Wed 28 Oct 2020
6 – 8pm (GMT)

£6 / £5

About the wORKSHOP

JC Niala, an award-winning writer and researcher, leads this online workshop on starting or sustaining a diary practice in turbulent times.

A diary can be a support during difficult times and an offering to the future. During periods of both peace and conflict, they have been a place of refuge for the people who write in them, later becoming important historical sources - whether or not that is the diarist’s intention. Diaries can be records of the past, and a window into another person's inner world. This combination makes diaries a powerful tool with effects that can travel through time.

Many would-be diarists either find it hard to start a diary practice, or to keep it going. This workshop is an invitation for you to learn how to keep a diary during the upheavals of our current times. With reference to the historical diaries of Ida B Wells, Nelson Mandela and Lena Mukhina, JC Niala will lead a series of guided exercises to equip you with tips on how to begin a diary, and help identify what will keep you going.

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Spaces on this workshop are limited and participants are invited to have their cameras on for the duration of the event, to create a more personal experience. This workshop is particularly aimed at creative practitioners who are interested in supporting their artistic work, finding new ways of creating their own inspiration and archiving their process.


JC Niala

JC Niala is an award-winning author and researcher who writes about African history, books and how to make time to do the things that you love. She has kept a diary since she was 5 years old. When she was 16, she made a video diary that was screened on BBC2, CBS, ABC and various networks around the world.

Her childhood diaries were the basis for a programme entitled Messages to Myself which aired on BBC Radio 4. Although she has since kept her personal diaries out of her public work, she maintains her diary practice. Her first nature writing book A Loveliness of Ladybirds was shortlisted for the Nan Shepherd Prize in 2019 and will be published by Little Toller. In 2017 her novel A Town Like Me was long listed for the MsLexia novel prize. JC also enjoys working across genres combining her poetry with drama and storytelling that she performs in non-traditional settings. www.jcniala.com


The ticket price for this event is £6/5. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. If this ticket price is unaffordable for you please get in touch with Livvy at livvy@autograph-abp.co.uk about free ticketing options.

This event will take place online only. Here’s how to join us:

1) Book a ticket on this webpage, on Eventbrite, or the Facebook event. If you would like to make an additional donation to support Autograph’s arts and learning programmes, you can do this when you purchase your ticket. If you have any accessibility needs you would like us to be aware of, you can tell us on the booking form.

2) We'll send you an email confirmation of your booking.

3) This online event will use Zoom. For the best experience, we recommend using the Zoom app on your computer or mobile device. You can download the free software here. Or, you can access the event through your web browser without a download.

4) On the day of the event, we’ll send you a welcome email with a link to the event on Zoom. You will be able to join for the start of the event at 6pm (GMT).

5) We will encourage participants to have their cameras switched on, to create a more personal experience. The event will not be recorded or shared publicly.

If you have any questions, we’re here to help! Please get in touch.


Autograph's events are popular, and often sell out. If you need to cancel your ticket for any reason, you can receive a refund up to 24 hours before the start of the event. If this ticket price is unaffordable for you please get in touch with Livvy at livvy@autgraph-abp.co.uk about free ticketing options.


Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Images: 1) Heather Agyepong, Too Many Blackamoors, 2015 © the artist. Commissioned by / Courtesy of Autograph, London. 2) JC Niala.