Offsite October 2022 - Ongoing Free

We Rise: Voice and Survivorship began as a series of workshops led by vocal practitioner Marged Siôn in collaboration with We Rise Hub in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The project explores the possibilities of voice as tool to support women* and non-binary people, who have experienced or are experiencing domestic abuse and gender-based violence.Through different exercises, the group connected with their breath, resonance, body alignment, and imagination, as resources for vocal liberation.

Below are some of the questions that emerged from the project:

  • How do we speak from our hearts?
  • When is telling our stories healing and transformative? And when is it re-traumatising? And how can we create capacity within ourselves to know the difference?
  • How can voicing and sounding together enable us to find strength in collectivity?
  • How might our experiences differ if moving forward we were deeply connected to our intuition and could knowingly voice our needs and our longings?
  • How can working with the voice lead to personal and social transformation?

Following a two year collaborative process, the group created We Rise: Voice and Survivorship, sharing their experiences and exercises with other survivors*, organisers, and practitioners, who are working towards futures free from violence.

This resource draws on voice as an embodiment practice to reclaim voices, reconnect with bodies, and reshape self-perception and storytelling. It addresses the impact of trauma on one’s ability to express needs and desires and offers embodied ways to listen and imagine collective futures.

We Rise: Voice and Survivorship emerged in response to significant cuts to survivor services over the past thirteen years, which have made it harder for women to leave dangerous situations and heal from trauma. The resource advocates for community and survivor-led initiatives, providing a trauma-informed embodiment practice not widely available in public services.

The resource will be launched at the Women’s Museum in Barking on 4 June 2024 at 5:30pm – 8pm, please email elizabethg@serpentinegalleries.org if you would like to attend. This event centres the experiences of women and non-binary people, but is open to all folks and allies.

*We use the term women inclusive of all people who identify as women.

* We are grateful to the words of Sisters Uncut when understanding the use of the term ‘survivor’ in the context of this project:

We use the term ‘survivor’ when referring to those who have experienced or are experiencing violence and abuse, but we know that this language isn’t perfect. We recognise the resourcefulness and resistance of those living with the impacts of violence whether in the present or the past. We acknowledge that not everyone who experiences or has experienced abuse defines themselves as a ‘survivor’, and that society may determine who is allowed to identify as one. We also recognise that not everyone does survive domestic, sexual, gendered, and/or state violence; we remember those who haven’t in our fight.

Voice practitioner

Marged Siôn

Workshop facilitation

Layla Gatens, Elizabeth Graham, Marged Siôn, Meenadchi

Poetry

We Rise, Katherine Acevedo-Aricapa, Jasmine Butterfly, Jessica Searle, Kayleigh Tumber

Editors

We Rise, Katherine Acevedo-Aricapa, Jasmine Butterfly, Layla Gatens, Elizabeth Graham, Marged Siôn, Kayleigh Tumber

Copyediting and Proofreading

Pip Rowson

Design

Elisabeth Klement

Illustration

Sofia Niazi

Voice Advisor

Bernadette O’Brien

 

Thank You

Sonia Boyce, Staci Haines, Prentis Hemphill, Amal Khalaf, Barking & Dagenham Domestic Abuse Commission, Barking Learning Centre, Kristin Linklater, New Town Culture, Jessica Searle, Sisters Uncut, Alex Thorp, Liv Wynter and all those who have shaped this resource.

We Rise: Voice and Survivorship is commissioned by Serpentine Civic Projects.

Contributor Bios

We Rise

We Rise was formed when two survivors of domestic abuse joined up on a domestic abuse panel to influence change in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. The experience was powerful in the sense that our voices were heard and we were given the space to influence and go on to change practice in services like police and social work. We see that as essential in helping to break the cycle of abuse. This gave us the inspiration to set up a safe space for victims and survivors of domestic abuse so their voices could also be heard and they would be empowered to see their goals fulfilled. Our Mission:

  • To provide a safe space for survivors of abuse to work towards improving their lifestyles and general well-being.
  • Our aim is to do this in a way that encourages self-love, confidence and empowerment.
  • Alongside this, we provide advice and signposting in matters such as education, health, employment, benefits and legal matters.
  • We use our life experience and feedback from the groups to influence wider change in the Borough.
Marged Siôn

Marged Siôn is an artist and voice practitioner from Cardiff, Wales. Marged’s work engages in voice as a transformative practice by utilising its healing purposes to experience vocal liberation. Her practice explores survivorship, recovery, transformative healing and the importance of embracing imperfection through process. Marged works and dreams up spaces with those whose voices have been historically silenced to resound collectively for liberated futures. Recent Voice work includes: RAFTS, Radio Ballads, We Rise, Alter Altar, Atlantic Railton, and BBC Proms.

Meenadchi

Meenadchi is a somatic healing practitioner, TEDx speaker, and communications expert whose work centres social change and embodied transformation. Using a blend of Family Constellation Therapy and Non-Violent Communication, Meenadchi supports inquisitive individuals and entrepreneurial changemakers in reconnecting with the intuitive wisdom of your bodies so that we can co-create intergenerational healing by changing the way we speak to ourselves, each other, and the universe. Meenadchi holds a clinical licence in occupational therapy and has historically served communities impacted by gender-based violence, complex trauma, and serious mental illness. She is the author of Decolonizing Non-Violent Communication (Co-Conspirator Press, 2019).

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