What is One City, One Prompt?
One City, One Prompt is a series of hosted writing, performance, and community-building events across the country. Through One City, One Prompt, communities can come together to create writing, stories and other arts, and through the process of writing and speaking together, cultivate greater civility, deeper dialogue, and sense of purpose. Each community, working with writers, storytellers and performers with extensive facilitation experience, will write on one theme of importance to that community.
Each experience is unique but collectively threads ideas towards a shared understanding of our greater national community, allowing participants, through the power of poetry, to begin to bridge partisan political views and engage in a civil discourse on community values. These events will culminate through an extensive, interactive website that will share participants' writing, experience, and each participating city's communal discoveries about itself through a variety of media, including the written word, audio recordings, photography and film.
We hope you will consider facilitating or participating in a One City, One Prompt event in your community. These events will take place between August 11 and November 11, 2011, in any community where a Transformative Language Arts practitioner is willing to organize and facilitate an event.
Each community as its own collective voice, and in this spirit, One City, One Prompt doesn’t tell you what participants should write about, but instead, offers a process and some possibilities for choosing a topic of relevance to each community.
How Do I Develop a Prompt for One City, One Prompt?
TLAN is currently developing a handbook to provide facilitators with the essential information they need to hold a successful event, from background information about Transformative Language Arts and the Transformative Language Arts Network, to facilitation guidelines, to templates that can be adapted to publicize each community event.
In the meantime, here are some points to consider in designing an event for your community:
All events must be free of charge.
Events aimed for a general audience should be held, as much as possible, in a safe, accessible, well-lit place with good parking.
Facilitators can brainstorm topics of relevance for their community and choose one to focus on.
Alternatively, at the actual event, the facilitator can present participants with two to three potential topics and have people vote (use little slips of paper with all the topics listed — this way, no one is put on the spot).
The topic should be broad enough to embrace many viewpoints, but not so broad as to mean absolutely everything (such as “write about life”). The topic should be open-ended so that people may approach it as they wish. For example, if your community’s topic is freedom, participants may write about personal freedom, “freedom’s just having nothing left to lose” (or other quotes), historic struggles for freedom in your community, spiritual or political or social freedom, benefits and dangers of freedom, and the like. Finally, the topic should help lift people up (e.g. avoid topics such as “despair” or “degradation”).
Consider the community’s ecology, geography, history, social challenges and potential, growth or change. For example, a town in the Rocky Mountains might want to write about “Living vertically,” a town that was a Civil War site might consider “Freedom,” a community rebuilding after economic devastation might do “Recovery,” a place which recently dropped in population might consider “Open spaces,” an area known for growing or making certain kinds of food could write about that food (or food in general).
Confirmed locations for One City, One Prompt include:
Ft. Kent, ME
New York, NY
See more information about One City, One Prompt events here.
View a video about One City, One Prompt, and contribute to the cause here.
Please contact the TLAN Coordinator if you have any questions, or to add your community to the list.