What makes you happy? Activity for all ages at the Galafield in Newbiggin Hall.
My work with schools and young people focuses on reading and writing for wellbeing and enjoyment. I’m also interested in encouraging children to take risks and experiment with their writing and to not be scared of making mistakes or producing a messy first draft. My aim for all sessions is to make them fun, interactive, encouraging, inspiring, and motivating.
I can provide workshops or assemblies on any writing related subject and I can adapt workshops to meet the needs of different age groups or classes. Here are some examples of the kind of workshop I can offer:
- Keeping a writer’s notebook – learning how to use a writer’s notebook to generate, record and plan creative ideas (notebooks included).
- Picture This – exploring how creating and viewing visual art can inspire writing. This can be combined with a gallery visit if required.
- Observation Walks – getting out of the classroom to explore and take notice of the local area and see how it can inspire fictional stories (this can also be done within the school grounds or building).
- How to find ideas – looking at different ways to get ideas including from real life experiences and by using simple writing prompts.
- Magical Maps – exploring how drawing maps can inspire fiction and memoir.
- How to be a writer (KS2-KS4) – focusing on the practical aspects of how to be a writer such as submitting work for publication with lots of time for questions. I can also do a question-and-answer session about my work as a writer for younger age groups.
- What I Like – exploring personal interests and obsessions and how we can use these to inspire stories and poetry.
- Poetry – I’ve found that blackout or cut up poems and trying less common poetic forms work particularly well with all age groups.
- Crazy Creatures (reception/KS1) – looking at different ways to create magical/strange characters including collage and animal name mash-ups.
- Mini Books (reception/KS1) – making and decorating mini concertina books.
- CPD for teachers on creativity in the classroom (or any other topic required).
Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss ideas and prices for your own school or organisation.
I’ve worked with children and young people of all ages in schools and other venues and have an enhanced DBS certificate and public liability insurance. I’m also a professional member of the National Association of Writers in Education.
Here’s a list of my current and previous work with children and young people:
Hexham Young Writers. Since 2022, I’ve been working for the Hexham Book Festival and the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre to deliver a series of courses and workshops for young writers in Hexham. I ran a group for ages 14-20 between October 2022-May 2023 and a drop-in creative writing taster session for ages 9+ as part of the Hexham Book Festival in April 2023. I’m currently running a fortnightly group for ages 11-13 – for more details please see the Queen’s Hall website.
Biscuit Factory Little Biscuits Workshops. I’m currently working with the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle upon Tyne to deliver workshops for children aged 8-14 as part of their Little Biscuits Children’s Art Workshops programme. These are a Story Drawing workshop in August 2023 which will explore how creating and looking at art can inspire interesting and imaginative stories and a Spooky Stories workshop on writing Halloween themed stories in October 2023.
New Writing North Young Writers Programme. I’ve worked with New Writing North on their programme for young writers aged 12-25, most recently at a session of the Gateshead Young Writers Group. In 2017, I was lead writer for the Durham Cuckoo Young Writers group (you can see a blog post I wrote about this group and flash fiction here) and also delivered workshops on short fiction for the Young Writers City programme in 2015.
Artist Practitioner for Paul Hamlyn Teacher Development Fund MaGPiE Project with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (2019-2021). The project involved working in collaboration with a visual artist, museum staff, researchers, and teachers in order to support the delivery of effective arts-based teaching in the primary classroom. My role included designing and delivering CPD for teachers, delivering creative activities in schools, and producing learning resources for teachers on how to use museum exhibits to prompt creative writing (you can see some of these resources here). You can also watch me talking about my writing during the project here.
Newburn Manor Primary School. In March 2022, I delivered a series of three workshops with a KS2 class at Newburn Manor Primary School which looked at how to take notice of and write about the local area as well as looking at how to use this real-life experience to create fiction.
Galafield Youth Centre Family Fun Day Drop-in. In December 2022, I delivered writing activities for children and adults attending a drop-in day at the Galafield Youth Centre in Newbiggin Hall. The activities – happiness hearts and mini books – were designed to be suitable for all ages, including pre-school children and toddlers.
SEAM exhibition at Newcastle Mining Institute In 2018, as part of a series of writing workshops that helped visitors to respond creatively to an exhibition about the (June-August 2018), I worked with a group of KS1 children who wrote a communal poem on the theme of ‘light’ (using a Mining Lamp from the exhibition as a prompt).
‘Postcard Stories’ at the Great Exhibition of the North. In 2018, I ran a stall at the Great Exhibition of the North Family Expo to encourage children and young people to write and read flash fiction. Read more about this here.
Lit and Phil Young Writers Awards Mentor. In 2015, I was a mentor for the Lit and Phil Young Writers Awards. I worked with pupils from Seaton Burn College to encourage and support them to participate in the competition, including by running workshops at the college and the Lit and Phil to generate new writing.