A Year of Malaysian Stories

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Despite the disquiet of the pandemic, 2022 was a year when we were fortunate to pilot story development programs. Our creative arm, Cocoon Creative Lab, secured two International Literature Showcase (ILS) Collaboration Fund grants from the UK’s National Centre for Writing and the British Council. 

 

Putting our ideas to the test, we came up with the content and structure for two programs: The 100 Days Project Playwriting Lab and Mentorship (100DP) is an extension of a previous program Adriana had worked on in her personal capacity with two fellow artists. Focusing on developing plays while paying attention to constructive feedback mechanisms, we worked with four Malaysian playwrights over three months and a bit (hence 100 days) to workshop and develop their plays. Mentor playwrights from the UK expanded the scope of our work and added an international dimension to our discussions.

 

Hitting The Pavement (HTP) focuses on compiling narratives and exploring the tensions present in gentrified neighbourhoods. Collaborating with UK artists, we explored Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur while they delved into Peckham in London. By melding topics such as the built environment, official and personal histories, gentrification, migration and colonialism, we sharpened our artistic sensibilities when writing about a complex topic, tackled questions of power relations in society especially within the ambit of colonialism, and of course made art. Our zine titled “Brickfields, We See You” was launched in early 2023 and compiles photo essays, reflective pieces, flash fiction and narrative non-fiction. 

 

Looking back, the ILS grants allowed us to bring our ideas into practice and boosted our capabilities in curation, program design and execution. We look forward to taking our learnings with us as we grow.