The Writing Workshop – New York City began in April 2010 founded by Jessamyn Fiore and Audrey Kobayashi. It is the New York Branch of The Writing Workshop based in Dublin, Ireland, founded in July 2007 by Jessamyn Fiore and Jessica Foley. Both branches work independently while collaborating cross the Atlantic on specific projects.

New York members include: Audrey Kobayashi, Jessamyn Fiore, Georg Freese, Michelle Meier, Elizabeth White, Jesse Jones, Veronica Dougherty, and more…

History of The Writing Workshop (2007-present):

Founded in the summer of 2007 by Jessica Foley & Jessamyn Fiore, The Writing Workshop has been steadily and rapidly developing it’s activities, research and membership over the past two years. Catalysed by a shared desire to explore the expansive & pervasive possibilities of text & words, and keen to push their own individual creativity through writing and on into other forms and media, Foley & Fiore felt that there was a need to facilitate such explorations through an open forum, with other people who shared their enthusiasm & curiosity.

From July 2007 The Writing Workshop has been held bi-weekly at thisisnotashop. Through advertising online & word of mouth an open membership has developed. Regular faces have returned at each session to share their work, raise & air anxieties & preoccupations, to debate concepts & tackle exercises, led initially by Foley & Fiore. As the sessions progressed The Workshop have been facilitated by other members, and often by invited external facilitators, including Clay Mcleod Chapman (writer & performer), Wreckio Ensemble (Theatre Company NYC), Bernardine Carroll (Artist), Séan Lynch (artist) & Kevin Barry (writer).

Each year (or Session) of The Writing Workshop culminates in an exhibition of members work.

The Inaugural Writing Workshop Exhibition took place in February 2008 at thisisnotashop. The week long series of self-organised & publicised events hosted ‘Benburb Street’, a Listening of a radio vox-pop of Benburb St. researched by Felicity Williams, ‘Absent Friends: A Celebration of February 29th’, an Indian Themed sharing of texts & food presented by Kay Inkcle, ‘Voices in an Empty Room’ an atmospheric night of performed poetry, written by Gerry Mcdonnell & performed by actors Maura Foley & Damian O’Donnell, ‘Recreational Space’ a participative audio/visual exhibition by Jessica Foley, and a lunchtime immersive reading by Jessamyn Fiore, where tastes & smells of Maple Syrup mingled with memories & written word.

The second Session of The Writing Workshop commenced in the summer of 2008, and in November 2008 The Writing Workshop went On Retreat to Roundwood House in Co. Laois for a weekend, and therein cultivated ideas which would lead to the second annual exhibition of The Writing Workshop. The weekend was directed by Jessamyn Fiore & Jessica Foley, with support from Roundwood House and thisisnotashop. The Retreat involved group writing exercises, individual independent writing/thinking time, and a special event devised by Jessamyn Fiore & Jessica Foley, with technical assistance from Paddy Flynn – Workshop members were sent to various rooms within the main house at Roundwood, and using stage monitors each member was invited to listen to a live feed of readings & ambient sounds created by Jessica, Jessamyn & Paddy, and to respond through writing…for some it was inspiring, for others it was oppressive, but for all involved it was a revealing & stimulating exercise.

The Second Annual Writing Workshop Exhibition, which evolved from work undertaken by members at The Writing Workshop Retreat to Roundwood House in Co. Laois in November 2008, took place from the 16th – 20th June 2009 at thisisnotashop, and included work by members Áine Ivers, Susan Thomson, N.S. Malone, Jessamyn Fiore, Jessica Foley & Kay Inckle. Both Exhibitions were self-organised & funded by members of The Writing Workshop, with support from thisisnotashop.

Session III began in Dublin in the fall of 2009 with additional members and multiple exhibitions.

ArtBOOK at PS1 MOMA invited Writing Workshop core members Jessica Foley, Jessamyn Fiore, Aine Ivers, and Susan Thomson to display work in the Cafe space of P.S.1. This exhibition entitled Glass I… contained individual work specifically developed in response to the particular space of exhibition (the glass vitrine) such as: Free Energy City by Áine Ivers. Through text and drawing an imaginary ecological town is depicted. A lost lover guides us through streets where houses photosynthesize and wolves roam freely… Allegory for Occupation by Jessica Foley sketches rough outlines of an experience in a crumbling workhouse in the midlands of Ireland, agitating currents of  history & myth… Susan Thomson’s The Swimming Diaries, excerpts from a 25,000 word book where each word corresponds to a stroke swum during the month when her mother was dying. Jessamyn Fiore’s remnants and text memory from a month spent living in the wilds of Patagonia, Chile, as well as A Play About Lee Lozano.

In April 2010 ArtBOOK again invited these members to hold a series of workshops in the cafe and with support from Culture Ireland they traveled to NYC and used this series to launch The Writing Workshop New York City. Simultaneous to these workshop there was a further series of exhibition, workshops and events at UnionDocs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This exhibition included outdoor sculptural installation, film installation, video screening, participatory workshops and a live theatrical reading.

In May 2010 The Writing Workshop (both Dublin and New York) created a “Writing Workshop Bookshelf” a designed intererative display unit that was included as part of the exhibition Everything is ‘Up’ held by Thisisnotashop as part of No Soul For Sale: A Festival For Independents in the Turbine Hall of the TATE Modern, London. It included work by members:

Dublin: Jessica Foley, Áine Ivers, Susan Thomson, Kay Inckle, Jennie Guy, Claire Behan, Fiona Fullam, Helen Horgan and Terry Markey.

New York: Jessamyn Fiore, Audrey Kobayashi, Georg Freese, Michelle Meier, Elizabeth White, and Jesse Jones.

For more info and images of past exhibitions visit www.thewritingworkshop.wordpress.com


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