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Word Games Workshop 2012


Let Loose
All of the stories presented here were written during a word game workshop for individuals with hearing loss in December 2012. The workshop was led by Anthony Schrag and used surrealist games to create collaborative stories which combine ideas from several people in the group.
Some of the games you might have played write the start of a story, fold the paper and pass it on. The results are funny, surrealist, profound, you decide. At the end of this booklet you will find instructions to play the games yourself. This was the first workshop of a new Artlink project exploring text based art with individuals with hearing loss. The project aims to develop new types of arts experiences through opportunities for audiences and artists to work together. If you would like to take part in future Let Loose workshops, find out more or be kept informed about the project, please contact Susan at Artlink: Email: susan@artlinkedinburgh.co.uk Telephone: 0131 299 3555 option1 Text relay: 18001 0131 229 3555


Artlink Word Games Workshop Participant Feedback

You can often get hung up on a final version, tweaking something until you feel its finished but I appreciated the transitory nature of the cuboid word poems building up shifting shapes, nicking a word from another poem, adding here and there, physically intermingling with the cuboids this was an activity which had more to give, if wed developed it further. Words begetting movement? The workshop today was great! Fun, interactive, creative. A fusion of collaboration and individual effort. Communication was well managed. There was lots of collaboration but, because we were writing, or using prepared words on the cuboids, we could collaborate without struggling to follow what the other participants were saying. And of course the personal loops and STTR were liberating.


Although the focus was on process rather than end product, I did find the final activity of combining two diverse stories into one satisfying and that was at least partly because I had an end product. Glad we got to read all the stories. To have some hearing folks alongside the hearing impaired folks was a really useful model, I thought and the activities facilitated collaboration in a way which made our hearing status irrelevant. Anthony was fab! And really well prepared. He had us laughing and relaxing right away. He set out a structure but then set us free to experiment. Feeling excited already about future workshops! Wish we could get a few more people to join the group though there have to be more of us out there who would really enjoy getting mucked in.
Workshop Participant



Group story
Yesterday we went out to meet a couple. The wife has a lot of trouble with her knees but she gave us a wonderful tea and then a fox came to the window and she gave it
food. Yes was ahead but also my aunt who I missed and was looking forward to seeing so as soon as I half read the message I began to worry. Who was ill and had I missed the beginning of the story? Of course I never thought of looking at the date, just sent a Christmas card with a felled Christmas tree to my friends in Australia. Wasnt it mentioned my friends had gone to New Zealand to visit relatives? It was a freezing cold evening when I set off for my Nia dance class. I hurried, no not hurried, but she gave the fox dogs food and we wondered how hed get on with that but he ate it. Happily dropped my bags at the convent and set off up Tollcross and to the Little Sisters, knocking on the big wooden door and just sent a bland text telling her what I experienced- of course she did not reply at once and never referred to my worry. She said Simon called, Bridie had died. Which was very tragic but I got over it in the end. This morning I went to the John Bellany exhibition at the National Gallery. There were paintings of Port Seton, birds and fishing and had barbeques on the beach, fresh oysters and ros wine. It was so hot that is really a bad idea. The idea was to be changed, and go barefoot into one studio where the music was already playing. I didnt see him play but I couldnt actually see him. Our hostess says hes young so he probably does play. Unfortunately I had to go to a funeral yesterday. I didnt know as much about John Bellany as I do now and now I am inspired to wake up early and have an early start to the day, doing more useful things and were a bit late. The papers reported a huge fire, a local man said it smelled, probably however a good smell!! My aunts smell! And she saw me, I saw her and we both smiled. I had a visitor, my son came to see me. He was here just one day. Yesterday morning I offered him a lift to Waverley Bridge to catch fire.



All the firemen were busy at my place, or somebody else is much better feeling to soon see my aunt. I slipped up the stairs, down the corridor and poked my head around the door where am I going to store all this craft material I buy? I have some in the attic, in boxes beneath my bed, in a wardrobe, in an ottoman and everywhere. I went to Hobbycraft store this morning as there was a sale on 25% off. Brilliant! I thought I would just buy frames for two pictures, but I ended up buying also 3 big balls of wool, double sided sellotape and some tops for felting wasnt possible so I went there by bus. The journey took 40minutes passed and I wasnt enjoying myself and I didnt even realise that two hours had gone and I suddenly felt in need of more exercise. And if I start the doing I can do all exercises that I need to get active as burnt toast.

