Ekphrasis in Action – An Out-Spoken Masterclass

I have been attempting to vocationally reconcile my love for photography and painting, sketches and imagery with my love of poetic writing and and would be more fitting than to run a masterclass on Ekprhrasis. I’m also in the headspace that art has work to do and I want to see incorporate politically charged with art with writing. Hence, Ekphrasis in Action Poetry challenging metaphors of 21st century visual culture 2016.

The social climate renders pretty much everything political so exploring metaphor in contemporary social, political and cultural visual mediums, how do we as poets use imagery and storytelling to create moments of counter-culture and codify re-imagined culture in our language and poems?

Writing in response to controversial contemporary images, artworks and photo-journalism and through discussion, this session will unpack metaphor and codification in visual culture, interrogating mainstream media narrative in it images and culture creation. The aim is to generate creative writing that is reflective of the poets voice as a social commentator and writer of the century.


(Ekphrasis: Greek:- Ek – Out. Phrasis – Speak. It is a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness. A descriptive work of prose or poetry, a film, or even a photograph may thus highlight through its rhetorical vividness what is happening, or what is shown in, say, any of the visual arts, and in doing so, may enhance – subvert, reframe – the original art and so take on a life of its own through its brilliant description.)

image image


Participants were asked to bring a 1-2 images from mainstream media, and/or politically charged contemporary art (including graff art) and/or from photographic journalism.

The challenge was to follow the art. The art work or photography encouraged the masterclass participants to  explore how they see, to ask them to examine how they observe, critic and put to work their artist’s eye – the physical one and the inner one. The exercises were asking them to ‘re-see’ an image and to let that new perspective stimulate other channels of poetic flow and inspire new ways of engaging with their own writing,  to re-imagine worlds.


I want  to thanks to the Out-Spoken collective for asking me run this session. I think you may have created a beast.

“Zena Edwards delivered a fantastic workshop yesterday on Ekphrasis.” – OutSpokenLndn

I’ve since had a torrent of ideas for more workshops/writing and performance sessions/masterclasses for 2016.

Trying times call for boxing even cleverer – conserving energy, keep the Love, passion and heart at the core but relentlessly pushing back against oppression.

The next Ekphrasis in Action creative writing sessions will be artivist focused – how can poetry and another art medium create  counter-culture, disturb the status quo and ‘get folk ‪#‎woke‬’ and maintain your ‘wokeness’.

In other words, if you’ve ever wanted to write to rehumanise and stay steady in a climate of dehumanisation and destabilisation, I’m on my way to creating a space to facilitate that self empowerment through writing. Anyone interested in this sort of idea let me know!
‪#‎RaisingGame‬ ‪#‎SeekingNewChallenges‬


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