The Power of Words


Another Training First for IE: A participant’s view of the recent Certified Interpretive Writer course in Elefsina, Greece
Small wheels of a suitcase bumping along on a hot afternoon. A slightly sleepy mood is backed by an old hotel looking as if it was left here from one of Agatha Christie’s books. Welcome to a beautiful self-contradictory town: Elefsina! Do not search for that typical beach feeling at this seaside. Unbelievable scenery of huge cargo ships on the horizon, a coastline studded with the factory smokestacks, towering industrial cranes, and then a beautiful archaeological site – you feel some kind of poetic atmosphere. Not a bad place for a pilot run of the Certified Interpretive Writer Course! A course focussing on interpretive writing for natural and cultural heritage by Steven Richards-Price and Interpret Europe in partnership with the Heritage Management Organisation, during five days of September 2017. 
The course promised to initiate us into the secrets of written text and useful techniques to grab and hold the visitor’s attention. What should I write about? We all were tired each evening, spun-dry from sweaty weather and the intensity of the work. Great people, an absorbing atmosphere and interesting lectures converged at this place. All in one. The Interpretive Writing Course squeezed out the best from us. The reward afterwards is joy from writing, from every one of our ideas, every phrase we are able to find. In Steven’s engaging and enjoyable presentations and activities we had more than one ‘aha-moment’. Joy in discovering an ‘I-know-how-to-do-it’ feeling. Just like for traffic, we discovered rules for our safety and protection. Keep following them and we will not crash. We learned how to choose the right direction, to understand difficult traffic/ writing situations and to find the right exit from the roundabout/ vicious circle of our own thoughts. 
Practical exercises and theory alternated during the day. Every exercise was both a joy and a challenge. Every battle won pushing us to victory. Litres and litres of black coffee, the tender care of Valya and Eleni and the poetics of Elefsina kept us going. Yes, we were not only sitting in the lecture room, but we wandered around. Each of us searching for our own theme. Information and thoughts were whirling in the air…happy to share and be together. Despite doubts at first, we all agreed that interpretive writing became easier for us. We know how to do it, and, even better, how to do it in an engaging and interesting way now. Thank you, Steven, Valya, Eleni, Isilay, Irina, Lena and Sandy. It was a real pleasure for me to be there with you.  
Lenka Mrázová is the UNESCO Chair of Museology and World Heritage and a fellow at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic. She is a lecturer for museum and heritage professionals and devises educational projects focused on history, intercultural education and active citizenship. Her interest is discovering ways of using history and heritage in learning processes. She can be contacted at: mrazova.l@phil.muni.cz

To cite this article: 
Mrázová, Lenka (2017) ‘The Power of Words’. In Interpret Europe Newsletter 3-2017, 9. 

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