Paper Nations 2016 – 2018
Paper Nations is a creative writing partnership initiative, championing approaches to the art of writing that are inclusive, playful and exploratory. Growing out of extensive research and consultation with practitioners, the programme as a whole aims to enhance existing creative writing provision in England in a sustainable way.
The partnership is led by Bath Spa University’s TRACE centre (The Research Centre for Transnational Creativity and Education) working in partnership with Bath Spa University’s Creative Writing Faculty and Institute for Education, Bath Festivals, the National Association of Writers in Education, StoryHive and a thriving community of local schools and arts organisations.
During Paper Nations 2016-18 the Bath Festivals Creative Learning department was responsible for 3 strands of work:
1. Developing the Creative Writing Voice: a series of workshop programmes in Primary, Secondary, Special and alternative school contexts
This strand was focused on delivering projects that enabled schools to experience high quality creative writing interventions.
At the beginning of the 3 years, Developing the Creative Writing Voice was a focused around spoken word poetry as a gateway to a range of literary genres to support disadvantaged children and young people to find ways into literacy and allow them to discover their own creative voices.
Over the course of Paper Nations 2015-2018 the projects we delivered expanded from a focus on Spoken Word exploring other genres, but all underpinned by the idea of opening up ways into creative writing and empowering the young people to feel that: ‘I am a writer and my writing is valued’.
Within this strand, 9 projects were delivered, 1066 Children & Young People participated across 149 sessions.
2. Celebration events and engagement opportunities
Over the course of the 3 years Bath Festivals delivered 3 major celebration events alongside numerous other opportunities linked to our festivals which enabled us to spread the word about Paper Nations and most importantly celebrate and encourage children and young people’s writing journeys. From debates and performances to exhibitions and free notebooks we reached over 4300 people getting them writing and communicating the value of writing in children and young people’s lives.
3. Research into the role of Creative Learning/Arts Organisations in the wider Creative Writing Ecology
As Head of Creative Learning at Bath Festivals my job is to produce projects with children and young people related to our 2 festivals: The Bath Festival and Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The projects we deliver take place all year round and use the festivals as a starting point or an opportunity for celebration. The work is focused around the main art forms of our festivals: literature and music.
The projects are varied in scope and approach but underlined with the principles of increasing children and young people’s access to the arts and providing opportunities for them to explore their own creativity and connect with their community. During the Bath Children’s Literature Festival, we produce a Schools Programme delivering over 20 author events to schools from 4 neighbouring counties. We also deliver longer term creative writing projects in schools, for example a 10-week spoken word poetry project in a secondary school culminating in a performance or publication. We run a regular Young Writers Lab, monthly writing sessions on a Saturday.
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