Enter The Dark Room, a sex positive poetry workshop followed by open mic performances – Screen Shot
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Enter The Dark Room, a sex positive poetry workshop followed by open mic performances

You might have noticed how, here at Screen Shot, we’re partial to anything sex positive-related—and for good reasons! So much so, in fact, that we’re here to bring you a very special experience focusing on topics such as kink, erotica, self-love, relationships and more. As one of the ten winners of The Special Event Call Out we launched in partnership with Selina last month, artist and creative writer Sarah Kitteridge and poet facilitator, writer, creative and founder of art organisation Joly Licks, Fausta Joly, have teamed up to bring you The Dark Room: a sex-positive poetry workshop followed by a night of performances inspired by the exact same topics mentioned above.

Ahead of the dreamy evening, which will take place on Wednesday 7 July at Selina’s new Camden location, we spoke to Kitteridge and Joly about what ticket holders should expect, we even managed to get a few exclusives on the amazing creatives who will take part in the event.

To kick things off, The Dark Room will begin with the poetry workshop, which will be led by Kitteridge herself, and followed by an evening of spoken word performances, hosted by Joly Licks. “It will feature performances from Oluwaseun Olayiwola and HENDRA, as well as many more amazing poets!” shared Kitteridge.

The workshop will be aimed at all levels, “there’s no prior writing or performing experience required,” precised Kitteridge. However, if you are a poet and you want to workshop some ideas you’ve been sitting on, then “that’s fantastic too.”

“We will explore the importance of point of view, how to establish a sense of style and look at a variety of materials that might offer attendees some inspiration around the theme. Everyone will have the opportunity to create and perform a completely new stanza, and together we will offer each poet some feedback and ask if they’d like to perform in the open mic later in the evening. Obviously, the theme is love, sex, self-love, sexuality, kink, so we encourage you to come and be respectful of others and be as open with your thoughts and ideas as you feel comfortable to.”

The Dark Room will also feature a display of some beautiful stills showcasing the wonderful performers who’ve worked with indie adult filmmaker Erika Lust. “She is a game-changing entrepreneur in the sex-postive conversation and her work has been hugely inspirational in the creation of this event,” Kitteridge told us.

“The concept of The Dark Room came about organically,” she continued. “I thought about ‘developing’ ideas, instead of photos, especially around a topic such as sexuality, pleasure and love—an area that often has only a few, shallow narratives. It’s important to me that we develop our understanding of intimacy, keep the conversation open and diverse, and poetry feels like an appropriate format to do that.”

While a darkroom is used to process photographic film, make prints and carry out other associated tasks, the term dark room is also used to describe a darkened room, sometimes located in a nightclub or sex club, where sexual activity can take place. For this event, both terminologies seem fitting in their own way. “There’s something magical about the aesthetic of a dark room. It’s kind of a sexy space but there is also something punky-dystopian about it—and I love that. It’s also the place at art schools where people used to hook up. So that’s fun.”

Kitteridge further shared how she always had a “voyeuristic fascination” with love and pleasure. “I enjoy hearing other people’s experiences, perspectives and general philosophical musings around sexuality, pleasure and love. A poetry night feels like the perfect opportunity to do this in a way that’s creative and fun.”

On top of those different creative approaches to this event, Kitteridge explained that she had one final conflict she felt the need to express through The Dark Room, “I’ve been feeling conflicted lately about the sudden surge of interest from big companies pushing their Pride marketing; using other people’s stories, and often struggles with sex and sexuality, to push their own agenda and ultimately sell their product. I’m hoping The Dark Room 2021 will be an antidote to virtue signalling, and offer a space for people to share their stories in a way that’s more respectful, authentic and nuanced.”

When asked how she first got involved in the event, and when she decided to host the evening’s spoken word performance, Licks told us, “Sarah is an amazing creative and so I jumped at the chance when she invited me to co-host The Dark Room. Sexuality, pleasure, love, and self-love arise in my work for two reasons usually: when I’m feeling it or when I could give that side of myself a little top-up. It’s important to not feel shame around these subjects; or project that shame on others. This is what I believe The Dark Room to be all about.”

Enter The Dark Room, a sex positive poetry workshop followed by open mic performances

What should you expect from other performers, I can hear you ask? “Oluwaseun Olayiwola is a queer American choreographer and poet living in London. His work investigates the interior spaces of the body, desire, and blackness. His lexicon, tone and pace conjure images and scenes that will have you drooling and melting into your seats,” shared Licks.

“HENDRA is a Canadian violist, singer, and composer, working with acoustic and electrified viola, and loop pedals. Currently working on her first album, due to be released in 2022. HENDRA’s performances are spell binding, and can carry you away to some of the deepest parts of yourself,” she continued.

Enter The Dark Room, a sex positive poetry workshop followed by open mic performances

Anyone attending will also be invited to perform during The Dark Room’s open mic session, so if you’ve been wanting to test your latest creations on a real-life audience, this is your chance! If you’re ready to perfect your poetry skills with the help of Kitteridge, then grab a ticket here for £8.80 before they’re all gone. If you only wish to attend the evening’s performances, all you need to do is to get a ‘screening’ ticket here, free of charge.

