“In 22 Years I Have Never Seen Anything Quite Like It”

When musician, writer and performer Lois Walden visited an inner city London school to engage with 24 shy and introverted students, Karen Sullivan was uncertain about the impact she would have. But the experience left her – and the students –mesmerised.

A small group of 24 students is gathered in the library at George Green’s School on the Isle of Dogs. After a period of fiddling with hair, averted gazes, rustling and whispering, their attention is caught by the tiny, tousle-haired American woman in the centre of the room.

Her energy is dynamic and pervasive, and she is asking them to provide her with a definition of feeling.

She is, one by one, asking them to tell her their stories – not a précis of their family structure and interests, but the story of their emotions, their dreams, what they are feeling right now. Here. And, one by one, they open up to her, and begin to reveal little glimpses of fear, angst, pride, aspiration, anger, frustration and hope – little glimpses of what’s inside.

She encourages them to reach up their hands – grasp at something intangible, a dream perhaps. They all comply. I am a little bit amazed.

The woman is Lois Walden, who is over from the USA to promote her book Afterworld. I mention this here, because it is pivotal to the workshop she is undertaking. Lois was a founding member of Sisters of Glory, who opened Woodstock and played at the Vatican. She’s a musician, a composer, a writer, a performer and a teaching artist. READ MORE

 

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