“TELLING OUR STORIES”: CREATIVE WRITING AND HEALTHCARE I
5/15/2021 through 11/15/2021 (Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa)
The IWP developed this project as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the many approaches to creative expression that can enhance both traditional and modern healthcare practices and public understanding. Participants included Washington Mandela Fellowship for Young African Leaders alums with backgrounds in medicine, public health, cultural outreach, and community outreach, and writers the posts selected from their regions.
The project worked with issues such as truth-telling, transparency and exploitation within past and current public health storytelling; medical memoir and both the healing aspects of creative expression and limits of healing aspects; and on using elements of narrative medicine to better address medically-fragile populations in their communities.
Each month of the project was led by a different expert writer in narrative and medicine, including Lise Saffran: public health professor/public health Program Director and creative writing instructor at University of Missouri; Tracy Granzyk: adjunct faculty Georgetown Medical School, Writer/screenwriter, editor, filmmaker, producer, healthcare content strategist healthcare; Ann Green: Medicine and Humanities professor and writer; Ted Fristrom: Co-director of Medical Humanities program at Drexel University; Michele M. Desmarais: Founding director of the Medical Humanities Program at University of Nebraska Omaha, Native American poet and scholar.
Please See Me, an online literary journal with an emphasis on narrative and healthcare, published a summer supplement featuring non-fiction, fiction, and poetry from some of the Telling Our Stories AF region cohort. Nkateko Masinga, a South African physician, poet, and participant in the 2021Telling Our Stories project, guest-edited the supplement.
“EXPLORING THE POSSIBLE"
10/10/2021 through 11/14/2021 (Poland)
This short course on speculative fiction was given to Polish participants, as part of the Polish “Year of Lem” celebrations in honor of the seminal science fiction writer Stanisław Lem. Sessions were entirely workshop-based, and each creative writing assignment involved “exploring the possible” from a craft perspective, for example: “In the spirit of the prose poem, and its homage to the fragment, the miniature, the shard, the bigness in a smallness WRITE FOR AS LONG AS YOU CAN ON A SMALL OBJECT UNTIL IT STARTS ECHOING THE UNIVERSE.” The course ended with a visit by Dominika Słowik, an IWP 2021 Fall Resident from Poland, who read in Polish from her unpublished collection and held a short Q and A session with participants. Her visit was eagerly anticipated by participants, particularly by those who had named her earlier in the course as someone whose writing has inspired them. Participants were invited to submit one of their text assignments to an online collection.
The instructors were Jennifer Croft and Sabrina Orah Mark.
CREATIVE WRITING AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
10/15/2021 through 12/15 2021 (Philippines, Thailand)
This course worked with entrepreneurship techniques, applying them to the creative and literary arts and literary publishing fields. The course was given to writers and university students (ages 18-35) working with the literary arts from the Philippines and Thailand. Many in the course already had a very high level of community engagement, and the course worked on adding new aspects to existing work (e.g. how to diversify youth leadership camps) or ways to promote and publicize the creative writing activities they are working on (e.g. starting a podcast). Participants performed a study of their chosen industry (for most of them, publishing, but also free-lance writing and translations.) One module of the course focused on building individual resilience (based on a variety of available models of resilience) and the concept of risk management. This discussion touched on conflict tolerance and cultural expectations.
Instructor for this course was Nina Murray, a Ukrainian-American poet and literary translator, who during this period was on leave from her position as Deputy Division Chief of Cultural Programs Division in the Office of Citizen Exchanges, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.