Building Better Speech at Performa Biennial

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Building Better Speech Performance Workshops
Melanie Crean and Claire Picher, with Turning Point for Women and Families
Performa Biennial
233 Mott Street (intersection at Prince Street)
Free admission¬

The Building Better Speech workshops investigate how issues of identity and power can be communicated as a form of text, either through the body’s gestures, or through network based collective action. Building Better Speech workshops make use of performance, games, and open education models to collaboratively facilitate dialogue around issues defined by groups affected by political transformation and upheaval.

In the pilot iteration of Building Better Speech, a workshop was designed with Claire Picher and a group of female high school students from Turning Point for Women and Families, a Queens-based organization that supports Muslim American families dealing with issues of domestic violence. Over the course of the workshop, the young women explore self-identified issues of faith and stereotypes through automatic writing assignments, screen printing, theatrical games, reflection and discussion. These various methods are a means of improving communication within groups and building ties to allies, as well as promoting mutual understanding. Physical and visual approaches to communication augment the spoken word to help overcome the greatest obstacle to communicating: the challenge of being heard.

On the occasion of Performa 11, Crean, Picher and the young women of Turning Point for Women and Families will conduct an open workshop, inviting the public to explore their issues of stereotyping and identity together in a shared session of collective performance games.