We Are Korean Women and Hansan Sogokju.

We are Korean Women

On Thursday, May 7th we celebrated another #WMLABTALKS event, our inspirational thought-provoking lectures. WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN!

Along with Hye-Rim Kwon, a Korean journalist, we talked tête à tête about how Korean women view their past and face modernity.

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Hye Rim and her friends.

This was our plan for the day and sticked to it quite enough.

Our Schedule Program for the day.

The first thing was the coffee mingle and taste the traditional Spanish tapa pantumaca, a Catalonian breakfast or snack. People loved this simple but tasty Spanish dish.

You might be surprised by the name, “The Spanish FIKA” but there is a sentimental story behind. FIKA was our first #wmlabtalk and we liked very much this unique Swedish coffee break that we wanted to pay tribute to it by named it like that.

After we recharged our batteries it was time to get inspired…

We began our presentation. We talked about women, about Korean women and Korean Women’s greatest achievements. We talked about democracy, gender equality and the increase of women’s power in Korean society.

Important Korean Women

However we wanted not only to celebrate Korean Women’s achievements but to go just a little more further. More than spectators we wanted women to interact and discuss. We intended so to set a female-focused collective dialogue to break down stereotypes and go beyond clichés. It was difficult though, always is.

 

We thought that the only way to do it properly was through a “World Café” dynamic.

The World Café.

According to Wikipedia, the “World Café” is a structured conversational process that fosters an open and intimate discussion and link ideas within a larger group to get access to the “collective intelligence” in the room.

In World Café the focus is on exploring on themes and not on problem-solving and that was what we were after for: to enrich our perspective on Korean Women and give a certain basis for a further intimate reflection.

Small groups of six or seven participants sat around the tables and discussed open-ended questions for a structured amount of time. Individuals switched tables where a “table host” at the new table briefly welcomed people and filled them in on highlights of the earlier discussion.

In this way participants gather a wide range of inputs that help strengthen the ‘ecology’ of the conversation.

The world café session

These were our questions…

Korea has come so far in fifty years, how have women driven that growth?; What are the challenges that women face in Korean society?; What are the challenges that South Korean Women will face in the future?

I think that this World Café was able to deepen the discussion about being a woman in South Korea and maybe widen our viewpoints.

After the World Café, Hye-Rim Kwon taught us about the Sogokju, the Korean 1500 year old beverage and its legend around…

The story of Sogokju. “A long time ago, during the Joseon Dynasty a man who was on his way to Seoul to take a state exam , stopped at a tavern…”

After the storytelling we toasted with Sogokju and we could not find a better closure for our workshop than to read, both in Korean and in English, some excerpts of Simcheongjeon a story of Korean Pansori storytelling tradition.

Hye and I asked people to put on sleep masks… and then, with Simcheongjeon’s own words: we asked people to remove their masks and open their mind and their heart…

Simcheong is a girl whose mother died in childbirth. She cares for her blind father… She is the perfect model of Confucian devotion…We found interested to end with this story and use her “own” words to foster our imagination, forgetting about the story and focusing on the philosophical message.

 

 

 

The Grand Narrative

We are Korean Women WomenlabkoreaI’ve been asked to pass on the following:

*******WOMENLABKOREA is a creative space to test ideas, initiatives, and projects, a space to co-create, to co-design and prototype with other women, a supportive space where risks can be taken.

WOMENLABKOREA is about social innovation, empowerment and entrepreneurship!

The purpose is to help women step out of their comfort zones to improve their lives and the lives of women around them.

Next Thursday, May 7th we are hosting another #WMLABTALK called “We are Korean Women.”

We have conceived of these #WMLABTALKS as events where we can share and understand more about our lives; events to discover more about our wishes and hopes.

We wanted to create a space where women can speak freely and be ready to challenge stereotypes.

Furthermore, we wanted to dedicate a time to celebrate us, to celebrate women’s rhythms and women’s vision of…

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We are Korean Women! Join the conversation!

Next Thursday 7th May, all of us will be Korean Women!.

WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN is a female-focused collective dialogue to challenge stereotypes and clichés about being a woman in South Korea. Korean journalist Hye-Rim Kwon and I will foster reflection on how Korean women view their past and face modernity.

But more than a workshop, WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN will be a celebration!

We are Korean Women

We are Korean Women(3)We will practise yogafit with Uliana Golovko and taste the traditional Spanish tapa pantumaca, a Catalonian breakfast or snack.

Next, we will enjoy a violin recital of Spanish pieces by Korean violin instructor Kang So Eun.

Following the recital, we will begin our presentation and open dialogue. Korea has come so far in fifty years, how have women driven that growth? What are the challenges that women face in Korean society?

We seek to break down stereotypes and go beyond cliches by means of a creative and collaborative dialogue, in which there is not a predetermined answer or solution.

Inspired by the Juanita Brown and David Isaacs’ “World Café” methodology, WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN intends to facilitate open and intimate discussion, focusing on exploring on themes rather than on problem-solving, providing an appropriate environment that encourages everyone’s contribution and allows to connect diverse perspectives.

THE WORLD CAFE: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations That Matter by Juanita Brown and David Isaacs

Then, we will taste and learn about Hansan Sogokju, the 1500 year old beverage with an unique scent and sweet flavor.

Finally we will be captured by Simcheongjeon (심청전), one the stories of Korean Pansori storytelling tradition, officially recognized by UNESCO as an important piece of world culture.prog_14621_1Simcheong is a girl whose mother died in childbirth. She cares for her blind father, with the utmost care, the perfect model of Confucian devotion… [It will be interesting to discuss about this stereotypes in our round table discussions].

“Pansori”, often referred to as Korean Opera, is a type of traditional Korean music.

In “Pansori” two musicians are sharing the spotlight, a singer, named “sorikkun”, and a drummer called ”gosu”. Through his singing, words, and body language, the singer plays the central role while the drummer plays an accompanying role by providing the rhythm and shouting words of encouragement and passion to the performance, which totally reminds me to the Flamenco music in Spain.

In following video you can watch and listen to Jen Shyu, playing the “sorikkun in a representation sponsored by the National Gugak Center in Seoul, South Korea.

The scenes sung here are from “Drifting Along In the Sea” (범피중류) when Simcheong kills herself by jumping into the water in order to regain her father’s sight and “Simbongsa Opens His Eyes” (심봉사 눈 드는 대목) when her father regains his sight. It was recorded in 2013.

In our WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN we will read an excerpt from that final scene, when her father suddenly regains his sight and, like a wave across the earth, all people and even animals recover from blindness and see the bright world…

I want women to see! I want women to regain their self-esteem! There are lots of stereotypes and lots of glass ceilings to break, but the first ones are only in our minds!.

Prepare to be surprised!

If you wish to participate in “We are Korean Women” meeting on Thursday 7th May, please complete this succinct survey http://goo.gl/forms/E6qsPe6mP0 by Wednesday 6th May, to allow us to prepare this meeting with the greatest care.