Communication Studies

Weaving and Stitching Stories of Sexual Assault and Violence

Weaving and Stitching Stories of Sexual Assault and Violence
Performance Ensemble invited artist Amber Dawn Cobb to lead a three-day intensive workshop March 26-28, 2009. Amber Cobb is an artist working in Boulder, Colorado. Under the guise of sculpture, yet not contained, Amber discusses personal narratives, defunct city blocks, and toxic landscapes. Amber has recreated moments in subversive forms, mirrored the past metaphorically, and performed symbolic gestures. Each history lends itself to a new method of research and Amber becomes another filter.
This workshop focused on writing and creating artistic expressions in response to experiences of sexual assault and violence. This workshop invited survivors and supporters of survivors to transform their written words through the paper making process. We were thrilled to have more than twenty workshop participants engaged in each stage of the workshop. It was certainly a great success.
Stage 1: Experimental Writing Workshop
Workshop participants used experimental writing as a tool for narrative generation about sexual assault and violence. This experimental writing workshop explored collage, drawing, poetry, and the tactile layers of narrative development.

Stage 2: Paper Pulp/Paper Making
Each workshop participant then learned how to create paper pulp out of these pages of experimental writing. While we made the paper we discussed the experience of everyday life and how survivors cope with the past in the present moment.

Stage 3: Reweaving/Quilting
During the third stage of the workshop, we created a visual record of our shared experience. We shared and teared the experiences of sexual violence and then mended (by sewing) together. Performatively, we came together through the act of doing, of making and remaking our experiences with sexual assault and violence. The product of our powerful processual work will be displayed in Manzanita Hall.
I applaud the work of the workshop participants. They deserve a loud Brava! I would like to thank Amber Dawn Cobb for her brilliant insights and creative leadership. I would also like to thank the Department of Communication Studies and the Gender and Womens Studies Department for their contributions. The workshop was a great experience and a wonderful success.
Jeanine Minge