And if you’re not yet fully convinced you’re up for spending an evening in this creative dark room, here’s what Kitteridge has to say to you, “Buy that ticket! It’s going to be a very relaxed, fun evening. There’s zero pressure or expectation. But it could be the inspiration you’ve been looking for. We hope to see you there.”

Animating Eco-Feminist Futures: an event to discover alternative depictions of the natural world

As one of the ten winners of The Special Event Call Out we launched in partnership with Selina last month, Lilith Archive, Climate Crisis Hub, and It’s Freezing in LA! (IFLA!) magazine have teamed up to bring you Animating Eco-Feminist Futures, the perfect event to refresh your ideas of nature through an illustration workshop and screenings of vibrant animated shorts. Ahead of the evening, which will take place on Thursday 1 July at Selina’s new Camden location, we spoke to Zoe Rasbash, co-founder of Lilith Archive, about what tickets holders should expect.

Animating Eco-Feminist Futures: an event to discover alternative depictions of the natural world

“What we watch plays a massive role in determining our relationship with our ecosystem and planetfilm is such an accessible way to learn about the world and share stories,” Rasbash told me when I asked her about Lilith Archive’s creation and where her need for a DIY digital film archive came from. “We became frustrated at how damn difficult it is to access independent films about nature that are produced, directed and filmed by women and non-binary people, particularly those from marginalised communities. When we think of ‘nature films’, we think of the same old formatthe nature documentarywhich often centres on stagnant, patriarchal, white, western narratives that reflect the makeup of the film industry more generally,” she added.

Despite their successes, these types of documentaries have a detrimental impact on the voices of frontline communities, woman and non-binary people, people of colour, disabled people and especially those from the Global South. “Yet at the same time, it is these people who are creating exciting and rebellious waves in environmental filmmaking,” Rasbash points out.

And in case, like me, you never had the chance to explore the inspiring, funny, cinematic, and devastating films which challenge patriarchal, colonial foundations, as well as the aesthetics of environmental filmmaking, Lilith Archive has come to save the day. “We created Lilith Archive as a way to platform the brilliant diversity of nature filmmakers and create an accessible resource for anyone to explore. And in the act of collectivising these films, we hope to support the ongoing efforts to challenge the inequality embedded in the film industry and western climate movement.”

What’s eco-feminism anyway?

Eco-feminism is defined as a philosophical and political theory: a movement that combines ecological concerns with feminist ones, regarding both as resulting from male domination of society. “It worked to connect struggles and see pathways to mutual liberation,” adds Rasbash.

“Here, we’re using it to help us think about how we can centre women and non-binary voices when we imagine a better, fairer, sustainable future. How can it be fun, colourful, vibrant, exciting? Animation frees us from the world we know to create new ones entirely from our heads! What does that world look like if we were to have fun with it?”

What should you expect from Animating Eco-Feminist Futures?

For the event, IFLA! art director Nina Rose Carter and fantastic illustrator Bug Shepherd-Barron will be leading a collective animation workshop drawing on the themes of the films, and guiding all attendees to creatively re-engage with nature. Participants will be guided into illustrating their own individual frames, which will then be brought together in a collective animation produced together.

Animating Eco-Feminist Futures: an event to discover alternative depictions of the natural world

As for Climate Crisis Hub, “they’re leading the way on using creativity to inspire action, with their online film festival in 2020 and recent re-launch of the hub providing access to tonnes of amazing films about climate change from filmmakers across the globe. They’ve been supporting us with essential technical know-how, and providing guidance on film programming and licensing,” explained Rasbash.

Next up, ticket holders will be invited to enjoy a screening of animated short films from emerging femme filmmakers. Speaking about the many ways a topic like nature can be covered, Rasbash said, “The films are about all ‘nature’ in a sense, but what’s exciting is each of the directors bring new and unexplored perspectives around the ‘human-nature’ relationship through brilliantly diverse animation and art styles.”

Of course, everybody’s welcome! “Our aim is to bring together anyone who’s interested in diversifying the climate justice movement and the world of film and animation to make these spheres more accessible, inclusive and diverse for all. We want to encourage individuals who are keen to collaborate, share ideas and learn from viewing and creating cartoons to engage with imagination and creativity as tools to make sense of the word,” she added.

If you feel like you’re ready to do just that, then why don’t you grab a ticket now before they’re all gone? Recalibrate and refresh your ideas of nature through a collective illustration workshop for only £12.10, just get yours here. And if you’re not fully convinced yet, here’s what Rasbash had to say to you, “Come and watch these cartoons, they’re so honestly so cool! Whether you’re big on environmental justice or just really into cartoons, it’s going to be super fun. People can find climate change and environmental conversations boring or overwhelming, whereas animation is a fun way to hear and see new voices and perspectives. You’ll also be able to have a try at animation yourself!”

Who could say no to that, right?