This is a game.
Gamely, water bottle in hand, woolly hat and scarf keeping me warm, until I arrived at the hall. The fox goes onto the neighbours home, for another meal was organised but I didnt attend. I was pleased to meet some old acquaintances become friends when you get to know them well. This took place a few weeks ago, on a small Scottish island. I was on a cycling holiday and the weather was sunny but very, very cold indeed to play. Outside was a notice: Dance class tonight 7pm. Everyone welcome. I bet he gets a welcome every time he goes to one home or another routine was about to begin. The start of another class I smiled in anticipation. I arrived in Edinburgh yesterday evening, in the pouring rain and wind but I was happy because in the two pages of my text it told me that the family were called in. Who? Her brother Michael was the name of one of my assistants. He was helpful as I wanted three big balls of Aran wool and there were only two on the shelf. So he went to the store and found me another sandwich, or perhaps a baked potato, or even some soup. What are my taste buds telling about the story of his recent life? I was very interested to hear but he did not say much, thus I am in the dark.


Collaborative Writing
Why was there a garden shed on the station platform? It was placed there by an artist as part of the inaugural Ayr Biennale. Commuters were invited to miss their train, to spend some time in the shed with another commuter; someone they maybe see everyday but never spoke to. The event was documented by the commuters accounts of their time in the shed. One lady commented: It is nice to meet people although not always. I was in the shed with another person and she farted! I was surprised and looked at her without saying anything. However she said: What dont you do it yourself? I said, Indeed I do it then I farted and we both laughed. It was a good experience and now we talk on the train everyday, though I wish we hadnt met in such a wee shed. It was a long time ago, in Ireland when the father and son travelled in a Morris Traveller. Since the 1950s the world has developed a lot. In 2012 there was the Edinburgh Festival, where a theatre company from Israel performed in the playhouse. This company was bold and unusual. They were the acrobats of God and was not around in 1950 when the Morris traveller was popular transport in Ireland. The father and son had no way to see the performance which was more than half a century later in Edinburgh. Haute Couture exhibitions at the Royal Academy this time, it was Armani, King of fashion. Hip, outrageous, stunning. His creations, draped around life sized dummies, as though a stage set, drew the crowds in their masses. But what of Armani the man? And what of Madam? Did they live cushioned in luxury, waited on hand and foot by fawning flunkies?




The scene shifts two sleeping figures, not in their first youth, designer spectacles laid aside Gran and Grandpa Armani, deep in slumber until... Noises off young children wailing. Uhh grunts Grandpa, nudging his wife, thats George again. Lucky I can hear him, even if my eyesight is not what it was. Gran Armani responds groggily to the muffled sounds and shuffles off to comfort their grandson. My cat Henry is a very active cat. Ill tell you about his experience. Late last Sunday night I heard screaming and shouting in the communal garden. I was just about to go to bed and I wondered what was happening! I realised then that Henry was missing. Hmmmm! I thought perhaps Henry has something to do with all this going on. When I opened the back door I found Henry was being chased around the garden by my neighbours two large wolfhounds!! Poor Henry! What an experience! I think he had the fright of his life and wont even go out to the back garden again! One hundred years ago my aunt was born. This called for celebration, cards and presents what could I do? In the care home where my aunt lived now, birthdays were special so I needed an idea or two. A friend of mine, Ethel, was very arty she made a sentimental card of a bride in the 30s. My aunt was married then and her going away hat was of black lace with gold trimmings. Ethel copied her ensemble but did not realise that black was the last colour that my aunt would have sported. Ethel herself had come into the home as a result of needing care after an accidental fall. She needed some activity as she had always been busy before the disaster of the fall. It is difficult enough travelling in the evening in Edinburgh because of the infrequency of the buses. Recently I travelled on three buses and a taxi to get home after a night at the theatre. But this was easy compared to other places.



