Curriculum 2017-03-11T13:36:25+00:00

I AM MY LIFE Move | Workshop Curriculum

I dare to create art from the location of pain and struggle. I expose my wounds to use my experiences as way of teaching, guiding, and mapping new possibilities. – Bell Hooks

Message From the Creator:

Whenever I share my story there is a loud silence in the room. I can tell people are uncomfortable. I can feel the audience’s emotions of surprise, misunderstanding, and concern. Often times they have no idea what my story is, or any idea of what I have been through.

What is challenging about sharing pieces of my life story is that there is no way to prepare for the sometimes-awkward response from the audience. As we move through the workshop the feeling of awkwardness gradually subsides.

One of the goals of I AM MY LIFE is to transform that awkwardness into creative fuel so that we can better understand each other. Throughout the workshop, we learn to understand the power of our whole story, and not let one event—an adversity or a success—define our entire journey (Adichie, 2009). When we all take time to listen and actually embrace each other’s stories, we then are far more likely to make connections and work together more openly and productively. I AM MY LIFE aims to reflect on our lives, creatively and collaboratively. Realizing the power of our stories cultivates local acceptance, inclusivity, and art.

Much of my work is inspired by the teaching of Bell Hooks, who says, “Without the capacity to think critically about our lives, and ourselves none of us would be able to move forward, to change, to grow.”

Completed Workshops

View Completed Workshops and Outcomes

See examples of completed workshops funded by a micro grant from Culture Works.
Completed Workshops

I AM MY LIFE: The MOVE Experience

What is the power of telling your story?

At I AM MY LIFE we believe the power of storytelling breaks down barriers that may exist between various community groups such as the haves and the have nots, gays and straights; men and women; whites and nonwhite, youth and adults; teachers and students, urban youth and suburban youth; the poor and the wealthy; transgender and accepted genders (or gender neutral); parents and children; Southside and Northside, and many other populations of “difference”.

MOVE creates a space for participants to learn how to listen to someone’s story and provides them with the tools needed to become inclusive listeners and, ultimately, effective collaborators. As an inclusive listener, you learn to be an ally for anyone who shares his or her story with you. This will encourage self-expression, which is integral to long-term success.

Sharing our own stories is equally important to how we build inclusive environments in our communities.  MOVE equips participants with the tools to embrace and tell your story in a way that is empathetic, and relatable.

I AM MY LIFE believes that everyone must play a role in promoting acceptance and teaching inclusivity within our own local environments because we all have a story that can teach someone to think differently, be more accepting, and create more success in their personal and professional lives.

Workshop Outline: Exploring different mediums to tell your story.

  1. The Act of Sharing A Story: A member of I AM MY LIFE (typically inclusive speaker, Chaz Barracks) will share his or her story with the audience. This is a guided around five life events that serve as a framework for his or her story. These 5 life moments are translatable to any person’s individual narrative.
  2. The Act of Writing Your Story: Participants are given a series of prompts to begin to craft details about their own life events.  Prompts range from reflecting on what events define the participants’ experiences to identifying what events or individuals have inspired them to make drastic changes in their lives.
  3. The Act of Moving Through Your Story: Facilitator will lead participants on a journey of associating a movement in a self chosen space in the room that reflects each of the 5 life events.
  4. The Act of Collaborative Art: The goal of this final phase is to collectively create a work of art that bridges gaps among various communities, breaks down barriers, and springboards new collaborative possibilities within the group.

For instance, during an I AM MY LIFE MOVE workshop, after participating in steps 1-3, students created an anthology of their stories that the Main-Richmond Public Library has cataloged along with a mural that represents a combined vision of the “book cover” of every participant’s story.

I AM MY LIFE aims to partner with organizations to create inclusive communications. The possibilities of collaborative art through MOVE are endless.

The Components of MOVE

Program components can be modified to meet the goals of an organization.

  1. The Act of Sharing A Story
  2. The Act of Writing Your Story
  3. The Act of Moving Through Your Story
  4. The Act of Collaborative Art

We hope that your organization, program, or educational institution will consider participating in an I AM MY LIFE talk, presentation, or workshop.  Join us in the movement of storytelling—in changing minds, breaking stereotypes, and bonding community members.

Contact Chaz Barracks

Contact I AM MY LIFE Today

Chaz Barracks
Founder and Inclusive Speaker
Written By Chaz Barracks
Advised By: Dr. Patricia Herrera and Dr. Dorothy Holland,
University of Richmond
Contact Chaz Barracks