Veteran and Community Conferences (VCCs)
Warrior Writers Veteran and Community Conferences (VCCs) are powerful gatherings of veterans, artists, supporters and healers with the goal of creating space and community for veterans and their supporters to engage in healing and the re-integration process together. VCCs feature Warrior Writers writing workshops for veterans, workshops on working with veterans, visual art workshops, facilitator’s trainings, wellness sessions, art exhibitions, and spoken word performances
Below are some highlights from VCCs. Our conference at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH, was attended by veterans from the East coast, Midwest and South, active duty service members from Wight Patterson Air Force Base, local veterans, local professionals providing veteran services, local artists, Antioch College students and Yellow Springs community members. We were excited to include a Facilitator’s Training for folks interested in hosting workshops for veterans in their own cities. We also debuted our new and improved Warrior Writers Do-It-Yourself guide – a complete guide to creating a healthy and sustainable Warrior Writers Community. The weekend also included writing workshops for veterans and active duty service members, a workshop on working with veterans for allies, visual arts, performing and drumming workshops, good food, socializing, and an inspiring performance.
Working with Veterans 101: an arts-based workshop for civilian allies
This workshop is centered around building beneficial veteran-civilian relationships. We explore participant's perceptions about and relationships with veterans. We utilize creative writing/art-making, dialogue, participatory learning and active listening processes, as well as, the artwork of Veteran artists to guide our discussions. Some areas of learning & investigation include: veterans’ issues and experiences, PTSD, challenges/benefits of working with veterans, and specific information about healthy ways of engaging veterans. This workshop will provide a foundation from which civilian allies can build healthy and sustainable relationships with veterans and move toward creative collaboration. We also require any volunteers interested in facilitated Warrior Writers workshops to attend a training with us.
Writing Workshops for Veterans and Service Members
These creative workshops offer prompts that cover a variety of military issues and experiences. This encourages sharing stories, opinions, and ideas for productive writing/reflecting/story-telling and art-making. A highlight of these workshops for many veterans is having a space to release bottled-up thoughts and emotions among others who understand, creating a sense of empowerment in the ability to tell their own story. By creating an open and accepting atmosphere, we build a community of support. Workshops are for any service member or veteran regardless of experiences with writing, combat, art, deployment, etc.
Writing Workshops for Military Families and Community Members
Writing workshops for military family and community members build a supportive environment to explore and share stories, memories, dreams and ideas through creative expression. Prompts and discussions cover issues and experiences relating to living in a military community, deployment and homecoming of loved ones, relationships, supporting each other, healing, and growth. No previous writing or artistic experience is necessary for participation.
Interested in possibly running a writing workshop in your area? Maybe looking to do closer work with veterans in the future? Warrior Writers founder Lovella Calica leads training for veterans and allies interested in facilitating workshops. The format is the same as a regular writing workshop, but with added tips, conversations and a DIY guide; essentially, you see it in action. Attendance to this workshop does not authorize one to lead workshops using the Warrior Writers name, but is a stepping stone in the process.
Visual Arts Workshops:
This hands-on, learn-by-doing-training covers the basics of digital photography, video or a variety of art-making, including photo transfer process. Participants in photo or video workshops can join a team to document the workshops and performances. Open to veterans and civilians.
Coming Home, visual art and writing from recent veterans working with Warrior Writers and Combat Paper, was exhibited in Herndon Gallery in Yellow Springs, OH. Coming Home featured a site-specific installation by Iraq veterans Aaron Hughes and work by Veteran artists and Warrior Writers Chantelle Bateman, Drew Cameron, Toby Hartbarger, Aaron Hughes, Kevin Kilgore, Iris Madelyn, Robynn Murray, Jennifer Pacanowski, Jon Turner, Eli Wright and Ash Kyrie.
Advanced writing and editing workshop for more experienced writers.