We kicked off the busy schedule of “My Own Story” workshops on the 9th of October 2017. “My Own Story” workshops because that was what Emmeline Pankhurst titled her iconic autobiography.
Our workshops are free and on life-writing, inspired by Emmeline Pankhurst and her desire to be heard. They are organised and facilitated by WordPlay Community Arts creatives and artists (Tasneem Perry (me), Harriet Morgan-Shami, Michelle Green and Kate Feld)) over the course of October and November.
The aim of the workshops is to get you thinking about your life-story, your life and how this has been impacted upon by the experiences of living, working and growing in Manchester.
If you are still working on your submission to the Women’s Words archive, or are thinking about it but don’t know where to begin, please do make a date and attend one of the workshops. Furthermore, you’re very welcome to share your suggestions, tips and life-writing journey here on the blog, or indeed on our Facebook page or twitter feed. Submission deadline is the 24th of November.
Women’s Words want to build an archive of stories to reflect and represent all the women of our city. With that in mind, the first workshop I facilitated was with the fabulous Helen Clare, a fellow member of Levenshulme WI and our WI’s creative writing guru. This was held on the 9th of October at Didsbury Library, and was aimed at members of the different Women’s Institutes of Manchester. It was a brilliant evening of extremely inspirational storytelling, cake and sisterhood.
Two months since the launch of the project and the time is flying by. It’s wonderful to see so many entries already, and the workshops have had a very successful start. It was hard for me initially to imagine how it would develop but now full steam ahead. The excitement for Women’s Words of Manchester is building and Soroptimist International Manchester are so pleased to be involved.
Diversity is one the strong points of Manchester. On Tuesday, 17th of October, I ran two very different life-writing workshops. Flying solo, the first was with the older women’s group from the Caribbean, who meet regularly at the Windrush Millennium Centre in Hulme. Their stories of coming to Manchester as young women in their late teens and early twenties were powerful narratives full of inspiration. We spoke about the difficulties they faced as young women in a strange place, and about the racism they endured. But we also spoke about friendship and family, the ties that bind and the way Manchester has changed since they arrived half a century ago.
The second workshop yesterday was held at the Pankhurst Centre with Lady Pedal Manchester. This workshop was organised for young women with a passion for cycling. Their stories of the freedom being on a bike gave them, their different perspective of the city and of life at university etc. brought another layer to the narrative of our city.
Today Michelle Green facilitated the first of our publicised, free to access for all workshops at Longsight Library. Michelle is a brilliant writer and guide, and watching her lead the workshop was a gift.
She’s doing this again, too, tomorrow, at Abraham Moss Library and Learning Centre in Crumpsall, North Manchester.
Women’s stories matter. Stories and experiences from all walks of life matter. Be a part of the Women’s Words Archive. Have your stories preserved and protected.
Let your voice be heard! #womenswordsmcrSave