Open City Documentary Festival

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Writing Surgeries with not/nowhere

Areas of interest include English as second language; creative or non-grammatical uses of English; mixes between two languages; text-as-collage; non-cognitive approaches to process; re-considering legibility; new modes of storytelling; theatrical or filmic approaches to text; channelling and writing from different voices. “Any stage of completion” means that abstract, outline, treatment, first draft, second draft, final edits are all welcome. The surgeries will take place on Thursday 9th September at the Festival Hub with Noorafshan Mirza and Daniella Valz Gen.

not/nowhere is an artist workers’ cooperative that programmes workshops, screenings, exhibitions and other events. Their mission is to ensure that local artists who use new media in their work can access film and media equipment, and acquire the training to use these machines creatively. not/nowhere is committed to Black and POC artists exploring new possibilities for owning the means of production and finding sustainability in their practice.

Surgery participation is application based and we envision capacity for 6-8 participants across 2 tutors.


Closing date: 25th August.


About the tutors:

Daniella Valz Gen

Spanish is my mother tongue and English the coat I wear most days. Regardless of language, my relationship to writing is one of tension. My practice takes place in spurts and I often let a verbal stream of consciousness wash over me, unwritten. I tell myself this is ok, healthy even, an exercise of contemplation and discernment.

My work manifests through the mediums of performance, installation, conversation and text, and my background is in journalism, film criticism, art and poetry. I teach expanded approaches to writing in academic contexts, and I monthly hold space for poetic engagement through symbolic language within the container of Sacred Song Tarot. My practice explores Tarot and playing cards as tools for stringing narratives through a sequence of images. Overall, my approach is informed by an interest in that which occurs in the interstices between languages, cultures and value systems with an emphasis on its effects on embodiment. 

Noorafshan Mirza

My writing is mostly visual in the form of filmmaking. I visualize in fragments and love to collage. I both write and think in unstructured sentences. Communication: it is both a struggle and a pleasure to be legible. As an artist of mixed class, caste and racial heritage, I have been on a long journey of decolonising myself, my education, my body, and my intimate relationships. I have simultaneously been unlearning and self-educating. I’m an avid reader of poetry. I get a lot outta music, lyrically, I’m listening to Little Simz, Poly Styrene, & NX Panther. The esoteric, healing and intuitive arts are also a passion of mine. I am Piscean Sun, Capricorn ascendent and my moon is in Libra. I’ve always got a good book or two on me, Lifting the Veil – Ismat Chughtai, Undrowned – Alexis Pauline Gumbs, On Connection – Kae Tempest are keeping me company.

“We invite you to submit a working draft of your text, in any stage of completion for one-to-one tutorials with not/nowhere.”