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Penning This Place

Multi-disciplinary artist Bronwyn Preece leads writing workshop that focuses on 'place' on Nov. 3

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Every time Bronwyn Preece goes out on a hike, she captures the experience in a poem.

"It's a creative way of journaling—weave together geographic features, soundbites taken from a conversation on the trail or specifics that happened, and weave them together in new composites after the fact," she says. "It's this hiking diary. Place-based writing has been a main focus of mine."

Preece is sharing that passion in a new workshop called Penning This Place: Writing Whistler's Literary Landscape on Nov. 3.

The day-long session is meant for both people who are "scarred from their Grade 8 poetry class for life" and more established writers alike.

"The hope is that through everything from collage to collaborative processes to some solo site visiting that we'll just co-create a really rich environment for sharing, for laughter, for learning and just a robust, vital opportunity to exchange," Preece says.

In more specific terms, she adds, "Dress for the weather, bring a lunch. Bring your own notebook and your favourite pen or pencil."

The workshop will be outdoors, but the locations where the group travels will depend on the weather and who's in the group. "I work very respectfully with the energy of the group, the make up of the group, the weather of the day and the feelings, the temperature—very literally—and going from there," Preece says. "I have a history of improvisation as a background ... More concretely, though it will likely include a whole variety of different approaches to writing, working site specific (in the) outdoors, some collaborative engagement."

Preece spent the last three decades next to the ocean, most recently on Lasqueti Island. But a year ago, she made the move to Whistler, in part motivated by her love for hiking.

"This feels like home," she says. "It's a new home, one I'm still completely discovering. I feel like eyes-wide-open kind of that fresh excitement. I still feel invited and welcomed and I'm absolutely loving watching the colours of autumn come in."

That attention to detail and interest in the concept of place, combined with her background as a published author, performer and multi-disciplinary artist (she also recently submitted her PhD dissertation in performance), has prompted Preece to explore the ways different people see the same place.

That idea will form the basis for the workshop. "Place is not static, it's not fixed, it's plural," she says. "It invites endless perspectives. It's informed and completely changed and re-created, hopefully in your own experience of it ... I think of myself driving to Whistler for the first time when I was about eight years old, then later in my 20s and now having lived here for a year. How does my look at that mountain change?"

You can unpack those ideas Nov. 3 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. as part of the workshop. Reserve a spot for $60 for Arts Whistler members or $70 for non-members. Learn more at artswhistler.com.

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