The University of Arizona Museum of Art and Archive of Visual Arts

Family History Writing Workshop

Cristina Ramírez
Ramona Gonzalez

February 9, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.” – Liam Callanan, Writer

Each of carry within us a memory, a poignant story of a member of our family: mother, grandmother, father, aunt, sister and/or brother. It’s that nagging story or moment in time that won’t let you go. These moments are crying out to be written, recorded and told. Don’t let the story slip into a place of forgetting.

Genetic research has proven that we carry the memories and trauma of our ancestors within our gene sequences. In other words, each of carry within us an ancestral remembering. Cristina D. Ramirez defines ancestral remembering as an ungraspable knowing of who we are in relation to our ancestral past. Writing about our family’s history and family life stories helps us to grasp or tap into the roots of who we are and where we come from. Ironically, these stories can also give us direction in where we are going.

In this family history writing workshop, Ramírez will present her own writing project about her maternal grandmother, Ramona González, who was a published writer in an influential Chicano literary journal in the 1970s, and who wrote the stories of her childhood home – a border barrio in El Paso, Texas. Bridging her own research with the writing workshop, Ramírez will guide workshop attendees in:

  • creative ways to pinpoint the event and memory to write about,
  • basic tips on writing down the moment, event or even glimpse of a memory,
  • starting the group composing the story with writing time,
  • a poetry writing lesson (you will leave with a short poem).

Ramírez is an Associate Professor of English in Rhetoric and Composition and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona. She is a twenty-four year veteran writing teacher, having taught in Texas public schools to university and graduate level classes. Ramírez identifies as a bilingual (Spanish/English) feminist rhetorical recovery scholar, specializing in the recovery of women’s hidden voices. In spring 2017, she received the UA Social Behavioral Sciences Research Fellow award for the family history project she will be presenting in this workshop. Her second and latest book, Mestiza Rhetorics: An Anthology of Mexicana Activism in the Spanish Language Press, 1870-1922, is forthcoming in September 2019 from Southern Illinois University Press.

Writing level: Novice – Intermediate Writers

Bring to the workshop: Pictures, recipes, journals, newspaper clippings, any family item(s)

Entry comes with the cost of admission: $8 for adults; $6.50 for Seniors 65+; and free for Museum members, students with ID, faculty and staff, military personnel, AAM members, visitors with a SNAP card or Tribal ID, and children.