Joanne Mulcahy TeachingClasses for summer 2017:


Come to the beautiful Sitka Center for Art and Ecology on the Oregon coast near Lincoln City to write about travel and cross-cultural adventures! I’ll be teaching on August 5-6 with material from a forthcoming book Writing Abroad: A Guide for Travelers (co-authored with Peter Chilson, to be published in October 2017).


“Going Abroad” suggests travel into the unfamiliar, whether we board a plane or explore a neighborhood close to home. Delving into new places and cultures, then writing about the process, can be transformative. In this workshop, we’ll write about our travels and encounters with different people, languages, and landscapes. We’ll work from photographs and memory, exploring literary form, voice, and the ethics of representing other people and cultures. If you’ve not yet embarked on a journey, you’ll learn writing strategies for future adventures. No writing experience is necessary, just a willingness to probe the unknown.

The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology

Saturday and Sunday August 5-6, 2017 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.


To register: https://www.sitkacenter.com/classes/detail.lasso?recid=2505

Background as a teacher: 

I teach creative nonfiction and documentary studies. For nearly thirty years, my base has been the NW Writing Institute of Lewis and Clark College. Through a collaborative relationship between Lewis and Clark and the Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking, I learned how to teach in ways that empowered students to use writing as a tool for thinking. For a decade, I also taught anthropology and gender studies. My second home now is Duke University’s Center for Documentary Studies, where participants in workshops combine varied forms of creative expression – film, radio, and digital storytelling as well as writing. The generous faculty in each of these settings helped me bring together an awareness of social/cultural issues and the craft of writing.

I’ve taught in dozens of other settings, including Oregon and Alaska correctional facilities, The Verbal Arts Centre in Northern Ireland, libraries throughout Oregon, The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, Fishtrap, the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center, and La Universidad Latina de América in Morelia, Mexico.

Some of my students have faced trauma, political and personal, or work with those who have. They teach me how to create a safe environment for writing and giving constructive response. Stories play a powerful role in the healing process. As we shape words, we often reshape lives.

 Please see below for some of my students’ comments.

My workshops include: “Healing and Stories,” “Bearing Witness: Writing and Social Justice,” “Experience into Essay,” “Writing Across Cultures,” among others. For more information, please contact me at mulcahy@lclark.edu.

Students’ comments:

“If I could take a workshop from Joanne every week I would. Her gentle, warm leadership provides the right balance of structure and free-writing to inspire creativity and bring energy to my writing. Her spot-on prompts unlock fresh ideas for the stories I want to tell.”
Cindy Hudson, author of Book by Book: The Complete Guide to Creating Mother-Daughter Book Clubs (Seal Press)
“I have taken as many of Joanne’s writing workshops as I could over the past 10 years. She is a truly gifted teacher, providing the perfect combination of information, excellent prompts, writing time and thoughtful feedback. She manages the class beautifully so that the needs of students at all levels are met. Joanne’s lovely presence brings a very special environment to the classroom, leaving her students feeling fulfilled and inspired. I cannot wait until I can sign up for her next class!”
Ellen Hall Saunders, free-lance writer for The Oregonian and other publications http://www.ellenhallsaunders.com/my-writing/

“I have taken several courses with Joanne Mulcahy over the past few years and she never fails to renew my sense of purpose and commitment to my writing.  Joanne is a masterful guide.  From the very first writing exercise, she establishes trust among the writers, and builds upon that trust to develop a respectful, kind, and open atmosphere.  Joanne is also a perceptive and passionate listener, providing clear and focused advice.  Writers at all levels thrive in this environment.”

Bridgid K. MacSeóin, Duke University Center for Documentary Studies

“Besides being a gifted writer herself and well-grounded academically, Joanne is a generous, supportive and knowledgeable presence in the classroom.  Her sense of humor and upbeat attitude create an atmosphere of fun as well as learning, and she meets each student exactly where that person is in terms of experience and skill level.  When you take a class or workshop from Joanne, you leave as a better and more self-confident writer.”

Leigh Coffey, Documentary Studies Certificate Program, The NW Writing Institute, Lewis and Clark College

“I really appreciate the warm, supportive atmosphere Joanne creates and (to use a counseling term) her “unconditional positive regard” and respect for everyone. She truly has a healing presence.”

Laura Stanley, Graduate Program in Counseling, Documentary Studies Certificate Program, Lewis and Clark College