrace continual learning, growing, changing. How do we keep ourselves fresh and alive amidst such important work? We’ll talk about practices and strategies that can enable us to continue to bring wisdom, compassion, and rest to the people we serve.
Katt Lissard is artistic director and co-founder of The Winter/Summer Institute (WSI), an international HIV/AIDS & Theatre for Social Change project based in NYC and Lesotho, Africa. WSI’s process is built on collaborative dialogue and theatre-making with/in communities and across cultures. A former Goddard faculty member with extensive TLA experience in the Goddard Graduate Institute, Katt currently teaches in BMCC’s Center for Ethnic Studies department in New York. She’ll present on facilitating theatre for social change across cultures and boundaries.
Caleb Winebrenner is a storyteller, poet, and educator. He holds an MA in Educational Theatre. At both the high school and college levels, he crafts his classes to be engaging events for everyone. Caleb has been a member of the TLA Network Council for several years, and he is chair of the 2019 and 2020 Power of Words conference. He will address how to facilitate and teach for different learning styles and accommodating special needs, speaking both as an educator and from his own experiences of living with cerebral palsy.
Suzi Q. Smith is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, A nationally recognized slam poet and coach (and one of the most well-known performing poets in the U.S.), she is currently the co-chair of the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs. An artist and educator whose primary language is poetry, Suzi has taught creative writing, poetry, spoken word, public speaking, MC school, and social studies for over a decade. She’s been an educator in many diverse environments: elementary schools, middle schools, traditional and alternative pathways high schools, hospitals, residential treatment centers, prisons, and more. Suzi will address how to build adaptive and inclusive facilitation models that allow you to respond to the needs of the population you serve.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg (bio below) will speak on facilitating difficult situations and challenging individuals and communities.
This class is intended for all who facilitate or want to facilitate TLA, whether it takes the form of writing, storytelling, spoken word, drama, debate, public speaking, organizational storytelling, or other areas. While focusing on workshop facilitation, this class will also help students better facilitate TLA in other settings, including classrooms, coaching sessions, meetings, and more. Because learning to facilitate well is a lifelong art, this class is aimed toward all who seek to deepen their facilitation practice, whether they are a beginner or seasoned facilitator. The class meets students wherever they are.
This class encompasses weekly discussions (with a guiding question each week), creative writing prompts, readings, podcasts and videos, ample resources, and live video-conferences with people who can bring to the table vast experience with a wide spectrum of communities. The weekly video-conferences (which can be done easily on computers or phones), which will be held for four Sundays at 8 p.m. EST/ 7 p.m. CST/ 6 p.m. MST/ 5 p.m. PST -- 6/20, 6/27, 7/11 and 7/18 -- also allows time for students to discuss and practice aspects of facilitation.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate, is the founder of Transformative Language Arts and the author of 23 books, including Miriam's Well, a novel; Everyday Magic, memoir, and Following the Curve, poetry. Her previous work includes Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust and six poetry collections, including the award-winning Chasing Weather. Mirriam-Goldberg has facilitated community writing workshops widely since 1992 with diverse populations throughout the Midwest, the U.S., and in Mexico, including people living with serious illness, intergenerational communities, women living in public housing, teens and young adults, and humans at large in big-life transitions. She offers one-on-one coaching on writing and right livelihood. She co-leads Brave Voice writing and singing retreats with Kelley Hunt and the Your Right Livelihood training with Laura Packer. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin. Her Patreon campaign to create transformative writing, workshops, and podcasts and offering patrons weekly inspirations is here.
Joy Roulier Sawyer is the author of two poetry collections, Tongues of Men and Angels and Lifeguards as well as several nonfiction books. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have been widely published. Joy holds an MA from New York University in Creative Writing and a master's degree in counseling. Her extensive training and experience as a licensed professional counselor and in poetry/journal therapy gives her special expertise in facilitating expressive writing workshops. Joy was selected by poetry therapy pioneers to revise and update Arleen McCarty Hynes’ groundbreaking textbook, Biblio/Poetry Therapy: The Interactive Process. For over a decade, she’s taught at Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop, the largest literary center in the West. Along with her other creative writing and poetry classes, Joy helps facilitate Lighthouses's Denver Public Library, Arvada Library, and Edgewater Library’s Hard Times workshops, designed for those experiencing homelessness or poverty, as well as the Writing to Be Free program, an outreach for women transitioning out of incarceration. She has also taught at the University of Denver and in the TLA MA program at Goddard College. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.
"The Transformative Language Arts Network" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. P.O. Box 873 Lansdowne, PA 19050 USA