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Upcoming Fiddlehead 2020 Event - Arrivals & Departures: Objects, Memories, and Transitions

Please join us in celebrating The Fiddlehead's upcoming 75th anniversary by participating in a life writing workshop with writer and educator Anthazia Kadir at Pier 21 in Halifax!

This workshop is free and includes a catered lunch. It is designed for newcomers to Canada but is open to all. Participants are asked to bring a meaningful object that will inspire their writing. See poster for location details.

Space is limited. To register, please email thefiddlehead@gmail.com


For more information about what to expect from this workshop, please read Emily Skov-Nielsen's (Marketing + Promotions Coordinator) interview with Anthazia Kadir.

ESN: Could you tell me a little bit about your experience in facilitating life writing workshops and what philosophies you bring to teaching/leading others in these kinds of creative journeys?

AK: I have facilitated many life writing workshops over the years. For some 20 years, the soul has always intrigued me. Therefore, as an educator, the necessity to nourish the soul has been at the core of my teaching practice. In the classroom, I find taking students on these soulful creative journeys adds meaning to our engagement with each other and the content we are exploring. Meaning that goes deeper than the superficial level. This creative practice whether in the classroom or a workshop setting has gifted me the experience to witness people come alive through some of the most challenging times in their lives. I have also witnessed people struggle to express the need for liberation from some situation that has held them hostage. What leaves me exhaling after these workshops is when participants reach out to me stating that something clicked deep within them during our time together. These workshops have also inspired participants to develop a practice of their own. Through daily practice, whether journalling or sitting quietly for a few minutes, some participants have shared that each day the struggles within their lives have become easier to bear.   

The philosophy I bring to these workshops is simple. It is grounded in a statement made by Socrates: “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Springing out of Socrates’s statement, questions such as Who am I, What am I, Where am I, and Why am I throw us into this dialogic dance with ourselves and others. This dialogic dance is essential if we are to derive any meaning out of life. The goal of this workshop is to have conversations with ourselves, and in doing so I hope we can investigate the meaning of our lives in relation to the things we hold dear, the memories we treasure, the way we choose to remember these memories, and the paths we invite so as to move on.  

ESN: What can participants expect from this particular workshop: “Arrivals & Departures: Objects, Memories, and Transitions”?

AK: Through this workshop, I am expecting that participants (myself included) can begin to authentically answer a series of reflective questions about who we are and where we are going. I am expecting us to have inspiring moments that force us to acknowledge that this life we are living is embodied with fears, complexities, and beauty. Our positionality, where we are in this present moment, is because of a series of events, people we’ve met, and the narratives these experiences hold. Partaking in an Arrivals and Departures workshop transposes us on journeys of contemplation. It offers tools to help us channel the memories of where we have been and the lives we have lived and are living. Through our time together we will aid our practice of reflective writing through voice narration, music, spending moments in silence, and holding space for each other.

ESN: Keeping in mind those individuals who are not newcomers to Canada but are still interested in this workshop, how might one approach the theme of "Arrivals & Departures" beyond the context of the immigrant experience?

AK: I think we are all immigrants one way or another. We are all on a pilgrimage made up of many detours and destination points. While immigrants may have the literal experience of uprooting their lives and starting anew in a foreign place, we are all travelling to some other place. We who have settled in one place for a while are also uprooting our lives.  Almost every day we are changing our thoughts and actions,  even the unconscious choices we make, hence disturbing the normal. Arrivals and Departures are not about airports and physical check-in schedules.  The term Arrivals and Departures is about travelling inward, uprooting the memories that we hold on to, so as to discern the resilience needed to live more freely amidst the chaos of our outer lives. Thus while these types of workshops focus on the immigrant experience, they are open and beneficial to all.

ESN: What meaningful object would you bring to a workshop like this and why?

AK: I have three specific objects among my collection of treasured items that I really hold dear. These three objects are my maternal grandmother’s dress and from my father’s side of the family, a lunch bag and coin purse sown by my eldest aunt. I admit that it is not these physical objects per se that are meaningful, even though I walk into my closet and take a smell of my grandmother’s dress from time to time, but it is the narratives that these objects hold for me. These objects represent the relationships I shared with these two women. They were women of strength and courage. They taught me that life will kick you hard, but it is getting up again that matters. I have a vivid memory from when I was a child, I would have these silly little fights with children in the neighbourhood I grew up in. I recall rushing to my grandmother and sitting at her feet to sob and complain bitterly. My grandmother would gently play with my hair and say nothing, or she would come up with these amazing words of wisdom, “go back and play with them.” Back then, some 35 plus years ago, I never knew why she would send me back to play with children who probably did not like me. It is in workshops like Arrivals and Departures, where in some quiet thinking moment while I lead participants through a soulful creative path, that I am offered space to process these memories. Where I can find room to contextualize why I choose to do one thing and not the other when faced with adversity. Often in returning to the stories that these objects bear, I can find the courage and the tenacity to free the past and to rethink the present however messy, contradictory, or beautiful the experience may be.  

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