Loosening Words from the page through our Unbound Series
March 10, 2017
In the North, the tradition of sharing stories through spoken word amplifies our experience of place, the weather, the shifting seasons, the common elements and awe-inspiring surroundings with which we all are so familiar. Story creates a community of place.
Though many of us read to our children when they are young, the practice often falls away as we and they grow older and rely upon ourselves, our phones or our newsfeeds to make sense of the world.
Shared stories round out our experiences and enrich our lives and empower us. It takes time to unspool the meanings and layers of language when words are spoken aloud — time to appreciate the sounds of words, to consider the history they hold, to know the speaker’s intent, and to be present within the context of a crowd listening in shared silence or laughter.
The museum’s Unbound series presents literary readings that honor the traditions of text and story but are not limited to one way of presentation. This creates an experimental framework celebrating the spoken word in all its forms. Offered alongside group activities like printmaking, bookbinding, and writing, words gain new life away from the page, reaching past the individual to create community.
We’ve hosted poetry readings by Sean Hill and Susannah Mishler and combined them with wood block printing with artist Susan Joy Share. We’ve listened to tall tales from mountaineers and written about heartbreak with romance authors. We’ve improvised storytelling with moms, dads and kids and written our hopes and dreams for the future with the Alaska Writing Project. Unbound is just the beginning of the story. Throughout the museum, there’s much more to be written, spoken, performed and created using this dynamic format.
Look for activities related to our Unbound series during select Polar Nights Friday after hours.
— Kirsten Anderson, Deputy Director/Chief Curator