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Making Words at Watermill

Thu, 01/13/2022 - 10:17
At the Watermill Center
Durell Godfrey

The best words to describe the Hayground School senior learners’ 2022 residency at the Watermill Center may not even be invented yet.

That’s because the students themselves will be working with Ella Engel-Snow, a Sagaponack-based artist, poet, activist, and Hayground alumna herself, to create new words and find ways to share them with the world.

“In these times, we need imagination more than ever,” she said in a statement. “We need to engage with language so that we can communicate effectively, ethically, and honestly. I want to encourage kids, teens, and all of us to imagine beyond what we think is possible.”

The residency is part of Ms. Engel-Snow’s Living Dictionary Project, in which the goal is to invent an accessible language for the communication of social justice and liberation practices. “I don’t know exactly what we will make because it is a co-creating process. The main objective for me is to use word inventing as a path towards accessing our creative wilderness.”

The senior learners, who are between 12 and 14 years old, are taught by Liz Bertsch, who had this to say: “The Living Dictionary she has created is rich, complex, and incredibly accessible to everyone. The students will appreciate the creative project of inventing words alongside Ella in the magical environment of the Watermill Center.”

This year marks the fifth annual residency for Hayground students at the center. Previous programs included puppet-making with Lexy Ho-Tai and flash-fiction and filmmaking with Bran Dougherty-Johnson and Lora Lomuscio.


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