On Thursday 3 December, Knowle West Media Centre invited special guest Tanisha Barrett and the wider Bristol community to gather online for a final Project Night of 2020.
Having entered another lockdown and coming into darker, winter months – it felt like a time to take stock, slow down and reflect. As we are spending the vast majority of our days now online, consuming an overload of content, and working and connecting in the digital realm, as well as looking back on the happenings and events in the past year, it felt important to really look at how we can use these digital spaces for care.
After programming and experiencing the workshops of Black Girl Convention’s Virtual 2020 series, where Tanisha Barrett ran a session on ‘Creating Space for Joy,’ I felt fulfilled, nurtured and safe – unlike many previous online experiences.
Taking all of this into account, the KWMC team thought it was necessary to use this space to explore what we can do to ‘find joy in the dark.’
What practices can allow us to feel more nourished; and evolve within ourselves and others?
What is joy?
What kills or steals joy?
How do we make time and space for joy?
What are the barriers in seeking joy?
Tanisha Barrett is a mental health nurse and clinical supervisor. She delivers therapy, runs a private practice and also teaches on diversity and difference. Tanisha is also a published poet and writes about mental health, sexuality, race and body acceptance.
The session started with short introductions asking everyone to describe how they were feeling using a sound or motion. This was followed by a mindfulness meditation activity, where Tanisha invited everyone to close their eyes, and guided us through a short breathing exercise. This really set the tone allowing space to reflect (in smaller breakout groups) and delve into the discussion topics around lockdown and isolation, and various aspects of joy.
Joy is like a place of safety and refuge.
Carefree, relaxed, untouchable in the moment.
Not being heard; feeling you are the only one experiencing something – really helpful to share feelings and feel less alone.
Less sun, less movement.
Feeling of connection.
Music – takes me to another place – headphones to be totally submerged, immersion.
The bath – soap and incense.
For me, joy is being given a chance, to have space to explore, change. It’s being trusted and being able to trust.
Joy is laughing hard, sharing and feeling completely at ease with the company of someone or taking in the wonder and beauty of a natural living thing…
Dissolving your edges; pure warmth and light.
For me it is often whimsical and unexpected.
Feeling carefree and relaxed and content – a real sense, untouchable.
Joy is in my body, warm and in my chest, it’s solid.
Joy to me is being in moments of flow where the heart can flutter and worries subside. The ability to be happy and grateful and hopeful and energised.
The session concluded with everyone showcasing an object that brings them joy – from loving partners to new headphones – finishing with a short poem about Joy by Tanisha Barrett.
Listen back here:
Tanisha Barrett has kindly created and shared these slides as a resource for you to find your ‘joy in the dark.’