SPARKS!, formerly known as Let's Talk TLA, is a free bi-monthly teleconference moderated by TLA Network Membership Chair, Kelly DuMar, who interviews notable Transformative Language Artists on their work, followed by a poetry open mic. Great food for thought and nourishing poems for the soul.
Jennifer Jean: Empowering Human-Trafficking Survivors: Facilitating Free2Write Poetry Workshops
Jennifer is a poet, educator and activist who has been teaching poetry workshops to human trafficking and trauma survivors in order to empower them to tell their own stories in their own way. Kelly DuMar will interview Jennifer about her transformative language arts work with survivors, as well as ask Jennifer to read some of her own poems. This is an opportunity for TLA practitioners to learn and share best practices for working with survivors in writing groups and be introduced to Jennifer’s model for facilitating free2write workshops for survivors.
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Laura Packer: Constellations of Work, Art, Self-Care, & Life
Laura and Caryn will share stories, strategies, and tips about how they continually dance with their own constellations of making art (Laura is a storyteller and Caryn a writer), practicing self-care, and evolving ways of making a living. They'll also answer questions about the Right Livelihood Professional Training and how it supports writers, storytellers, performers, educators, coaches, healers, and others in finding their best constellation of work.
Gregg Levoy: Finding & Following Your Passion & Calling
Gregg Levoy is the author of Vital Signs: The Nature and Nurture of Passion (Penguin), and Callings: Finding and Following An Authentic Life (Random
House)—rated among the "Top 20 Career Publications" by the Workforce
Information Group. He is also the former "behavioral specialist" at USA
Today and a regular blogger for Psychology Today.
True Story Theater
True Story Theater is a nonprofit theater company that offers 50-75 improvisational performances and workshops a year for community groups, businesses, and individuals mostly in the greater Boston area. They work with hospitals, universities, corporations, religious communities… with teen leaders, cancer survivors, activists, philanthropists, business leaders… as well as for weddings, birthdays, and other private events.
Their mission is to build empathy and respect in community through honoring all of our true stories.
Caits Meissner: Poetics of Witness
How does one decide it's okay to write beyond these margins? What
questions must the author consider in the act of witnessing? How do we
write about our lives, which are entangled with the lives of others, in
ways that are fair, loving, and ethical?
Doug Lipman: Creating Experiences of Social Change through Storytelling & The Arts
“We don't have to talk about social change to create it,” Doug says. “Instead, if we teach and perform in accordance with our values, the process moves people toward change, without relying purely on the content of what we say. Artistic processes like storytelling, singing, dancing, and poetry help us discover and express our highest values and create experiences for others that open them to their true humanity. TLA artists and activists can inspire each other to discover an enlarging web of activities that help people align themselves with currents that will help move us toward a more just, supportive, and enlightened society. The connection between process and change is helping people experience values necessary to a more just society.”
Z. Hall: Dynamic Dialogue
Z. Hall believes in the power of creating what she calls “360 degree public conversations,” -- that true understanding requires examining issues through integrated, public dialogue. In the context of TLA, we’ll explore her thoughts on why open dialogue is important, what we can expect when it does not exist, and how society benefits when it does.
Z. Hall is a poet, mixed media artist, scholar, and the Executive Director of Salon~360, a monthly event that brings together artists, business people, scholars, activists, and community members in dialogue around issues faced by our society. A rhetorical critic specializing in visual and material rhetoric, Z. produces scholarship on communication and art. Her interests include culture, art, race, identity, media, TV and radio, film, theater performance, rhetoric, and intersections of these. She has blogged about these for nearly five years. Her passion for creating a space for open dialogue stems back to the 2011’s online version of Salon~360, “Shaken Not Stirred: Conversations with Friends” on her blog. Z’s art articulates social and political realism as critique.
Seema Reza: Arts as a Tool for Narration, Self-Care, and Socialization
Poet, essayist, facilitator, and 2016 POW Conference keynote, Seema Reza, talks about her work using TLA to help a military
population struggling with emotional and physical injuries.
Callid Keefe-Perry: Imagination and Public Education: Learning Ourselves into Boredom
TLAN Chair & 2016 conference Keynote speaker, Callid Keefe-Perry,
talks about how he uses Transformative Language Arts Network in his
advocacy for the arts.
Laura Packer: Creating Your Sustainable Story
Storyteller, writer, coach, and communications consultant, Laura Packer, talks about how to establish a creative career and pursue meaningful work as a Transformative Language Artist.
Laura Packer is a performing storyteller, writer, coach and communications consultant with for- and non-profit businesses. She has been a self-supporting practitioner for almost a decade. She has told stories for adults and families in venues as varied as festivals, universities, hospices, retreats, on the streets, fringe festivals and more. Laura also coaches storytellers, writers, executives, , teenagers, marketers and others in their own stories and for public speaking. She loves applying artistic and creative tools to the practical and prosaic, and thinks solving problems in new ways can actually be a lot of fun.