Hi! We are Jessica and Marion, Literature and Creative Writing students finishing our third year at UEA, hoping to embark on a community outreach project which will bring creative writing to those who otherwise may not have the opportunity to participate in it.
Recently we both took part in a project with HM Norwich Prison for inmates interested in creative writing. Whilst helping conduct the workshop we found that there was a lot of untapped creativity, that only needed a little cultivation and nurturing to create fantastic pieces of prose and poetry.
During the workshop we met one man who said that he could not mention creative writing freely because other inmates would ridicule him, but that he kept a notebook anyway - he said it had helped him overcome his issues with addiction and psychological trauma. He told us that since he began writing poems he had found this seperate "space", and he no longer felt stuck in destructive behavioral patterns that had lead to him being incarcerated and remaining in the prison system.
More than the aim of creating Good Literature, it was nice to just sit and talk with people we might not usually have the chance to. The men we met all said it had been beneficial for them to meet people from outside of prison. Those experiencing homelessness are living in our towns but are often treated as though they are not there at all, or as if they shouldn't be. With this in mind we would like to create a space for social integration as well as creativity.
We have spent three years with the luxury of being able to sit around all day and do nothing but write. We have had the good fortune to be surrounded by tutors who believe in us and encourage us. On top of this, we have had the opportunity to make connections with others who are interested in writing as much as we are. On the most basic level of this project, we think everyone should be given the opportunity to have a little bit of that.
We are asking for £300 to cover the costs of five workshops. This will cover the room costs, notebooks and pens, a box to keep notebooks in for those who would rather not carry them, and a food shop for the first week's meal (we are hoping to get the rest of our food from a supermarket surplus programme).
Thanks for reading about our project!