Write into Culture… and so the story begins!
Write into Culture is the first all-female GRT led and GRT members writers’ group. Write into Culture was founded by two Romani Women; Writer and Filmmaker Dee Cooper and Producer Lisa Smith of Patrin Films Ltd, and takes place online once a week.
The Co-founders intention was to support women to develop and hone their creative voices and offer a safe space based on the foundations of solidarity and sisterhood.
Women with all writing abilities were invited to join the eight-week pilot writing group which became quickly oversubscribed.
Dee Cooper, Co-founder, and course leader said: “We all have a story to tell, most of our stories over the years have been spoken stories. They are the best kind, the ones that capture both our hearts and minds and make us laugh or make us cry! Stories are handed down verbally, and never written but like any good story they need to be respected and treated with care. Being from GRT communities, it gets a bit tiresome being a tick box or to hearing people from other communities telling stories about us! so Lisa and I, wanted a space where we could tell our own stories of History and Heritage, to bring our world to a page for others to enjoy... So, write into culture was born!”
“One of the other driving forces behind this initiative was our joint frustration at the under - representation of authentic Gypsy, Roma & Traveller voices within the British film industry. For GRT writers their stories and perspectives are often mis-represented or excluded,” said Co-founder Lisa Smith. “As a result, a racist narrative continues to dominate mainstream film culture, write into culture aims to develop writing talent from within GRT communities and offer a community of mentorship and support,” she added.
“Our truths are shared in a safe and happy space,” said Dee Cooper. “A solidarity. A union between us women, who have grown up with the same traditions and heritage. We laugh, we cry, we produce an amazing number of stories in our once a week 2-hour sessions! We have built a trust and understanding of each other, so much more than just a writing group, It and a sense of belonging. Our stories are precious, our own! and we should be the ones to tell them!"
We spoke to a few of the women involved in the collective to find out more about their experience of the pilot: “I feel my writing has grown and I get more creative as the weeks go on and even through struggles - this is the best escape to have,” said Stacey. “Writing together and supporting each other through laughter and tears I is why I love this group.”
Romany Artist Dolly added, “I look forward to class and our new writing prompts each session. I enjoy the time spent in company of other women of the GRT communities, getting to learn not only about writing, but the women of the group and about ourselves.”
Brittania went on to say; “When I was offered to take part in the writing group, I felt daunted because I didn’t have much experience. After attending the first one I
couldn't wait for the next session. I have been attending for a few weeks now and can already tell the difference in my writing from before I came. The group feels safe and inclusive.
“Imogen reiterated; “Writing is part of the craft of the group, something we
explore, share, and witness by listening. It’s the friendly, caring words of support, it’s the care and sisterhood of shared memories, feelings, hopes and dreams. When women’s voices share and speak together, wonderful things begin to grow. It is the group I didn’t know I needed, and I’m so grateful to be part of it.”
“I’ve found my people, that sense of belonging,” said Georgie, the newest member of the 2023 cohort. “I’d always felt an outsider all my life and have been isolated, but now I don’t feel alone.”
If you’re interested in taking part in a future course, please register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org The cohort are now working on an exciting collective monologue project.
You can follow Write into Culture on Instagram @writeintoculture to keep track of the latest updates. We welcome established female identifying writers as guest speakers to share their knowledge. The Workshops are run free of charge, funders and organisations are welcome to get in touch for more information. Classes are run online so people can attend from anywhere as long as they have a stable internet connection.
Write into Culture for TT News
(Lead image by Dolly Arts)