APPLICATION DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR BIPOC APPLICANTS ONLY APPLICATIONS DUE: OCT. 9th 11:59pm, PST
Instructor: mia susan amir
Dates: Mondays, Oct. 26th – Nov. 30th
Time: 6:00 – 9:00pm PST
Writing Retreat: Nov. 7th
Community Reading: Dec. 11th
Location: TBD, Vancouver, Unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and
Maximum number of participants: 9
Registration fee: $150.00 – $350.00, sliding scale based on income level.
Bursaries, scholarships payment plans and work trades available! Read below for more information.
We live in an historic period characterized by unparalleled political, socioeconomic, ecological, and cultural crisis, locally and globally. We live too in an era of unparalleled human creativity; of individuals, communities, and movements responding to the conditions of our times with bold strategic organizing, profound resilience, and fiercely honest, moving, and beautiful love and art.
As Octavia Butler writes, “All social change is speculative fiction because we’ve never seen a world without poverty, never seen a world with total equality, never seen a world without prisons… therefore activism IS speculative fiction, it’s visionary fiction because we are writing a world we’ve never seen but a world we’d like to live in. It’s hard and unapologetic but it’s hopeful because it can cause us to move; it wakes up and shows us that change is possible.”
The Story Strategic is a new 6-week Intensive in Creative-Political Praxis that builds out of Butler’s definition of what it means to do activism; and out of the belief that never before have our movements more urgently required storytellers skilled in the craft of igniting the collective imaginary. The Story Strategic has been designed to support community organizers, artists, and cultural workers in strengthening their skills in storytelling and narrative strategy in service of:
- The on-the-ground creative projects/organizing/movement-building/campaign efforts, in which they are currently involved; and
- Cultivating a space for exploration of their own radical creativity and visionary capacity.
Using interdisciplinary and embodied approaches that centre play, encourage experimentation, and foster supportive space for creative risk-taking, participants in this Intensive will:
- Read/watch/experience a variety of creative and theoretical works/acts to deepen shared understandings of creative-politcal praxis
- Study the ways in which various grassroots movements, artists, cultural workers are using story and narrative strategies to advance change, including the work that participants are currently involved in/creating
- Explore our individual and collective bodies, memories, the land, archive, and imagination as potent sites of story, and maps towards change
- Experiment with, and develop fluency in some of the key elements of story writing/telling, including: context/world-building, landscape, character development, voice, point of view, time, imagery, and symbolism
- Use the intensive space as a laboratory to practice the 7 Principles of Compelling Storytelling: Invocation, Inclusion, Challenge, Uncertainty, Discovery, Transformation, Interdependence
- Generate new creative works rooted in their wild imaginations, and political commitments
- Receive supportive feedback from both the instructor and their peers
- Explore the strategic application of learnings gained through this Intensive to the organizing and creative work in which they are currently involved
We will have lively and thoughtful discussions about:
- The practical role of storytelling in healing, transformation, and constructing a more just world
- Aesthetics and language systems
- Generating impact through personal narrative
- Failure as a generative tool that supports interdependence, creative risk-taking, discipline, flexibility, compassion, collaboration, and vulnerability
- The applications of improvisation (or the act of deep listening) in political organizing
- Writing and working beyond binaries
- The ethics of writing and sharing stories that involve and implicate others
- How a personal creative practice nourishes the rest of our work/lives
Examples of artists whose work we may explore (this list is by no means exhaustive):
Adrienne Maree Brown, Adrienne Rich, Aurora Levins Morales, Bud Osborne, Carmen Aguirre, Cecily Nicholson, Chris Abani, Claudia Rankine, D’bi Young, Elmaz Abinader, Gloria Anzaldua, Grace Lee Boggs, Gregory Scofield, June Jordan, Kiese Laymon, Leanne Simpson, Leah Horlick, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Lee Maracle, Linda Hogan, Marcus Youssef, Matthew Shenodah, Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Patrick Chamoiseau, Sarah Jones, Sins Invalid, Stephen Collis, Thomas King, Warsan Shire.
- 6 evening workshops, 3-hours in length will run once a week for the full duration of the program
- Each workshop will include some combination of the following: a physical and creative warm-up, the investigation of assigned readings/acts at the levels of theory/politics/craft, independent and collaborative creative provocations, presentations and readings by participants
- Each participant will have 2 one-on-one meetings with the instructor
- Participants will attend a Creation Retreat on Nov. 7th
- Participants will be invited to publicly share new work generated through this workshop on an online platform and community reading
Registration Fee, Bursaries, Scholarships, Payment Plans, Work Trades:
Successful applicants will be required to pay a sliding scale Registration Fee. Those earning a living wage should consider paying the full amount.
Bursaries, full scholarships, payment plans, and work trades, are available for those interested in applying but for whom the fee is a barrier.
Those wishing to be considered for a bursary, full scholarship, payment plan, or work trade, are required to submit a Letter of Request with their application, as detailed on the application page. Work trades most relevant to SWB’s current needs will be web-development related, though other proposals will be considered.
Those applying to attend as delegates of collectives, grassroots, or funded groups/organizations are encouraged to explore fundraising options from within those spaces to help cover participation costs.
Read about mia’s Guiding Philosophy, here.