Taking a (relative) autumnal rest

13th November 2017

It started with the strong hand of the wind, refreshing our faces, brushing our hair - nessuno mi pettina bene come il vento (nobody combs my hair as well as the wind does) - the great poet Alda Merini said. It was during the first half of March when two photographers travelled all the way here to tell the participants, all come from many elsewheres and setting in Malta their daily habits and gestures, what photography meant to them and to see where a common passion could have brought the steps of not one, but two groups, one in the morning, the other in the evening: the photography workshop collected such a demand that we had to double it.  

That was the start. The windy, mildly sunny launch of a year that had promised to be full and engaging and that didn't disappoint our expectations. 

It was the start of a long, multi-faceted discourse, told by many voices, expressed through many languages. The pictures taken by the participants during this first workshop were then used to inspire the stories explored during our Storytelling and Creative Writing workshop... stories (we chose the ones of Katel and Ibrahim) which would then have served as the basis for a short film script. The first film, it would turn out, that would make use of the town of Marsa as a bona fide setting, and not just as a mere backdrop, or stand-in for other places. The film -- 'Marsapolis' -- which was finally produced three weeks ago, in a process that took place right after our Digital Storytelling Workshop, which in turn took place right before the two weekends of the second edition of the Rima Film Festival and the beautiful photography exhibition by the Collectif Elili... 

So, we're confident in the knowledge that -- at the very least -- we managed to come up with interesting ways of allowing people to spend a few good hours with us during their mornings, afternoons and evenings. But it we also succeeded in getting them to imagine how all of these takes on the discourse of exile are interlinked, then we can truly take a deep breath, and, with a different kind of wind now howling just outside, can begin to shore up some excitement for the new words, insights and perspectives a fresh take on this discourse will dredge up, next year. 

Thanks to all the people who came to our workshop, to the ones who helped us, to the tutors and to everyone who followed us since the beginning, and who will continue to be there, to hear what we have still to say about being here... despite being born elsewhere. 

It started with the strong hand of the wind, refreshing our faces, brushing our hair...