In a world with so much information in print and digital forms, it’s hard to be heard.
Alison Tedford wants to change that.
Next Saturday, the Indigenous writer and consultant will launch the Tri-City Wordsmiths’ new season with a workshop called Storytelling for Justice.
“I’m looking to support people with their learning of how to write to effect change or their perspective,” Tedford told the Tri-City News this week. “I believe that writing can be used as a vehicle for advocacy and to get the word out.”
An Abbotsford resident, Tedford said her online workshop won’t be just tricks of the trade; rather, it will give participants a chance to flex their writing muscles and talk about their own experiences with communication and messaging, as well as audience.
Tedford, who worked for the federal government for more than a decade in Indigenous relations and programming, moved to the consulting field five years ago and has since written for several publications, released books and conducted workshops with organizations.
She also consults with business owners on diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace.
Tedford said communication has changed since social media platforms became popular and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they became a lifeline for many users as they sought information about mental health, for example.
During the lockdown, Tedford said, people reached out on digital channels to share their collective trauma.
“A lot more vulnerable content came up where people were sharing their truths,” she said. “In some respects, it normalized conversations about loneliness, and inequities were highlighted.”
Her workshop with the Tri-City Wordsmiths will be geared to “anyone who is wanting to make a difference with their writing and to get their story out there,” she said. “Personal essays can be amazing vehicles of change because they create empathy. We want to hear others’ stories, and support them in their journey.”
She added, “Not everyone can do a protest or get out to do volunteer work. There may be childcare, transportation or disability challenges with that. But you can write. And you can do it at your own convenience.”
To register for Alison Tedford’s free online workshop on Oct. 2, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the group’s next Writers in Our Midst presentation is set for Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.
The 19th edition of the reading series of fiction, poetry and performance will have a Halloween theme, and will be via the Port Moody Public Library’s Facebook page.