Friends were travelling in Palestine from Bethlehem to Tiberias by coach. Suddenly soldiers were on the bus and passengers were very alarmed. They left and the coach went on to the hotel. It was modern but not friendly and one day all the staff changed. It was a troubling journey. Ill not complain about the buses in Edinburgh again well maybe not. When I was about eighteen I got locked in a railway station by mistake! My friend, Catherine, and I were travelling home after spending the evening in central London. We jumped on the first train and it stopped unexpectedly at Deptford the stop closest to my friends house. We got off the train. The only other person to get off at that stop was a thin man in a stripy sweatshirt. Little did we know that the adventure was about to begin! We suddenly realised that the station was in total darkness and the door was locked. This was also at a time before mobile phones. We wondered what on earth to do. We found an internal door with a key in the lock we went through and found ourselves in a high-ceilinged room with a high window. The man, who happened to be carrying countless oblong tubes inscribed with seemingly random words, climbed swiftly up to the window, and after some effort, managed to prise it open. Catherine and I sorted through the random words and threw two of the oblong blocks up to the man in the stripy sweatshirt. He threw the words help stuck down to the street below. We waited to see what would happen. Who knew what to expect? A dance company performed at the Edinburgh festival in August. It comprised of dancers from Israel and some dogs. One of my dogs, Mr Benji, a toy poodle was one of the dogs. The performance was called Shadows and the idea was for the dogs to follow the dancers about on stage. It was sometimes disturbing, a strange feeling. Some people boycotted the theatre, returned tickets and generally made a disturbance. They were narrow minded they opposed the dancers from Israel and/or the use of dogs on stage. They couldnt, or wouldnt look past these facts and see that the performance was about some people blindly following their masters. Due to their loving and trusting nature they were being used.



The 1980s. A country lane. A winter night. Cold. A mother and father and young son in their car. They were going for noodles. It had been hungry work removing the fire place. The ugly pink tiled 1930s fireplace. At first it was easy, dirty work, but easy and we found some interesting things. Childrens drawings, report cards perhaps hidden from parents. A photograph of a teenager on a bicycle. Anyway, noodles. We inched our way along in the car through the mist. All of a sudden a cyclist appears, moving slowly but always just out of reach of the car. Until BANG and a sharp metallic crunch. We stop the car and jump out, worried and shivering. But there is nothing to be seen except fields and mist, our cottage on the horizon. And a rusty black bike lying in the ditch, covered in brambles and grass. Its back wheel turning slowly. Later we told the neighbours, showed them the photograph. They were not impressed; they had found gold coins behind their fireplace.


Group Story
This wee game is a written form of the drawing game Consequences, where a drawing is made in sections, with a surprise reveal at the end. In this game, we make a story in sections, combining different stories into one.
Think of something that happened to you recently a fun event, an inspiring exhibition or just something you did yesterday and begin to write out the story in the first section ( 1 ). Write until you run out of space. It doesnt matter if you have finished your story or not just leave the last word of your current sentence on the first line of the next section ( 2 ). Fold down the sheet of paper so section ( 1 ) is hidden and exchange it with a neighbour. With your new sheet of paper, continue your story, starting with the word that starts section ( 2 ), and stop when you run out of space, leaving the last word on the first line of the next section ( 3 ). Repeat until all the sections are complete. Unfold the story and share what you have written with others! Surreal, a bit funny and often poignant group stories evolve!


2 3 4 5


Collaborative Writing
This game aims to get you thinking about collaborating and how meaning is formed in written texts. A more personal and considered version of a group story
Choose two events from your life and write a short story/review about each of them as if you were reviewing an event: What happened? Who were the main players? Were there any themes? What was the setting like? What did you take away from the experience? Once you have finished writing about both events, cut along the dotted line and fold Story 2 up and swap it anonymously by putting it into a hat and picking another one out. Dont re-choose your own! keep hold of Story 1.

Story 1 (keep me) Story 2 (give away)


Collaborative Writing
Once you have finished writing about both events, cut along the dotted line and fold Story 2 up and swap it anonymously by putting it into a hat and picking another one out. Dont re-choose your own! keep hold of Story 1.
Read this new story/review you just received, and consider how you might imaginatively combine the events with your own event (that you still have). Now write them together as one story, as if it was one event.

Story 3 (the collaboration)



To find out more If you would like to find out more about this project or Artlink please feel free to contact us by either telephone, e-mail or in writing. If you require this publication in an alternative format it is available in PDF, Braille, audio or large print formats, please contact Artlink for your copy.

Artlink Edinburgh & the Lothians 13a Spittal Street Edinburgh EH3 9DY Telephone: 0131 229 3555 E-mail: info@artlinkedinburgh.co.uk Website: artlinkedinburgh.co.uk Social media: www.facebook.com/ArtlinkEdinburgh Blog: www.letlooseblog.wordpress.com Artlink is a charity registered in Scotland No. 87845 with charitable status, Scottish Charity No. SC006845

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