Valentina Acava Mmaka is a prolific published author in Italy. She is has published children's and teens books focusing on multicultural themes, she writes dramas and novels which enlight on the experience of migration, identity, crossing and living between cultures. As a seasoned instructor, Valentina facilitates workshops that offer inspiration in a warm supportive environment.
|Actress Imane Khalil Combes|
This is a short interview i gave introducing my Intercultural Writing Workshop in Italy last year.
QUESTION - Why an Intercultural Writing Workshop and why Writing Across Borders?
ANSWER- We all live in a world where people move and circulate, every day we confront each other with people of different cultures and deal with different issues related to identity. It doesn’t matter if we are travelling or not, if we migrate somewhere , we all have to deal with the migration experience. What I mean to say is that is not just a closed experiences that only some people do, everyone deal with such experience in the daily life. And this leads us to the issue of identity, of what a multicultural society is, of which culture should be considered the leading one , language, culture, national boundaries, roots, etc…
QUESTION - Who’s is the target of this workshop?
ANSWER – Writers of all levels but also readers who have tried once to write something or who never tried but always felt that they could write something. Writing is such a private activity but with a very huge public impact, not everyone feel confident with this public part, writing need to be recognized, to be shared and to be liked or not liked as well. I’m very much interested in building a space where people confront each other exploring through writing their different worlds and visions and how to recognize the multiple within us and around us. Writing is a matter of taking position, words are never neutral, and our vision should not suffocate the imaginary that can lead us to new possible visions on life and on the world. Writing helps us to elaborate our perceptions of the reality in something that allow us to make that same reality more understandable to us and more complete.
QUESTION - You’ve worked with refugees and migrant s in Italy and Kenya as well, how does it work a workshop based on writing in particular situations like the ones refugees have to face?
ANSWER - I was asked this question several times, and at first a writing workshop starts with the idea of breaking the first barrier in such a difficult situation: communication. People who lives in a camp or in a permanent base of first aid barely can communicate with others, they often speak different languages and the feelings about the experience they are living are sometimes very strangely related to the notion of being “friendly”. There’s a sense of conservation that makes communication difficult. The first thing they need is to express themselves, is to let their feelings come out and let other’s know what they have been passing through. The first time I organized such a workshop was a real challenge, how would I have made it to reunite people of different countries to write about their own experience? How would I have translated to them what other writers have wrote about similar experiences in the past and in the present? It was a great revelation for me. There I saw how writing can be the bridge to connect people and the tool to elaborate a common imaginary based on the idea that differencies makes us rich and gives space to the multiple that lives within us. Working with people who live extreme migration experiences gives you the right perspective on how we all related to them. Even the language wasn’t a huge problem and sometimes they mixed their own language and to express things they believed were not translatable into Italian. So the workshop turned to be very much intercultural, cultures were meeting on the same platform and languages were interacting creating new ways of describing feelings, ideas, emotions.
To recieve details, program and to sign up send a mail to valentinammaka(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
You will be send a form where you will sign up your partecpation and answer to a short questionaire