Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Banff Spoken Word Residency - Day 2

Day 2


Workshop 1, Led by Buddy Wakefield

Workshop 2, Led by Afua Cooper

Banff Centre Programming - Meet & Greet

Led by Buddy Wakefield

In this workshop we explored an exciting creative memory technique called Memory Pegging. To begin with Buddy said that he was going to go shopping and bring us back 20 items that we had requested. We each gave Buddy the name of an item that we would like him to buy for us. Using coloured pens, each item was written on a white board behind Buddy. Once we had selected our 20 items, Buddy's memory was tested. Buddy was able to remember each item and its position on the list. He then revealed the Memory Pegging technique he uses in order to do so, and we tried the method.

We then did an exercise called 'Putting things on the line'. We were asked to stand single file on a straight line of tape on the floor, leaving enough room between us to allow us to move. On one side of the line there was a 'Strongly agree' sign and on the other side was a 'Strongly disagree'. Buddy read a statement and we were asked to answer it by moving to the side of the line that answered the question.

Examples of the kind of statements used include:

I am a considerate person

I am good at surviving

I am good at living

I know why I am here and I have a plan

This was a very insightful exercise. Standing in line I was very conscious of my position in relation to the other people around me. In some ways it was comforting because I felt that I would merge into group and was not going to be the only person that Buddy was watching (and potentially judging). However, I was worried about how the other participants would view my answers, and was conscious that I may well stand out from the others if I answer differently to them. This would make me more isolated.

Buddy shared some words of wisdom:

"Always play to your highest excitement with zero expectations of outcome"

"Say something of substance, not what will impress"

Led by Dr Afua Cooper

This was a mytho-archaeological literary journey that used poetry and storytelling to narrate a story of one woman’s engagement with the Middle Passage and Slavery that ripped millions of Africans from their mother’s bosom to the killing fields of the Americas. Afua Cooper's workshop used music, poetry, prose, videos, audio recordings, newspaper advertisements, dance, fabric, paintings, and interviews to excavate a buried story.

Afua showed us some exercises to get oxygen flowing around the body and help us be creative. These included

drawing a figure 8 with your arms and body
touching the knee using the opposite hand so as to cross the body
swinging arms from side to side

We discussed 

Where is the sound coming from in your body?

The room had been set up with lots of Afua's collection of books, images, objects, music, and we were invited to select one prop and write about it.

Each of the Spoken Word artists have been allocated a hut to use throughout the duration of our stay. I located my hut and settled in. 

In the evening I attended the meet and greet with the participants and faculty of the two other Banff Centre programs onsite this week: the Toronto Arts Council Leaders Lab (Leadership Programming) and Playwrights Colony (Arts Programming). It was an opportunity to meet and connect with artists, curators, production personnel and administrators working within arts and culture sectors.

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