I had the privilege of working with some great young people at Horse Carrs next door to Falinge Park High School. A group of young people from Falling were joined by students, and staff, from three other schools:
St. Ambrose Barlow, Swinton
Abraham Moss, Manchester North
The Derby High School, Bury
The session was part of the joint “Recall Project” funded by the excellent Ideas Foundation. With the aim of helping to develop learner’s understanding of poetry from the GCSE Anthology they took part in a physical/dance session with CantDanceCan and a creative poetry session with myself.
With a surprise burst of snow in the morning there were travel delays from some schools and the first session was shorter than planned. In spite of this a group of around 20 young people listened to a little poetry and advice about writing before getting stuck in to creating some brand new work the their own with topics ranging from sport to family and the challenging topic of bullying. The short time left a number of the students with unfinished poems and little chance to memorise and perform their work but everyone had the basis of some really interesting writing. The degree of enthusiasm and also the willingness of all of these young people to ask for help, discuss options and then act on them really was inspiring.
It was also a lovely surprise to find the when some of our street-wise young people with all the modern language and mannerisms go off to “chill” in Falinge Park with their mates they chat about stuff that matters to them and they still play cops and robbers like so many generations before them.
While I worked with one group of students the other half worked on physical interpretations of the GCSE poems with CantDanceCan. After a brief break the two groups swapped over and the second workshops began.
The young people from all of the schools were superb and in as little as 75 minutes we had poems produced on topics ranging from travel to the importance of family, discrimination and personal stories of overcoming adversity. Some of the young people were even able to perform their new work from memory while the less confident had the chance to have their work read to the group.
As always working with young people, enabling them to express themselves in new ways, building confidence to think and talk about issues, led to a rewarding and inspirational experience.
Enormous thanks to Falinge Park High School, and Simon De Courcey in particular, for inviting me to run the poetry sessions.
I’ll post further links with images and perhaps some samples of the work created once the school has edited video and images from the morning.