By Dounia Bertuccelli
If you’ve ever attended a Families in Global Transition (FIGT) conference, you’ve likely found yourself thinking, I wish I could attend every session! There are so many options and there is always something you’re missing out on. There are also many people who would love to attend the conference, but unfortunately cannot be there. In 2014, however, the Parfitt Pascoe Writing Residency (PPWR) was created to help solve these dilemmas as well as to to give budding writers a chance to hone their craft.
Fulfilling a Dream
The PPWR is named after expat authors, FIGT advocates (honored with FIGT ‘Trailblazer’ awards in 2010) and longtime friends Jo Parfitt and Robin Pascoe. Although the program carries both names, it is created and run by Jo, who is also a publisher, speaker and writers’ mentor.
Jo’s dream was to create a program that would allow more people to have access to the wealth of knowledge and resources presented at the FIGT conferences. She also wanted to provide a platform for new and aspiring expat/ TCK writers to grow their writing career. The creation of the PPWR was the culmination of this dream.
Four writing scholars are selected to attend the conference at a reduced fee in return for writing about the sessions they attend. Before the conference the scholars receive one-on-one mentoring from Jo on writing articles, taking notes and preparing for their writing responsibilities.
The scholars are tasked with covering every session of the conference, conducting interviews with experts in attendance and writing reviews of expat/ TCK related books. They are also expected to publish several blog posts in the months following the conference and be active on social media before, during and after the conference. Completing all of these tasks requires motivation, organization, diligence and a passion for writing.
Creating a Published FIGT Archive
In addition to helping promote FIGT and the scholars, another important aspect of the PPWR is its role in providing an archive of the FIGT conferences.
The articles from the first PPWR were compiled and published in a book (print and e-formats) in February 2015. Insights and Interviews from the 2014 FIGT Conference: The Global Family Redefined benefits FIGT, the scholars and the global community. Readers have a complete coverage of the conference readily available, with excellent resources and information on many facets of the expat, TCK and global life. Furthermore, the book helps support the Pollock Scholarship as 15% of profits from books sales go to the David Pollock Scholarship Fund.
As a 2014 writing scholar, and 2015/ 2016 mentor and editor, I can attest to the benefits of the program and the book. In addition to the benefits for FIGT and the readers, being published in a book is also a great source of pride and career growth for the scholars. The PPWR’s hope in the future is to have enough support to publish a book every year. Until then, however, the articles will be regularly published on the FIGT blog, the scholars’ personal websites and magazines. The FIGT archive can still be created, across a vast online platform.
In the first three years of the program, the scholars have come from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and generations. Each one has their own unique expat/ TCK story and a passion for writing. The PPWR is a program that serves its purpose well, creating great opportunities for the writers and making the FIGT content more accessible to a wider audience.
For more information on the PPWR: www.figt.org/Parfitt-Pascoe-Writing-Residency
Insights and Interviews from the 2014 FIGT Conference: The Global Family Redefined, Summertime Publishing, February 2015
Dounia Bertuccelli is a TCK and freelance writer, editor, photographer and published author. She also co-hosts the monthly twitter chat #TCKchat, writes the #TCKchat column for Among Worlds magazine and is Expat Resource Manager at Global Living Magazine. Currently based in the US, Dounia grew up in France, Australia, Philippines, Mexico, USA and Cyprus, and has studied/lived in the UK, France and USA as an adult. She writes about her experiences growing up as a TCK and adjusting as an ATCK on her blog Next Stop (https://tcknextstop.wordpress.com/).