7 January 2021

Bega Valley Shire Library schedules three writing workshops for bushfire survivors

| Sharon Kelley
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Katherine Boland.

Writer and therapeutic arts practitioner Katherine Boland will conduct the ‘Where There’s Smoke’ writing workshops in Bega, Bemboka and Eden. Photo: Supplied.

Bega Valley Shire Library has scheduled three writing workshops for people affected by the Black Summer bushfires in Bega, Bemboka and Eden in January and February.

The ‘Where There’s Smoke’ writing workshops will be led by local author and therapeutic arts practitioner Katherine Boland. The COVID-Safe workshops are an opportunity for people to share their stories in a supportive environment.

“The health benefits of writing about trauma are well documented, with research suggesting that recalling, reflecting and writing can ease the emotional pressure of distressing experiences,” said Ms Boland.

READ ALSO Sharpening the focus on bushfire recovery in Bega

“Writing about a traumatic event can be cathartic and help us gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of what happened. It is an effective tool for leaving something behind and moving forward.

“Giving ourselves the time to write and be creative is both rewarding and healing – a powerful act of recovery itself.”

Ms Boland said sharing our stories with others in a supportive environment provides an opportunity for growth, friendship, validation and learning.

“It was a privilege to listen to the stories of the people from Candelo and Cobargo,” she said.

READ ALSO Comfort and catharsis: Art helps bushfire recovery for Bega Valley youths

“What stood out for me was how we all went through that terrible time together. There is not one person in the Bega Valley who wasn’t affected by the bushfires in some way. We are all survivors, no matter what our experience.”

‘Where There’s Smoke’ writing workshops will be held on Thursday, 14 January, 2021, from 9.30 am to 4 pm at Bega Youth Space; Saturday, 6 February, 2021, from 9.30 am to 4 pm at Bemboka Hall; and Saturday, 20 February, 2021, from 9.30 am to 4 pm at Eden Library.

Ms Boland is a local artist and author who has a Graduate Diploma in Therapeutic Arts Practice from the Melbourne Institute of Experiential and Creative Art Therapy.

Bookings for the COVID-Safe workshops can be made online, or by calling Bega Library on 02 6499 2127.

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