My work with young people
Although I do work with adults as well, the bulk of my project delivery is with young people in both school and youth group settings. The type of projects is extremely varied - all of them will involve creative writing in some capacity, but the output might be a podcast, a collaborative poem, a video or lots of individual stories.
Young Writers' City
For the past four years I have been working as a Project Producer for New Writing North's Young Writers' City programme, which delivers in-classroom and extra curricular creative writing sessions for pupils at inner city schools in the North East. I am based at Excelsior Academy in the West End of Newcastle, a busy and diverse school with a strongly established music and performing arts department.
A producer in this context acts as a conduit between school staff, New Writing North staff and our groups of young people. We bring in at least three different guest writers each term, who specialise in everything from short story writing to rapping, and work with students to create a finished product they are proud of! I attend every session we run, deputise for the guest writer when needed and look after student wellbeing as well as looking out for follow-on opportunities for the young people who show real promise.
'Sometimes It Hurts' Project
Since early 2020 I have also been working with the organisation Changing Relations, who deliver education to schools, businesses and communities, using the arts to transform the way people think about gender stereotypes and relationship behaviours. Their project, Sometimes It Hurts, engages with local artists and young people to co-create a resource on domestic abuse, helping young people learn about what is acceptable and not acceptable in relationships, laying groundwork for their own adult relationships.
As Associate Writer, my role has been to run creative writing and planning sessions with the young people, before transforming their ideas into a collection of six short stories that can be used in schools and social care settings. In late 2022, Changing Relations received Arts Council funding to take one of the six stories, Amy's Story, and develop it into a stage production. As part of this development work I ran follow-on sessions with the original group from Bensham and also a new group of girls based at AYCC in Bishop Auckland. Both groups came together at a residential weekend in March and the stage play is now entering its rehearsal stage with professional actors.
You can find out more about this project, and my other work with young people, in my portfolio.