Worming our way to mature students and readers is our Library Coordinator Alia Sinha’s goal of 2015.
Our argument for this proposed new trail is multi fold, but critical to the basis is that for those of us living between the pages of novels and textbooks and other less dangerous texts, is that young people think more deeply. We want to claim that our youth develop a critical engagement with their environment, and with academics, and even find each relevant to the other.
We believe at Bookworm, that such an engagement can be developed by recognizing the power of the stories that permeate our everyday, and the discourses creating them.
So, we took our proposal to geographically proximal schools and institutions and were almost immediately welcomed by Dhemphe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, Panaji. For us, perpetually in evaluative frames of mind, this act of welcome says a number of worthwhile things but for now we will focus on how the space and place mattered in more concrete terms.
As we walked around a seemingly well organised hallway in our quest to find the right room for the workshop, the linearity of space stood out. Neat corridors opening on to green lawns and structured classrooms to the right. Students in rows and lecturer at the front delivering many well prepared and perhaps foundational theories to rows upon rows of students who were ‘ banking’ it all in.
We found a room that could be reorganised and were almost immediately granted access. The workshop – a module made up a textual analysis, applied theater, film studies and creative writing – centered around the dramatic monologue of nineteenth century poet Robert Browning.
The main text – ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ is a twisted narrative of despair, passion and murder: and all in rhyme!
Our first task was to move the chairs away from the space. We opened up a large well in the classroom that in the beginning must have felt like the rabbit hole in Alice’s wonderland. There was wariness and even an articulate comment from Lester who said ” I expected chairs at this workshop!” . Enter – space and place elements in a learning environment.
We proceeded to walk around the classroom, sit in a circle, stand and keep rhythm and meter to drum beats and raise our voices in meaningful readings of poetry from Browning! Will the English Lit students look at this space in the same way again ? We imagine not . Did the place matter, it sure did.