Writing Teachers – workshop in conversation with Sam Wagan Watson

An unexpected and generous opportunity was joyfully accepted by teachers to swap our scheduled meeting at Elizabeth Farm this weekend. Instead, we participated in The Reconciled Writer, a poetry workshop at the Powerhouse Museum as part of the Sydney Writers Festival and MAAS (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences) Reconciliation Week 2017.

Here’s the workshop outline and brief poet bio:

Museums hold an astounding array of some of the strangest objects created by humankind – and the collection at the Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences is no exception – but more often than not, the information provided to explain their context is purely factual and the full potential of their creative impact isn’t as obvious as it could be.

In this practical writer’s workshop with acclaimed Aboriginal writer Samuel Wagan Watson you will explore rapid response writing and other forms of literary guerrilla tactics stimulated by objects from the MAAS collection.

Samuel Wagan Watson is a Murri writer with roots from “Black Soil” country in Queensland’s scenic rim, coming from a long lineage of political and social activists.

With credits including the creation of haiku for Japanese cosmonauts, his approach to the creative use of language sees him positioned as one of Australia’s most significant contemporary authors.

His last collection of poetry ‘Love Poems + Death Threats’ was awarded the 2016 Scanlon Literary Prize and his works have been placed on the Prime Minister’s Reading List.

Samuel lives and works in Brisbane, dividing his time between working on commissions and personal writing projects.

This workshop has been made possible by a grant from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund.

This was a small, welcoming workshop where questions were asked and answered, and writing strategies shared. We also took time to wander through the exhibition halls and gather ideas, thoughts and words on items of personal interest.

We will re-convene in September to further develop our writing on these items with the notion that creative descriptions or emotional connections will be displayed alongside as dialogic documentation.

Further details will form the basis of an article in the ‘Writing Teachers’ edition of mETAphor, journal of the English Teachers Association of NSW, to be published next term.

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