TRIGGER WARNING: This episode of Creativity Talks discusses childhood sexual abuse and trauma.

In Episode 3 of Creativity Talks, Fred Kiernan talks with Donna Lyon, the creator of the innovative Left / Write // Hook workshops, which combine boxing and writing as a way of supporting the wellbeing of survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma. They are joined by Pixie and Lauren, two of the workshop participants.

In Part 1, we meet Donna, Pixie and Lauren, and we hear about how Donna's idea for the workshops took shape, and how Pixie and Lauren became involved.

Click the little orange play-button to listen:

Donna discussed why the sense of community in the workshop group was so important, and she shared a screenshot of the group chat, where members can communicate with one another:

In Part 2 of the discussion, Donna discussed in more detail what the participants actually do during each workshop, and how the workshop program is structured:

WOLF GIRL by Khale McHurst (May 2013) from www.khalemchurst.com

Donna also suggested that listeners might be interested in the work of Melbourne-based writer and comic book artist Khale McHurst, whose work touches on several of the same themes as the Left / Write // Hook workshops. Another trigger warning is appropriate here, as Khale's work discusses self-harm, eating disorders, sexual violence/rape, attempted suicide, and mental health issues.

Check out Khale's work at https://www.khalemchurst.com/

In Part 3 of the episode, Pixie talks about what it's like to participate in the Left / Write // Hook workshops, and she explains why she finds the combination of writing and boxing to be so beneficial.

In Part 4, Lauren discusses her experience of participating in the workshops, and how they have helped her process her trauma.

Part 5 of the discussion contains some concluding reflections from Donna, Pixie and Lauren about the Left / Write // Hook workshops, and the everyday, ongoing work of being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

For more about the Left / Write // Hook workshops and its related projects, you can check out the Left / Write // Hook blog, and especially this post. You can also read the blog post Donna wrote for us here at CAWRI.

And Donna, with a team of other researchers, has also co-authored a study recently published in the International Journal of Wellbeing about the workshops.

Interested listeners might also like to check out the work of Bri Lee, whose books Beauty and especially Eggshell Skull (2018) address some of the themes this podcast episode touches on.

Lauren also recommended this book by Lucia Osborne-Crowley, I Choose Elena, which she says taught her a lot about the impacts of trauma on the body.

Thank you Donna, Pixie and Lauren, for your powerful words and for sharing your stories.

Frederic Kiernan is a Research Fellow and Academic Convenor of the Creativity and Wellbeing Hallmark Research Initiative (CAWRI) at the University of Melbourne.