The Mode Diaries Initiative

Mode Diaries is a collective experience of reflective and creative writing. 

Based on diary-keeping as a form of writing, the Mode Diaries initiative creates a field of interpretative potentialities within the context of maat Mode 2020, a public, experimental and participatory exhibition and activity programme under the motto “Prototyping the museum”. This is the scope that justifies and enables the twisting of the meaning commonly attributed to the term “diary” by transforming what’s individualised into collective, private into public, singular into plural, etc.


Its experimental nature allows to keep open the potential of the activities as the experience develops – a margin of manoeuver that can foster creation. Nonetheless, some purposes are defined from the outset: to interweave writing with the prototyping momentum; to address through writing the areas, themes and topics that the new maat programme evokes; to explore different uses, methods and forms of writing; to mobilise different authors, testing collaborations; to involve the public in a collaborative production of meaning.


The experience develops along two lines, one episodic and the other continual. The first one takes shape in the “Writing Work Units” – a series of workshops and residencies conducted by entities that choose the written word as the main medium (be it publishers or periodicals, theoreticians or researchers) through which they define their positions in different disciplinary fields. The continual mode is carried out via the “Diary of Thoughts” and the “Repertory of Meanings” – two engagement devices designed to explore the expression of subjectivity and its formulation as public utterance. Here, participants and audience are invited to contribute to a collective repository of ideas that potentially serve different uses, whether as raw material for the workshops, or as content for maat ext.

The "Writing Working Units" carried out so far are:

A Flower Amid the Rubble, an online residency by the poet Miguel-Manso, with the special participation of the film director João Manso. A self-imposed written and visual exercise that intends to produce, during the course of a year (from 23 May, 2020 to 22 May, 2021), a joint collection of morning compositions in text and image that follow the same ritual. Ongoing in the Instagram channel @umaflorentreosescombros (texts in Portuguese only).


Writing for a Substantially Altered World, an online climate literature workshop by the magazine It's Freezing in LA! on the theme of Solastalgia, conceived and coordinated by Martha Dillon (editor) and Nina Carter (art director and co-creative director), with the special participations of Aché Atta-Boateng (biologist), Billie Manning (poet), Charlotte Ager (illustrator), Elizabeth Joyce (biologist), Lizzie Roeble (evolutionary biologist), Nicolas Baird (palaeontologist) and Phoebe Nightingale (writer). Developed over three sessions (13, 20 and 27 June, 2020), the activity brought together approximately 30 participants from various parts of the world. Soon, some pieces of writing resulting from the experience will be made available on this website.


Unit of Measurement: One Minute, an online workshop orchestrated by Sofia Gonçalves (graphic designer) and Rui de Almeida Paiva (writer), founders of the publishing house Dois Dias edições, with a special contribution by actor Crista Alfaiate. Also developed over three sessions (11 and 18 July and 5 Spetember, 2020), this experience of very limited access aims to install a time lab, where the possibilities of transformation of that concrete matter will be tested with observation, reading, composition, writing, editing and elocution.

This is an ongoing programme. It is worthwhile to regularly check the event’s page to learn about the monthly initiatives.


mode diaries motiva-me-te


Photo by motiva-me-te.

Text by Nuno Ferreira de Carvalho.