Change the Narrative with ‘I, Daniel Blake’

Tanvir Naomi Bush Cull, Disability, Writing 2 Comments

It was a packed auditorium..

A middle aged man in a dark donkey jacket and black wool hat pulled low stands defiantly with fist raised. Behind him in various black and red texts are a list of accoldes for the film

‘I, Daniel Blake’ (2016) film poster

… for the first screening of the award winning film, ‘I Daniel Blake’ at the Pound Arts Centre, Corsham last Thursday.  We had planned a full day of events around the Arts and Social Change,  part of our joint SenseAbility themed programme.  It had been months in the planning but finally the day had arrived!

After the first screening several people joined us for a ‘debriefing’ discussion. Some were visibly distraught in the wake of the film’s difficult themes, such as the inhumanity of the current welfare system. They wanted to know ‘why‘ and ‘what the hell could be done?’  There were no easy answers but we were lucky enough to have a great representative from Citizens Advice Bureau on hand to give direction and information on the local situation.

After lunch, Bath Spa University’s library team led with a presentation of their Reads and Rights programme, which showcases over 300 books chosen as having a positive effect on the world as we know it. A lively discussion followed and the hour was over too quickly!

I ran my first Creative Writing Laboratory on the theme of Writing for Social Change/Changing Narratives joined by 20 inspiring and curious folk. The time again got the better of us and I was still rabbiting on when it ran out.  However, it has made me think that developing a full or half day workshop on this theme would be well received. People DO want to make a difference, want to be somehow heard.  I shall think more on’t!  Watch this space!

Then The Panel!

Quite a few brains in this pic!

Five people sit behind a long table on a stage. The photo is taken from the audience and in the lower part of the frame are several heads partially blocking the view. The people sit facign the audience with 'The Arts and Soial Change' in a blue panel projected on the wall behind them. The far left of the panel is a woman with dark hair, a man with white hair and glasses is next to her, a slender woman, white-haired and with glasses next to him, an older woman shorter and with short white hair and then on the far right a woman with short dark hair and a red jumper leaning in.

Quite a few brains in this pic!

Wow…what a line up!  (Not so much me…I was honoured to be invited on at the last minute and was so nervous I had to keep gripping my knees under the table to stop them shaking the water glasses.) Ken Loach, the eminent and inspirational film-maker, Maggie Gee, the wonderful novelist and academic in the Chair, Fay Weldon, the ingenious and pioneering novelist and the canny, neuropsychologist, Alison Lee with her razor-sharp observations on the human brain.  We talked, art, social change, the power of character, changing narratives and more. You should have been there!

Ken Loach followed up the second screening of his film, again to a packed house, with an intense and moving Q and A. I have to apologise for a slight haziness about the wider discussion as, by this point, having not eaten all day, I had quickly quaffed a couple of (large) glasses of red wine and stood in the back with a huge grin on my face and not much left between my ears. At one point someone shouted out ‘I AM DANIEL BLAKE’ in rowdy solidarity. Turns out that was me.

Slightly blurry selfie with middle aged woman in grey jacket grinning into the camera and closer is the smiling face, black with a little grey muzzle and brown eyes, of an older labrador/ retriever

Support CULL you lovely people! We need your help!

Luckily Grace, who would have been very disapproving,  was home having supper with my wonderful neighbours, Jenny and Jennie.Thanks all of you who made it! Huge shout out to the Pound Arts Centre Corsham and Bath Spa University. I did talk about CULL, I did talk about UNBOUND. We did go up a percent but keep putting the word out, folks and thank you all so much again!

Comments 2

  1. What a fantastic day. Well done Bath Spa and the Pound for putting it on. I was so glad I came to your workshop. Very moving and uplifting to discover that others feel the same about the world as I do. I am also just beginning to discover the power of writing through a workshop I’ve just done. I’ll be investigating yours, Tanvi, so beware!
    P.s. I’m spreading the word about Cull and can’t wait to be able to read it.

    Lyn

    1. Post
      Author

      Thank you so much Lyn! What wonderful feedback and THANKS for talking loudly about CULl! I think the workshop might have been better as a half day as we all could have got something written to kick us off. I am thinking of running a half or full day workshop on and off just on ‘writing for socail change’ and perhaps organsing a letter writing day at the Pound. Will put any dates etc up on the website. And be great to see you at one of my courses! We are just finishing the spring six weeker and it has been an absolutely blast! Again, when i know dates, I will put ’em on the website! All the very best and hope to see you again soon!

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