West Writers Forum: Our Stories

West Writers Forum Our Stories Artwork by Aysha TufaFeaturing some of the best international, national and local writers with three days of critical conversation, while showcasing political, social and cultural issues, the West Writers Forum: Our Stories will be held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre from Friday 29 – Sunday 31 July 2016.

West Writers Forum: Our Stories celebrates stories in all their forms – spoken, poetry, memoir, illustration plus more with discussion, workshops and performance.  It explores what story means to a wide range of communities and the ways these can represent the diversity of narratives and voices in Australia’s literary scene.

“We bring together voices with innovative and new discussions – looking to challenge and diversify Australia’s literary and civic narrative,” says Jade Lillie, Director and CEO, Footscray Community Arts Centre. “Writers in the West have significant experiences exploring how the written and spoken word can represent identity and both the positive and negative of this representation.”

Highlights of West Writers Forum: Our Stories include:

Writing the Self
Writing the self in the tradition of writing the memoir or testimonial works has been a long standing genre of writing. So what happens when contemporary questions of identity, the confines of social constructs and the liberatory act of writing collide? How does the personal become political? And can you tell ‘your’ story without telling ‘our’ story? Candy Bowers and Mahogany L Browne in conversation.

Visual Story Intervention
What if you could rewrite your favourite story? How would it begin? How would it end? Would the good guy turn bad? Would the bad guy turn good? Did the author get it wrong? Reuben Brand (SYD) guest illustrator and comic for the Visual Story Intervention as we put all the creative power in the hands of the reader for one afternoon. Walk away with your own collaborative illustration of an alternative scene from your favourite book.

Images, Representation and Beyoncé
In the wake of the release of Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade many questions have been raised about the impact of popular images on the politics of representation. Areej Nur (MELB) in moderating conversation with Mahogany L Browne (NYC), Namila Benson (MELB), Ayan Shirwa (LDN), DJ Ripley (MELB) and Amie Batalibasi (MELB) as they share their reactions and thoughts on Lemonade, popular culture and the politics of contemporary representation.

One Night Stanza
One Night Stanza returns in its fourth year featuring international poet, writer and activist Mahogany L Browne (NYC), Candy Bowers (MELB), Sista Zai (MELB) and Bigoa (MELB), as well as showcasing smooth musical vibes by DJ Ripley (MELB). A soulful evening of poetry.

Peril Magazine, Australia’s leading online platform for Asian Australian writing, arts and culture, takes its name from Yellow Peril, a term coined in the 19th century to describe the perceived menace of Asian migration. But are Asians still dangerous in Australia? Writers, activists and academics, Hoa Pham, Eugenia Flynn, Dominic Golding, Nadia Rhook lead a panel discussion about the past, present and future constructions of race in Australian writing – hosted by Lian Low.

For over forty years, FCAC has been collaborating with artists, communities and organisations locally, nationally and internationally. Widely recognised as Australia’s leading and independent community-engaged, contemporary arts centre, FCAC delivers high quality creative and cultural programs, professional and industry development and opportunities for collaboration.

West Writers Forum: Our Stories takes place, Friday 29 – Sunday 31 July 2016 at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. For more information, complete program and bookings, visit: www.footscrayarts.com for details.

Image: Original Artwork by Aysha Tufa – courtesy of  Footscray Community Arts Centre