July 16, 2014, by Emma Thorne
Recipe for a Lakeside Literacy Project workshop
Take a classroom of primary school pupils, a handful of University students, and a sprinkling of overworked teachers. Place in an art gallery, blend, and leave to infuse. At this stage, there is the option to add drama, drawing or storytelling games to the mix. After an hour and a half, remove from the gallery and add pencils, crayons and paper. Twenty minutes later, creative writing will be ready for consumption. Finally, separate students from teachers and pupils, wash and dry thoroughly and store carefully for future use.
Of course, there’s no real recipe for engaging kids with writing, or giving students the kind of work experience that will really impact on their future careers. However, the Lakeside Literacy Project can claim to have got some of the ingredients for success.
This academic year 17 University of Nottingham creative writing students devised and led literacy workshops for more than 450 schoolchildren, as part of the Lakeside Literacy Project.
Inspiring children through art
The Lakeside Literacy Project is a unique volunteering experience for UoN students from the School of English and School of Education. Students who take either an undergraduate creative writing module, or who are on the Creative Writing MA course, have the chance to create and run writing workshops for local city primary kids in the University’s Djanogly Art Gallery at Lakeside.
The idea is to offer free literacy sessions to local schools, using the current exhibition in the gallery as inspiration. This year’s student volunteers developed 16 workshops over five separate exhibitions, including Pop art, outsider art, abstract painting, contemporary sculpture and archive material.
As well as helping Nottingham schools, the Lakeside Literacy Project gives students the chance to undertake meaningful work experience that relates directly to their course, and can be accredited via the Advantage Award scheme.
The Lakeside Literacy Project has been running for two years now, and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive to date.
If you’d like to know more, or to get involved next year, please get in touch with Lakeside’s Learning Officer (galleries), Ruth Lewis-Jones on 0115 823 2218, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creative Writing MA alumnus and Lakeside Literacy Project co-ordinator