We are developing a model with self-expression through stories and creative writing at its heart: a powerful tool for community building and supporting marginalised groups.
We co-create activities and courses with groups who are marginalised, at risk, or experiencing life challenges. This way, the communities we work with have a role in designing how they use creative expression through words and what they want to learn and produce. Our initial phase focuses on three places in our region: Exeter, Torbay and Plymouth. There, we are developing a model, which we can locate in other priority places around the South West in coming years.
We began this work through the Quay Words live literature programme in Exeter: www.exetercustomhouse.org.uk. There, we have created community writing courses in partnership with Resilient Women and Interwoven Production CIC. Our lead practitioner working with Resilient Women was writer and performer, Jackie Juno, who focused with the women on writing as a wellbeing tool for facing challenges in life. Their feedback has been amazing and participants have gone on to continue writing and participating in the other, publicly bookable elements of Quay Words. Here is some feedback –
‘The women have absolutely loved it. We really appreciate the funding that led to this opportunity too so thank you … To be able to participate in such quality creative experiences is just so fantastic’ Jeanie, Resilient Women Programme Manager.
We’re currently working with Interwoven Productions CIC on community writing courses at Exeter Custom House. Local people are using oral history and hyper local heritage to inspire to create and tell stories about their own communities and personal history.
We secured funding to work in 2022 with community groups in Plymouth and in Torbay. In Plymouth we are delivering in partnership with participatory arts experts, Take A Part. Our next step together will be to facilitate a creative writing issue of the Echoes from Coxside community newspaper, which Literature Works first supported through our Annual Fund in 2020. In Torbay, we will be working across a range of organisations which support people and groups in recovery.