I am always happy to bring the Weigh Your Words project to the Washington International School (WIS), and my experience with the teachers at the annual WISSIT conference has been extremely enriching. So I was thrilled when they asked me to bring the stones to the Project Zero conference (also hosted this year at WIS). Project Zero is the parent organization behind the WISSIT conference, based at the Harvard School of Education, and this meeting had an international scope.
Here are some images from that week, including some deep digging about global and cultural understanding. I am honored to be a part of these meetings – we all learn so much about ourselves.
In early November 2016, Weigh Your Words was part of an interactive, multi-media production at the lovely Josephine Butler Mansion next to Meridian Hill (aka Malcolm X) Park in NW Washington, DC. Chambers of the Heart was a collaborative artistic effort of dancers (through the Word Dance Theater), musicians, and sound and light artists that took the audience through an exploration of the various kinds of love and relationships in performances staged throughout the mansion.
I created a word garden in the conservatory with about 400 words relating to love and relationships for the audience to explore as the performance progressed. The room also had lighting and some decoration to enhance the mood of the space. Some of the words on stones were distributed throughout the mansion as well, so tie in visually with the performances.
Participants were invited to play with the stones, using them as catalysts for love poems and notes (note cards provided) as they processed the performances elsewhere. Sometimes the performers wandered into the word garden and interacted with the stones in character. It was a moving experience, not only because the choreography and atmosphere were pretty intense, but also because the performances took place immediately following the Presidential election and many people arrived with strong emotions and welcomed the opportunity to express themselves, both personally and as members of the larger community.
Here are some images from the word garden in Chambers of the Heart.
And here are some photos of the performances and the larger space.
Weigh Your Words will be part of the Washington International School’s Summer Institute for Teachers (WISSIT) in DC yet again this year. This is the third year the project will be in the library, this time with almost 1,500 stones, including some with new words from the Chambers of the Heart project/performance in November 2016. This is a link to the latest list.
As usual, I have to sort all the stones in advance (comparing the actual stones in the boxes to the current list), looking for duplicates and missing words. So far, so good, but no matter how careful I think I’ve been in the previous venue, something is always missing. So far, the only missing word is “cute”—I trust it will turn up in one of the boxes of words starting with letters later in the alphabet. If not, I have blank stones ready to fill in the missing spots.