Playing with Fire: peer to peer survivor writing workshop

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Jet Moon is a queer, working class, disabled writer, who works to create intimate spaces of sharing and visibility with marginalised communities. Working within the LGBTQI, kink, sex worker, disabled and survivor communities they have been part of for many years. Jet believes in collaborative methods as a way of building practical and transformative communities. 

“Writing has kept me alive, it’s one of the ways I’ve stayed here. In writing I’ve found tools to transmute rage, thaw grief, to get close to the past, and gain distance from it. To laugh and feel my feet on the ground. Writing has given me a way to connect with myself and others, to stand up in my experience and see that I am the authority on my own story.

“Playing With Fire: peer to peer survivor writing” is funded by Arts Council England. Giving me time and mentorship with Kirsty Logan to work on my book ‘ITSY’, to hold a writing workshop and produce a reading event as a platform for survivor writers.

My book ITSY (In The School Yard) is a queer coming-of-age story, about growing up in a poor suburb of South Auckland, NZ in the late 70s and early 80s, as disco was ceding to punk, amidst the tensions of gang violence and rape culture.

““Playing With Fire – peer to peer survivor voices” is a platform for survivor writing where we can feel supported, learn skills, and see each other. Developing hybrid live streamed and in person formats, Playing With Fire trials a model for beyond the pandemic, making a change towards inclusion. When people talk about ‘going back to normal’ I hear ‘being isolated at home again’. I want to make sure that myself and others who are similarly disabled are not excluded when that happens.”

About the Playing With Fire workshop

This is not a workshop about how to write the perfect sentence or develop page turning plot twists. It is a space where we can be together and explore the common issues in writing as survivors. How to give ourselves permission to write? Ways to get started and how to keep going? What are the obstacles and the rewards? To share our skills and gain more of a practical tool kit while connecting with how to use writing as a transformative process where we end up with something good at the end. 

There is no obligation to write about hard stuff! You might be a survivor with a swag of brilliant nature poems. This is a place where we can see each other, talk about difficulties and triumphs, and encourage each other. The second half of the workshop will be dedicated to sharing and listening so we each have an opportunity to read our writing within a safe and limited audience.

Workshop details

The workshop will take place on Zoom on Sunday 7 March from 11am to 3pm. 

There will be two 1.5 hour sessions with a one hour lunch break. The first session will focus on skills and ‘how to’, the second session will be a space for participants to share their writing, be a supportive audience, offer and receive limited critique. The workshop is for 15 participants.

The workshop will be BSL interpreted by Lynne Bateman and another BSL interpreter TBC.  

A limited number of writers may be invited to take part in our reading event hosted by Live Art Development Agency on Saturday 24 April.

Who the workshop is for

Women, non-binary and trans people who identify as survivors and live in the UK. This is an open definition of survivorship including but is not limited to surviving sexual violence. There are many things people survive, including homophobia, racism and transphobia. This workshop is not open to cis men. The workshop is open to all levels of writers but with an ethos of supporting the beginner writer toward gaining skills.

How to take part in the workshop

If you’d like to take part please complete the submission form: https://bit.ly/38Ub3pe 

The deadline for applying is: 5pm, Wednesday 10 February 2021.

The form will ask you for the following:

  • Your contact details (name; tel/ mobile; email; address including postcode);

  • Your preferred pronouns;

  • A couple of sentences about yourself;

  • A couple of sentences about why you want to be part of a peer to peer survivor writing group (there is no need to disclose intimate details of trauma);

  • An example of 150 words of your writing;

  • Any additional access needs you may have.

All applications to the workshop will be looked at by Jet Moon and we will let people know if they have a place in the workshop on w/c 22 February 2021.

If you have any questions or queries about the workshop please contact hello@spreadtheword.org.uk

Published 20 January 2021