Listenings Series (2012/13)

‘Who shall speak’ is less crucial than ‘who will listen’.

(Gayatri Spivak)

Listenings #1 took place in March 2012 and marked the first public engagement from Natural History of Hope. Following a year of creative story gathering processes developed by the core group of eight women with a range of groups, a scripted reading was compiled and performed in Rialto on International Women’s Day. The reading knitted together stories from Rialto females aged 7-70 and was performed by the gatherers to an audience of 80 women including many of those who had contributed their life experience.

In addition to the anonymous story gathering, the project also supported a writing process between Fiona Whelan and one local young woman who co-developed a character Rosie Lee whose life experience unfolds over many years in Rialto. Listenings #2 was the first sharing of the story to date and involved a group reading of four chapters to a selected audience on International Women’s Day 2013

Listenings #3 -‘In our own words’ was organised by a group of young women and youth workers working under the name FEM. The third in the series of reading events, this event centred on the lived experience of teenage young women from Rialto and included a choreographed sharing of personal stories, poems and songs in an intimate environment.

In a commitment to enter the journey along side those being invited in, the core group of eight women entered a process of sharing their own personal life experiences with the artist. A selection of these anonymous stories formed the basis of Listenings #4, which involved the core group reading aloud each others anonymous lived experience, while in their presence.