Griffith Workshop: Mona officially opens for (not-for-profit) business!
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Our very first workshop was held in Griffith at the Western Riverina Community College campus, and the six ladies (and two men!) involved, came with enthusiasm, respect, great ideas and a real passion for listening to and connecting with other women. We had a range of ages, ethnic backgrounds, professions and interests in the Griffith group, which was an excellent place to start giving voice to diverse women.
We heard from Emily about the Griffith writers group, their mission and goals, and then we spoke about ourselves as writers. Did we think we were writers? Why or why not? What experiences had we had of writing? Where had these been? Had they been positive or negative experiences? Kat told us all that we were now officially writers. No arguments, no excuses. Just writers.
Then we got into knowing ourselves as writers and as women, through an activity that asked us to share a range of things about ourselves, some we hadn’t shared before, about our vulnerabilities and anxieties, and some superficial and fun aspects of ourselves. We discovered some quirky hobbies, some well-kept secret preferences in TV and film taste, but mostly we learnt that, despite our individualities, there were many connections in our passions, heritages, goals, desires and fears. And especially in our experiences as women.
After lunch, we got in touch with our creative side, inspired by blackout poetry using both classic and modern Australian novels, primarily by women writers. There were some truly stirring and haunting pieces produced, such as ‘Watching Them’, but also some important poetic truths that came from participants about their families, processes of maturation and life’s struggles. Many of these featured have since featured on Mona’s Facebook account, and some of them have been refined and will feature in the Young Monas section of Mona Magazine.
Our next activity, Through her Eyes, involved women taking important figures and events in history and presenting them from the perspective of a female, whose side of the story is usually ignored in preference of their husband, partner, father, brother, colleague, etc. For inspiration, we looked at Carol Ann Duffy’s The World’s Wife. Oumi’s brilliant piece ‘Mrs Houdini’ has since featured on the blog.
Our final activity was the construction of an opinion piece on a controversial topic: Feminism is no longer necessary. We got some passionate pieces from this, and we also focused on developing and sharing an argument, and providing feedback for others on their arguments. Key quotes from some of these pieces have since featured on our social media platforms, and we hope that participants will continue to refine these and submit them to the magazine for publication!
Thank you to Western Riverina Arts and the NSW Government for ensuring the success of the day with their generous contribution towards food, and to Western Riverina Community College for their donation of the venue for the workshop, both very important aspects of the writing process!