Hi, I’m Kathy D’Arcy. I’m a poet, feminist academic and activist and creative writing teacher, and I’m one of the artists working on the Ports, Past and Present project in Pembroke Dock. I’m inviting people in the town to get in touch with me so that I can build a storyscape that people visiting the town can listen to as they walk around. I think that paths and communities are made of stories – and not just the ‘important’ stories that we learn in school, but also the individual stories of every single person – and I want to make a piece of art that is composed of your stories. No story is too small for this project, and I really want to hear from people whose stories haven’t been told as well as people whose stories are central to the larger story of the town of Pembroke Dock and its history.
I had hoped to come to Pembroke Dock this spring and to gather groups of people to bring on ‘writing walks’ around the town, where we would share stories and develop pieces of life writing together, but now I don’t know when I’ll get to visit! So I want to try as hard as I can to ‘walk the streets’ with you, so I’ve come up with the idea of virtual walks: meaning that I video-call you on your smartphone and you take me for a walk around the parts of Pembroke Dock that are related to your story.
There’s no need for any kind of prior experience for this, and I’d love to work with people of all ages, persuasions and walks of life – as many different people as possible! With your permission I’ll record our conversation and weave conversation-fragments into a kind of sound-tapestry with lots of different stories together. Then people walking around Pembroke Dock will be able, when they pass an interesting place, to hear the story or stories of that place and the people who have passed through it.
As a creative writing teacher my main interest is in facilitating people to ‘find their voices’ and tell their stories, and I’ve been doing this work for fifteen years with everyone from four year old children to published authors. As we walk, if you want, we can talk about stories you’d like to write down and I can help and advise you with that in the weeks after our virtual walk. If you want, your written story (or poem, or whatever else you want to write) can then be part of the eventual experience that visitors to Pembroke Dock can access.
I hope that together we can create something that brings a different kind of life into the pathways of Pembroke Dock and that entices curious visitors to spend more time exploring and learning about the town and its communities.
If you’d like to chat about this, please contact me!
You can access the contact page of my website here:
I am also on Twitter @KathyDArcyCork
I would really love to hear from you!
Ports, Past and Present is a project led by University College Cork in partnership with Aberystwyth University, the University of Wales Trinity St David and Wexford County Council examining the cultural heritage of the ports in the Irish sea basin. Funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme.
Image: Walkway and the North East Gun Tower, Pembroke Dock
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Jonathan Thacker – geograph.org.uk/p/5824517