The creative writing workshop project was set up in 2009 to fulfil a number of aims. In the first instance it was designed to provide a counterpoint to a dominant discourse around the teaching of writing in the secondary English classroom that emphasises product as opposed to process and that values genre and technique above content. The project enables children to write what they want to write, say what they want to say. However, there is also a product at the end of the workshop. The children’s writing is compiled into a book, printed by the University and distributed to the children and a readership they identified. Children contribute to the final product if they wish.
The children have chosen to write stories and poems in the main. They have often illustrated their writing, designed the covers and chose the titles.
Many have given permission for Dr Kay Fuller to use their writing for her ongoing research into children’s writing.
Workshops have taken place so far in three local schools: Selly Park Technology College for Girls; Lordswood Girls' School and Specialist Centre for Media Arts; and Great Barr School. The children at Selly Park have received favourable responses from Benjamin Zephaniah and Jacqueline Wilson for their writing about recycling (a school choice).
The children at Lordswood Girls received a letter from The Queen in appreciation for their book by ’30 Young Writers’, as well as a letter from a local library.
The project is planned to continue until 2014.