Our education work
Examples of our education projects include The Secrets of Sunderland, which encouraged children in Sunderland schools to write about places of interest in Sunderland such as the museum and winter gardens, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, and the National Glass Centre, as well as about their own streets and backyards, or the myths and legends of Sunderland. Children then worked with photographers, illustrators, glass artists and sculptors to create billboard posters which were exhibited within the community, a sculpture garden for their school, an exhibition of original glass mobiles at the National Glass Centre, and a series of posters and postcards which were exhibited and sold at The Wetlands and Wildfowl Trust.
We are interested in working with individual schools too. At Peases West Primary School in Crook, County Durham, playwright Carina Rodney was writer-in-residence over an 18-month period, working with pupils, teachers, and many parents during her time there. The children wrote the school play with her, she set up a parent and pupil after-school club which became the coolest thing in the school to be involved with, and after it was all over she even became a governor of the school. And at Seaham High School, a scriptwriter and director made two short films with pupils.
We can also work with schools on a short-term basis. A recent project has involved a school buying a writer’s services for four days; during that time, she is planning lessons with the literacy coordinator, leading a lunchtime writing club, delivering a writing workshop for all staff from the school and from other partner schools in the area, and working with each of the teachers after the inset to team teach creative writing workshops.
Work with teachers
In September 2008 we developed a partnership with Newcastle University and Newcastle City Council to deliver Even Better Writers. With funding from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the project looked at how writers could impact on the pedagogy of creative writing in schools. (For a full report on this project, see below)
We are currently leading the North East pilot of Well Versed, a project funded by Arts Council England’s Thrive programme with Creativity, Culture and Education as the lead national partner. The North East pilot aims to impact on the pedagogy of poetry in schools by developing teachers' own creating writing practice and by encouraging teachers to work with writers to develop their creative writing teaching. Well Versed North East consists of:
* The development and delivery of Creative Writing in The Classroom, a postgraduate certificate for teachers (See www.newwritingnorth.com/text.html?id=creativeteachers)
* A poet development programme, intended to train accomplished poets who are interested in working in schools, by encouraging them to understand poetry’s current role in a complex, diverse and demanding curriculum and understand its potential role by working with and alongside teachers
* Well Versed will form the field of study for Caroline Murphy’s PhD studentship, shared between Northumbria University and New Writing North, which is focused around the pedagogy of poetry in schools (See Research section)