Part of our promotion strategy which over the years and this year has variously included media releases and notices, media interviews, social media promotion with flyers and by other means, direct mailing to select mailing lists including schools, youth workers, past participants, etc., blog posts like this one, ads, psas, etc. etc. By whatever means we can. This post is a copy of a mail sent recently to teachers. Feel free to share.
Encouraging youth creativity is about encouraging self-expression. This can be purely fun and about self-discovery; it can also open a portal to expressing and coping with challenging feelings and experiences. Encouraging youth creativity also promotes mental growth, potentially improving academic performance and emotional maturity. Encouraging youth creativity gives young people an opportunity to try new things, new ways of seeing, new ways of thinking, and new ways of problem solving. The ‘Imagine a Future’ special prize in this year’s Wadadli Pen Challenge, for instance, will create an opportunity to explore the potentials of action or inaction on climate change – the existential challenge of our day – do we survive and how. This may emerge as a dystopian shadowland or a bright sci fi future. Who knows? As small islands, we are on the front lines of climate change; it’s an opportunity for young people to think through what will be the first major battle of their life time, for bad or good. If you are a youth in Barbuda, you have been in the headlines at least since 2017 and hurricane Irma, the trauma of which you may not have fully explored even as you grapple with historical and political realities beyond your understanding, where is your voice in this, what’s your story? ‘The Wa’omani Prize’ is an opportunity to remember that there are no small stories, that every experience matters – from fishing with your dad/mom to being in the path of a storm to end all storms. The Wadadli Pen Challenge is not fixed on a theme – tell any story you want, about anything you want, however you want – but it is Caribbean, simply because we must centre our own imagination in our own stories. Storytelling is an opportunity to explore us. At the same time, it is an opportunity to experience our reality from a different perspective – where did the frigates go when they flew away …from the perspective of a frigate. For people working with young people it’s an opportunity to ask what if… allowing the imagination to zig from reality to fantasy and back again. The 3-strip comic panel is a challenge for those better at expressing themselves using visuals than words because visuals too can tell a full story filled with drama, humor, warmth, etc. Writers and artists can even collaborate for full expression of an idea. The important thing is that they feel the freedom to tell their story and the joy that self-expression can bring.
Hopefully, you’ll see the magic in that and encourage your children to create and submit by February 16th 2020. We urge you to post the flyer(s) at minimum but also to more actively encourage their participation, not just for the opportunity to win the schools book prize for most submissions, nor for the individual prizes they could win, but to encourage their creativity.
For full guidelines and submission form, visit https://wadadlipen.wordpress.com/wadadli-pen-2020
-Wadadli Pen founder coordinator, Joanne C. Hillhouse