The second weekend of November saw the Paper Nations team visiting our partner, NAWE, the National Association for Writers in Education, for their annual conference in York. The team ran a number of sessions, presenting research-grounded work to the NAWE community and generating exciting discussions on the writing ecology of the UK.
Seraphima Kennedy, Director of NAWE, began the conference with a reflection on the past three years of work with Paper Nations. “I have loved the openness and dynamism of NAWE’s partnership with Paper Nations.”
The sessions were diverse, ranging from projects concerning underprivileged adults, pedagogy, work in primary schools, climate change and SEN students.
Some key points rose repeatedly over the weekend:
- Drawing from Stuart Maconie, the concept of ‘finding one’s people’, the sense of community that comes from creative writing and the importance of communities coming together to support writing.
- That the over-fixation on spelling, punctuation and grammar can draw the sense of adventure and creativity out of writing.
- The importance of having the time and space in which to be creative.
- The importance of having the freedom to write in any style, any length, any topic, at any pace –silly or serious– which the current education system can stifle.
- Anyone can be a writer and everyone is a writer, even if they don’t want to be a published author.
Also highlighted were the recognised benefits of engaging with creative writing:
- Mental health
- Social and global awareness
- Critical thinking
- Creativity and idea-generation.
Summarising the weekend, Lucy Sweetman, Deputy Director of Paper Nations, reflected, “Together, all of us have started to put creative writing in education on the map.”
Particular thanks to Seraphima Kennedy, The Park Inn, York, and to the delegates who generously offered their time and feedback.