Celebrating the Process of Writing
How do we transfuture the university? How do we combat the anxiety we have and feel as students, tutors, professors and staff members?
Transfuturing: a neologism made from transforming and future.
In the coming months students from the MA Home of Performance Practices, want to address the Future of the Art University based on their experience and observation of a high level of anxiety with students, professors and tutors within education.
With this Open Call we reach out to individuals who have experienced anxiety in education and aim to collect their thoughts and proposals that encourage people to doubt and design ‘better’ futures.
This project is a collaboration with ArtEZ studium generale (Future Art School), ArtEZ Press and the Professorship for Art education as Critical Tactics at ArtEZ University of the Arts, Arnhem.
The following text is one of the contributions to the project Transfuturing the University. Find more info here
Abstract: I offer a step-by-step guide for making and hosting a writing party. Using site-specific, senses-and-memory based methods, the event disrupts the practice of daily writing. As a result, it is useful for researchers, writers, artists, students, teachers, social media users and others who wish to reimagine their working habits and share the loneliness of writing.
Celebrating the Process of Writing
I was nine years old when the peace agreement was signed between Jordan and Israel. I remember an ecstatic feeling that blurred reality and imagination into what I considered to be reality This state of mind combined hope, optimism, and a feeling of safety. I had to write it down. I remember thinking that everyone in the world had stopped their lives to do something in support of this moment of peace. Although I didn’t know why, I had to get all this into a poem. I did not know then that I was writing to tattoo this moment in time. To remind both myself and others, years later, when we’re older and more desperately in need of peace (and writing) that there is a place in which reality and imagination always have the potential to blur into a new reality.
The idea of a writing party was born in my imagination long after that kid was gone. During one of the academic group work struggles in my M.A. programme, I suddenly imagined myself with my peers in a festive cave for a few days. A dislocated time and place in which we can rediscover the excitement of a product-based writing process. And all of this while eating good food and finding new ways to support, challenge and enjoy each other in the writing-exploring-researching-reading-editing-writing processes.
The writing party aims to bring back festivity and joy to writing-working time. It is also here to provide us with a babysitter, in the purest form: someone who is just there to take care of us. It is an attempt to temporarily relieve loneliness in writing processes, to offer supportive and delicate dialogues, and to arouse our childhood fantasies and sensations about the experience of both writing and ourselves as writers.
|Senses-based library experience | embodied writing |
|WhatsApp pen pal | Alone & together |
| Acknowledge defaults | Hack your patterns |
| less serious|
| more serious |
| different seriousness |
How to make a writing party
- Decide that you want to have a writing party.
- Who do you want to invite?
- Choose your position—host / producer / participant
- Invite collaborators to make it happen
- Have a group date in the library to understand your party vibes
- Design the experience
- Create the invitation >> publish >> register
- Create the start-the-day questionnaire
- Get the host ready for the intimate dialogues
- Prepare the senses-based writing experiences
- Prepare the food.
- Enjoy the party.
My recommendation is that the writing party be at least four hours, preferably six. The participants should come to work on a specific writing project. This can be extremely varied—a social media post, exhibition text, a novel, or PhD, it doesn’t matter. But they need to know.
Choose whom you want to share your writing experience with or someone for whom you want to provide this space. Every audience will bring their own context, which is important to keep in mind for the party lunch when everyone meets in the second half of the day.
Host: Holds the dialogue with the participants throughout the party. First, as a WhatsApp pen pal; then in person, hosting the lunch gathering and guiding the post-lunch sessions.
Producer: Makes this happen, before, during, after.
Don’t forget to place yourself in a role you enjoy and do it with love. Invite others to do the same as they are joining you in hosting/producing.
Find and write directions for:
– Working places with different vibes
– Inspiring books/materials
– Secret corners
– Everything that is intriguing and that you might want to use.
– Collect notebooks
– Find a place in the library
– Open questionnaire
– Writing: dialogue, disruptions
– Google Doc—who is here now
– Lunch with everyone
– Continue alone or together
– End of the day drink
The dialogues are the core of the party. The host should be a person who loves listening, questioning, thinking with empathy and playfully disrupting. This is improvisation-based work, which is based on full presence, energy and focus. Find the right way for yourself to prepare for it.
Create an activities bank based on the questionnaire, such as: movement, learning, senses stimulations, focusing, opening up, embodied writing.
Food can change everything in a party. Decide if you’ll provide or invite people to bring and share. Anyway, put thought into it—it can lift your party!