We will produce a package of digitally delivered writing workshops for Cornish school children, to rebuild confidence in writing, to engage imaginations and impact positively on their literacy skills. Through creativity and ingenuity, we’ll support young people to discover, craft and share their unique stories whilst working in partnership with teachers to help meet curriculum needs.
‘It's built up my confidence and made me take on a lot more responsibility with my work’ Secondary pupil
Now, more than ever, the work of The Writers’ Block is necessary for schools in Cornwall – help us bring them inspiration and writing results through digital workshops while physical visits are not possible.
Who are we?
The Writers’ Block has been conceived and constructed by designers and artists as a place of imagination and wonder, and it's delivered by a team of experienced, dynamic, empathetic writers, artists, filmmakers and educators. Our aim is to champion, support, inspire and connect writers from across the community. From fostering a love of books in the very young, running innovative school writing workshops and after school activities, to writers’ groups for teenagers and adults, writing for wellbeing, masterclasses and professional development - we encourage the story-maker in us all.
What are we trying to do?
We’re focusing on children who say, “I can’t write, as I’m scared of getting it wrong”, “I’ve got no ideas”, “I don’t want people to laugh at my thoughts, my feelings”. Children express these worries in ‘normal’ times but with the effects of COVID-19, this has been magnified.
Normally, they’d visit The Writers’ Block, but they can’t. So we’ll go to them by re-creating The Writers’ Block as a downloadable resource. It will be a filmed journey through the space and include writing prompts and creative writing exercises, our ‘imagination firelighters’, along with our inspiring visual stimuli and props. In addition, each school or community organisation will receive in advance a physical package or writers’ inspiration box to arouse participants’ curiosity and engagement. It’ll include items such as a piece of clothing to evoke a character, an unfinished letter for the children to complete, a lost luggage label, a strange artefact … all that can be explored in the classroom.
Also included will be a teacher’s pack of writing and creative exercises for follow up sessions.
We aim to replicate as much of a visit to The Writers’ Block as is digitally possible.
Why is this important?
In these unprecedented times where schools were closed for nearly six months, where the future is the ‘new normal’ but still very uncertain, this package works on screen, in the classroom and at home.
The writing exercises will unlock children’s imaginations through the written word, help with communication skills, and give them confidence in their voice and their ideas. This, as we know from experience, helps their self-assurance in other areas of learning.
This offer is unique. It is being created in response to an identified need in Cornish schools, and is so much more than an online programme. It will bring some of the magic of The Writers' Block into the classroom.
And we know our courses make a difference. By the end of a course:
81% of participants claimed their enjoyment of writing was at a high level (up from 19%)
72% of participants rated their confidence when writing as high (up from 23%)
78% rated their skills in writing as high (up from 13%)
Pupils and teachers said:
‘It has taught me very useful skills in a fun way’ Primary pupil
‘Well I used to think writing was just using a pen but now I know how fun it is’ Primary pupil
‘It has made me proud of my work and want to share’ Secondary pupil
‘Content was great and skillfully delivered - children were captivated and keen to engage and impress.’ Teacher
‘Good to see their willingness to share their writing, especially those that are reluctant’ Teacher.
How will the Crowdfunder donations be spent?
We will use the funding to create this new resource and commission Creative Director and playwright Annamaria Murphy and novelist and educator Wyl Menmuir to craft school-specific bespoke workshops for primary and secondary years. They will work alongside filmmaker Neal Megaw, and visual artist and prop maker, Tony Crosby. The highly experienced Writers’ Block team will manage the process. The workshops will launch in January 2021. Our immediate focus will be on schools in Cornwall where they will be available for free for at least two terms, in particular those in disadvantaged areas. www.thewritersblock.org.uk