After a very busy summer, and what promises to be an even busier autumn, I have opted for a more condensed version of my usual news posts. Although it will only cover the highlights of the last few months there will be pictures, descriptions, and plenty of aptly placed links.
Since this is just a snapshot post, I would like to offer a collective ‘Thank You!’ to everyone I have met, worked, and engaged in random discussions with over the last few months. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such inspiring people who continue to make my work as a freelance writer and teacher so enjoyable.
This year I was hired by Half Moon to lead a walking and writing workshop in Abergavenny. I have always been fond of this market town and wanted to create a workshop that took in all of the beautiful sights and sounds this location has to offer. With this in mind, I designed a course that weaved through fields, roads, and canal paths while asking participants to carefully observe the world around them. After the walk, I held a workshop in a local pub where I encouraged the group to turn the small, seemingly insignificant sights and sounds of the walk into their own creative pieces. Once they had finished, we headed down to the banks of the River Usk and read out our work together. It was a wonderful day and I cannot wait to lead future workshops for Half Moon.
Everyone Back to Mine is a series of one-off art exhibitions based in people’s homes across Cardiff. Essentially, the hosts of each exhibition volunteer themselves to select artists, curate a show, and open up their homes to members of the public. For the second EBTM exhibition, entitled You Don’t Know Me, I was asked to do a reading on the stairs that would respond to the domestic environment and tie in with the work of eleven artists who were being showcased that evening.
After careful consideration I decided to read nine pieces dealing childhood trauma, domestic abuse/sexuality, and the connections between domesticity and womanhood. It was interesting to see how my poetry linked to the work of the other artists but also how some of the themes I covered spoke to members of the audience. The creative atmosphere of this exhibition was unique as the home environment created a sense of intimacy and community I have never before experienced at an art event. Having enjoyed this, I only hope I will have an opportunity to read at future Everyone Back to Mine exhibitions around Cardiff.
Sara Annwyl, the curator and general artistic genius behind You Don’t Know Me, wrote an excellent blog post about the exhibition if you are interested in learning more.
Over one week I delivered the first INSPIRE Creative Writing Summer School program at the Gate Arts and Community Center. Although the class was small, the group had the opportunity to read and discuss contemporary writing, experiment with their own poetry and prose through a variety of activities, and share their work in an informal workshop environment. The quality of work each person produced was impressive and I hope to post some examples here soon!
Working as a writer-in-residence at the Milkwood Gallery this summer has been a wonderful experience. The conversations I have had, the things I have seen, and the experiences I have turned into poetry are too numerous to list in this space. However, I do intend to compose a full blog post about this soon so do check back!
If you are based in Cardiff and would like to hear more about my residency then please sign up for Milkwood Musings, a free workshop I will be hosting on Saturday, October 20th. It will run from 10am to 12:30, starting at the gallery. Here is a brief outline of the workshop as printed in the 2012 Made in Roath program:
‘As writer-in-residence at the Milkwood Gallery, Christina Thatcher has had the opportunity to examine the art, wander the neighborhood, and meet the people who make the gallery so inspiring. This workshop will trace her steps and examine the relationship between place, prose, and poetry through a combination of walking and writing activities.
The session will begin at the Milkwood Gallery where participants will examine how artistic spaces influence contemporary writing. Afterwards, the group will be led on a walk around Roath inspired by Christina’s residency. The workshop will finish back at Milkwood where participants will be given a follow-up activity, time to write, and an opportunity to share their work.’
Please email me if you would like to reserve a place: email@example.com
After months of work, September saw the launch of the ‘Kids Rule, Rock, and Do‘ magazine! As part of my contract with Glamorgan GATES I had the opportunity to design and lead a magazine-making project with young people from the Merthyr Tydifl Housing Association estates. Over many weeks this group of six to thirteen year-olds worked hard to produce features, poetry, stories, reviews, games, and artwork for their very own magazine. With help from Plugged In Magazine and Stephen & George’s Charitable Trust we were able to get these printed and distribute the final product throughout the town for the community to enjoy. So, if you are ever in Merthyr do pick one up!
I am no stranger to writer’s groups. In fact, I absolutely love them. So, this year I decided to start my own. In September, I held the first Roath Writers meeting at the Gate Arts and Community Center. As I have written on the Literature Wales website, this group aims to provide a welcoming space for writers of all levels to write, develop, and share their work in an informal workshop environment. Members write something new in every session and should feel free to bring in their own writing activities to share with the group as well. Lively discussion sparked by books, films, poetry, and literary events is also encouraged!
This group officially meets the first Monday of every month at 7:30pm at the Gate. Though, we are starting to meet fortnightly and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Anyone and everyone is welcome!
For more information, feel free to join our Facebook group, follow us on Twitter @RoathWriters, or drop me an email.
October 2012: Oh, such lovely things to come!
I am delighted to be involved in so much of the Made in Roath festival this year! Here are the highlights:
As mentioned, I will be running a free Milkwood Musings workshop from 10am to 12:30 on October 20th, starting at the Milkwood Gallery. Please email me to reserve your space if you’d like to come along!
Later that same day I will be hosting a free Voices of Roath open mic event starting at 8:30pm at The Pot Cafe. I will begin the evening with a reading related to my work as a writer-in-residence at the Milkwood Gallery and then open up the floor to the audience. All poetry, prose, stories, or anything else mildly literary is welcome. Check out the Facebook event here for more details.
Finally, my poetry will be displayed both as part of a follow-up exhibition responding to the connections, parallels, and symmetries found between the artists involved with ‘You Don’t Know Me’ as well as Moving Words, a celebration of poetry on the Cardiff buses.
On Saturday, October 27th I will also be hosting the fourth edition of My Words, My Voice at 7pm at the Chapter Arts Center. As Cardiff’s only under-25 open mic night, this event event aims to provide young people with a friendly and exciting space to share their poetry, prose, monologues, improv/comedy routines, or anything else they are working on. It’s great for those too who just want to listen, mingle, or play Scrabble. More details about this event can be found on the Sprout.
Well, I think that’s it for now. Thanks for reading!