The Finding Voice Facilitation Method


Silk Mantras
Activating The Divine Design For Your Life

an ebook by Sharon Bridgforth

My Finding Voice Facilitation Manuel is published in Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project

tAP Book.jpg
(Artwork by Tonya Engel)

I am proud to announce that our book
Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic
Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project

Edited by Omi Osun Joni L. Jones, Lisa L. Moore, and Sharon Bridgforth
is now available for purchase!!!
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-292-72204-0
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-292-72287-3

For information/or to purchase: CLICK HERE

For more about the Austin Project CLICK HERE

I created the Finding Voice Facilitation Method during the process of working as an interdisciplinary artist, activist, teacher and senior consultant for more than 20 years. I have taught classes, mentored many artists, been mentored, done group facilitation, program management, events curation, fundraising, grant writing, radio and film production, health advocacy, public relations…

Some of my writing exercises are featured in Wingbeats: Exercises and Practice in Poetry Edited by Scott Wiggerman and David Meischen. Dos Gatos Press. 8/1/11.
The book features Sixty-one poetry writing exercises by fifty-eight teaching poets. More HERE.

The Finding Voice Facilitation Method focuses on the PROCESS of writing/Living/Being an artist. The Finding Voice method walks participants through the process of giving voice to the personal:identity-culture-memory-family histories-dreams to articulate and examine the socio-political realities of their lives in a form that is part poetry, part oral history, part performance.

The autobiographical form is classic in Black American or Afro-American literature because it provided an instance in which a writer could be representative, could say, ‘My single solitary and individual life is like the lives of the tribe; it differs in these specific ways, but it is a balanced life because it is both solitary and representative.
Toni Morrison
Rootedness: The Ancestor as Foundation

I have facilitated the Finding Voice Method as part of long term residency programming at institutions around the country including:
Links Hall
The Theatre School at DePaul University
Northwestern University, Performance Studies
allgo (A Texas Statewide Queer People Of Color Organization),
Hamilton College,
Scripps College,
The Austin Project sponsored by The John L. Warfield Center For African And African American Studies , University of Texas, Austin
YWCA Of Greater Austin.

I created and worked as Executive Director of The Finding Voice Radio Show which was funded by the Funding Exchange/The Paul Robeson Fund for Independent Media.

My Work Lives in a theatrical jazz aesthetic

I developed The Finding Voice Facilitation Manual during my time as Anchor Artist for tAP, 2002 – 2009. tAP is produced by Dr. Omi Osun Joni L. Jones through The John L. Warfield Center For African and African American Studies, UT Austin (CAAAS)
tAP Brochure

Finding Voice Is About Virtuosity Improvisation Process Focused Being Present Listening Time Space Witnessing Non-Linear Form Rigor Breath Synchronicity Circular Knowing Transcendence. Prayer. Life. Blood Memory. JAZZ…

A great jazz singer loves the text more than the note
the emphasis is on the text not the note
it’s on telling the story from the heart/a transcendent heart.
You can’t fake that…
Billie Holiday (NPR Jazz Profiles)

While this aesthetic leans heavily on elements of jazz including improvisation, George Lewis’s notion of the Afrological, and “the break,” it also reveals the modern dance idioms, the blues sensibilities, the performance art antecedents, and the ancestral calling that situates a theatrical jazz aesthetic as a distinctive performance genre.


The Austin Project brings a group of women scholars, artists and activists of color and our allies together for a 11 week process. Members meet for 4 hours on Sundays. At the end of the process the group shares their work in a public presentation. I was the Anchor Artist for The Austin Project from 2002 – 2009. I now return annually as a guest artist.

To download a tAP Brochure CLICK HERE

Each year The Austin Project brings guest artists in to do a workshop and present a work in-progress. Guest artists include luminaries such as: Laurie Carlos, Robbie McCauley, Daniel Alexander Jones, Carl Hancock Rux, Sheree Ross and Helga Davis. Plus Dr. Jones offers yoga, movement and Theatre of The Oppressed based exercises to the group. For more on the Austin Project CLICK HERE

Congratulations to the 2010 – 2011 tAP Members:
La’arni Ayuma
Abe Louise Young
Bukola Kpotie
Natalie Goodnow
Jennifer Margulies
Amber Turner
Candace Lopez
Camille DePrang
Surabhi Kukke
Christina Houle
Gwendolyn Ferreti Manjarrez
Francina Nalls-Gentry and
Nnenna Okeke.

2008 – 2009 Austin Project Members:
TAP '08
Standing (L to R)
Guest Artists: Sheree Ross, Samiya Bashir, Stephanie Lang,
Senalka McDonald, Matt Richardson, Dr. Jones,
Kneeling (L to R)
Lidia Marte, Elvia Mendoza, Jacqueline Smith,
Darless Valentine, Czarina Thelen,
(Absent from photo) Julia Smith.

2002 – 2008 tAP members:

Adrienne Baker

Shannon Baley

Rajasvini Bhansali

Tracey Swan Boone

Detine Bowers

Florinda Bryant

Theresa Burke-Garcia

Monique Cortez

Geeta Cowlagi



Amber Feldman

Bianca Flores

Kristen Gerhard

Erica Gonzalez

Virginia Grise

Alyssa Harad

Amanda Johnston

Angela Kariotis

Ana Maurine Lara

Jacqueline Lawton

Gloria Gonzales Lopez

Krissy Mahan

Rosalee Martin

Carole Metellus

Lisa L. Moore

Courtney Morris

Jane Park

Deisi Perez

Jaclyn Pryor

Shia Shabazz

The real power of jazz and the innovation of jazz is that a group of people can come together and create improvised art and can negotiate their agendas with each other and that negotiation is the art. Wynton Marsalis

© Sharon Bridgforth | All Rights Reserved | Photo: Vanessa Vargas | Podcast | Twitter | Facebook | YouTube | Feed