Shake! participant Samia Aziz reflects on her experience during Travelling Light, run by Shake! artist and facilitator Zena Edwards
Over the 24th and 30th July, Zena Edwards facilitated two exciting and fun-filled days of discussion, debate, creativity and writing around the issue of female identity. The aim was to unpack the baggage we, as young women, have bestowed upon us from a very young age. A group of young women aged between 17 and 46 worked together over the two weekends, answering the fundamental question: “Why does my gender hold me back?”
The first session consisted of writing, meditation, talking and drawing time lines. In the session, we spoke about things and memories we hold dear, specifically as women. We shared experiences of feeling targeted and intimidated by the media, and made full use of and enjoyed the range of ages in the room! Together we made a timeline which showed how some experiences are specific to some ages, while at the same time celebrating those we all share. One of the most moving parts of the workshop was a session of meditation, where each participant was asked to take on the emotions which we possessed at different ties in our lives: our childhood, adolescence, and those we hold now. While this was a very deep and intense task, the feedback from individuals was heartening and enlightening.

In between the two workshops, there was a six-day break where we were encouraged to micro-journal. In short, this was so we would develop a habit of recording our thoughts and feelings, or those things, which particularly struck us. We were gifted with small notebooks, and encouraged to write a little everyday, or draw or take pictures.

We met again 6 days later, eager to share our thoughts and feelings. The final day of workshops consisted of the sharing of stories, wisdom of our loved ones and lots of laughter. We sat admiring the lives of cats and toddlers, who seem so unaffected by the world around them, and can just “be”. There was ample opportunity for creativity, with people writing and scrap-booking.

The workshops were an incredible opportunity to take some time out of the usual busyness of life and explore issues very personal to us. It’s amazing how something can have such a big impact on your life, and you not realise.