The Writing Workshop (TWW) was founded in the summer of 2007 by Jessica Foley and Jessamyn Fiore, running until 2010. TWW was catalysed by a shared desire to explore the possibilities of words and text. Members of TWW were keen to push their individual creativity through writing and on into other forms and media, and to learn from each other. TWW recognised that there was a need to facilitate creative exploration through an open forum, with people who shared and enthusiasm and curiosity for words, language and the world around them. Core members of The Writing Workshop were Jessica Foley, Jessamyn Fiore, Áine Ivers, Susan Thomson, Kay Inckle and Neasa Malone.
The workshops were held bi-weekly at the not-for-profit gallery thisisnotashop. An open membership developed through advertising TWW online and by word of mouth. Regular faces returned at each session to share work, to air anxieties and preoccupations, to debate concepts and tackle exercises. The early sessions were led initially by Jessica and Jessamyn. As the sessions progressed other members began to lead sessions. External practitioners were sometimes invited to lead TWW session, including Clay Mcleod Chapman (writer and performer), Wreckio Ensemble (a theatre company from New York), Bernardine Carroll (artist), Séan Lynch (artist) and Kevin Barry (writer).
The Inaugural Writing Workshop Exhibition took place in February 2008 at thisisnotashop. This week long series of self-organised and publicised events included ‘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 and food presented by Kay Inkcle, ‘Voices in an Empty Room’ an atmospheric night of performed poetry, written by Gerry Mcdonnell and 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 and smells of Maple Syrup mingled with memories and written word.
The second season of The Writing Workshop commenced in the summer of 2008, and in November 2008 TWW 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 and 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 and 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 and respond to a live feed of readings and ambient sounds through writing…for some it was inspiring, for others it was oppressive, but for all involved it was a revealing and stimulating exercise.
In 2010 The Writing Workshop exhibited at Union Docs and P.S.1, New York City, and at No Soul for Sale, TATE Modern, London. After a fantastic run, The Writing Workshop gradually disbanded in 2011 – “Nothin’ Changes but the Changes”.