Past Projects

Young Writers’ City began in April 2015. Here’s what we’ve been up to so far…

The Dad? Crew present ‘Dogtown – an exhibition’

From January – May 2016, the Dad? crew- a bunch of teenage skateboarders from Newcastle worked with poet Paul Summers to create an exhibition of skateboarding sonnets,

photos of flips and short films that show you places and faces through a skateboarder’s eyes. The exhibition gave audience a chance to see the tagging, skate tricks and injuries, and to see Newcastle in a totally new way.

210 people visited the exhibition across the weekend of 3-5th June with over 100 coming to launch night to see the young poets perform. Alongside the exhibition, there was live music, spoken word, and a screening of seminal skateboarding documentary, Dogtown and Z-Boys, which tells the story of the group of teenage skaters in 1970s California who formed Z-Boys skate crew and went on to change the history of skateboarding.

The project came about after 16-year old Isaac Goldsbury Murray, from Newcastle, took part in a Young Writers’ City summer project (see the film poem below!). With funding and support from New Writing North and Paul Summers, Isaac pulled together the members of his crew to create the exhibition. The resulting exhibition depicted a world where counter-culture rubs up against authority, but the themes are universal: where well-known city spaces are better known for their skating opportunities

Isaac said: “I didn’t know what to expect when Paul asked if my friends and I would like to be involved in a skate project, I just thought it sounded awesome and messaged all my friends straight away. It was a lot of hard work putting it all together, but it was really fun and I’m happy with the way everything turned out. I’ll definitely continue to write and hopefully work with New Writing North in the future.”

Poet Paul Summers said: “The group are a lovely, passionate, anarchic bunch of young men who already dedicate a lot of time to documenting their skating and their downtime. They have a great eye for a decent image and really eclectic cultural references so it wasn’t difficult to get them to engage with the poetic bit or to get them to think about curating a version of their own lives for the Dogtown show.”

“It felt gratifying having something we’re all so passionate about coming to life.” Will, aged 16

Huge thanks to Tyneside Cinema, Metro Repro and the participants for helping to make such a unique and brilliant exhibition. You can see the full exhibition online here:

Young Writers’ City goes to Newcastle Sixth Form College

Throughout the autumn term at Newcastle Sixth Form College, Young Writers’ City has been working with a group of students and local writer Stevie Ronnie to create five unique booklets.

Working together every Wednesday, writing, rapping, singing and chatting- each of the 26 students in the group produced stacks of creative writing which they then developed and edited ready to go into their debut collection. The group made all the decisions from the pieces that they wanted to submit to the final edit, and the whole group had a go at concrete poetry- creating a booklet of visual poems entitled Quiet.

Colourful book covers, posters and postcards were created, using designs by students Godwin Aniteo, Haleema Bilal-Thompson, Eve Connolly and Louise Richardson. They can now be found all around the building, offering inspiration to get other young writers to pick up a pen and get writing.

Eve Connelly, whose work was used as the book cover/poster for Quiet summed up the experience as “really inspiring. It built up my confidence massively. It’s been great having the chance to build on my skills with a group of some of the most lovely and helpful people I’ve ever worked with, and finally seeing some of my own work in print has made me really proud. I’ll definitely keep up my writing from now on and hopefully this is just the first of many pieces of my original work I will get to see in print one day”.

You can read more about the project in the press article below:

It is an ordinary day at Walbottle Campus

In June 2015, Young Writers’ City took poet Bob Beagrie and graphic designer Mark Warner to Walbottle Campus, and matched them up with a group of young people. Working intensively together over a number of weeks, our inaugural Young Writers City team created a group poem about their everyday lives and experiences. Then they got a bit cheeky, and created slogans on vinyl signs to playfully subvert some of the “motivational wall-art” in Walbottle Campus: “Stop Running” then “Carry on” on the school “rat run” corridor and “What time do you call this?” under the school clock.

The signs were put in place overnight. No one apart from a select few (and senior management!) knew where they’d come from. Students feared spy-cams, surveillance or cult infiltration of the school. Everyone talked about words.

A week later the full poem was unveiled as a permanent feature in the Sixth Form café. The poem was performed by the group, they shared a zine of their work, and gave out postcards and badges to spread the word about the project.

You can read more about the project in the press article below:

Summer taster sessions 2015

Throughout Summer 2015 we had an exciting programme of creative writing activity for young people aged 12-19 years in libraries- and it was all free!

We offered everything from selfie poetry to dark fiction, from scriptwriting to spoken word. All sessions were lead by professional writers.

In Walbottle, a group of young writers worked with poet Paul Summers to produce a film poem about the local areas. They called it Flip-trick.