#SoftLads – a collaboration with visual artist Oliver Bliss

#SoftLads is a limited edition book that is the result of a series of creative writing workshops with Holly Winter-Hughes of The Word Association CIC – exploring gender, identity and self-worth through Oliver Bliss’ new tapestry series #SoftLads.

This project was made possible through the generous support of Arts Council England and Worcester City Council.

For the past two years, Oliver have been creating a series of tapestries focusing on portraits of tattooed males to explore male identity. We invited members of the public to experience the work for themselves, and with guidance to create poems and pieces of prose in response to the work and the themes explored. The workshops took place at the Henry Sandon Hall in Worcester, and the Stryx Gallery in Birmingham as part of SHOUT Festival Of Queer Arts And Culture. The workshops allowed people the chance to experience the artworks, talk to the artist about the work and explore the themes from the work through a series of gentle writing exercises.

The book includes over 30 creative writing responses, full colour picture panels of each of the tapestries and has two critical essays (from Ruth Stacey, creative writing lecturer at University of Worcester and Dr Kate Mattacks, research and lecturer).

To buy the SoftLads anthology follow this link https://tinyurl.com/4465h359 To buy postcards of the Tapestries follow this link https://tinyurl.com/mu244j9m

You can find out more about Oliver’s work here: https://oliverbliss.blogspot.com/

The #SoftLads anthology was launched at Henry Sandon Hall, Worcester in February. The event marked the opening of the SoftLads exhibition of tapestries and included readings from some of the anthology contributors, including Ruth Stacey and Kate Mattacks.

Loud & Queer – An Introduction to Queer Poetry

ID Crisis 2003 Zanele Muholi born 1972 Purchased with funds provided by Wendy Fisher 2015 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P81289

As part of Loud & Queer Festival 2022, Holly led a stand alone writing workshop using a selection of LGBTQ+ poems and visual art as a jumping off point. We’re planning another session with Provisional Act (the amazing team behind Loud & Queer) so keep an eye on our social media, or drop us a line if you’d be interested to hear more.

The Word Association Mentorship Programme 2022

Our brand new ACE funded mentorship programme has gone live! 12 of our past participants will benefit from one-on-one virtual mentoring sessions from a high profile team of professional poets, resulting in a live performance event in July. This free programme is open to all past participants of our previous courses (Words To Live By, Standing Proud, Ssh-OUT! and #SoftLads). Find out more here.

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