Sunday, 26 October 2008

Roundtable Discussion at the TINAG festival

25 people came to a roundtable discussion asking 'is there a role for creative writers and creative writing in the process of regeneration' at Cafe Oto, in Dalston, last Friday, as part of TINAG's three day festival exploring 'the city'.

I found the discussion fascinating. We had 6 panellists, who gave a broad range of responses to the question. It was a beginning of a conversation really, and we could only just scratch the surface in the hour and a half, but there is talk of setting up further discussions and possibly a network of those interested in this area of work.

I am in the process of writing up the session for TINAG's festival publication and will post more details as I progress.

Something that struck me on Friday was a conversation a woman who attended the event. She works with young people in Newham, and her initial response to the discussion was 'but we're interested in activism, not words.' I tried to explain that I am also interested in real change and in real empowerment for people who are experiencing regeneration, and that I see the potential for writing to have a powerful effect on urban change. As our conversation progressed, she started to say that maybe she saw that writing might be one way in to engage with people and articulate their views and aspirations, with the intention of engendering change. I am hoping that conversation will continue.

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