*This project which ran during 2017-18 is now finished *
We were delighted to be awarded an Arts Council England grant for our year-long project to enthuse and infuse Medway with words – through writing and zine-making workshops, live literature events, our writers’ development programme and revamping of our Confluence website and magazine.
Throughout the year we ran 11 Roundabout Nights, giving over 85 established and new writers the chance to perform.
Readers at two special events had the opportunity to perform alongside well-known writers and performers Henry Normal and Atilla the Stockbroker.
We also took our Writer Development Programme writers on several away-days to perform and network at other nights across the country, including the Faversham Literary Festival, Dangerous Poetry in Southend, Something for the Weekend Festival in Gravesend and provided bursaries for the writers to attend the Edinburgh Book Festival, Poetry at the Parsonage at Haworth, Yorkshire, and the launch of Strix magazine in Leeds.
We hosted a weekend writers’ retreat for our Writer Development Programme writers and mentors, which featured intensive workshops in story and performance from Iain Rowan, the director of the Sunderland Literary Festival, and writer and performer Lauren Gauge.
We ran over 80 workshops and training sessions, including one-to-one mentoring sessions for our Writer Development Programme Students, formal and informal training for our editorial team, and open access zine-making workshops, creative writing workshops and Writing for Wellbeing workshops with our charity partner IMHP.
We published 4 issues of the new look Confluence with contributions from 58 writers. Though most of those were from the UK, we also printed submissions from writers in America, Sweden, Japan, France and Germany, discovering writers that we think will be major voices in years to come.
17 new zines were created on our zine-making workshops, and several of our attendees have gone on to make more zines in their on time.
We created a new website.
We have made links with partners UK-wide and have plans to work on future literary projects such as a Confluence podcast.
What attendees said about the project:
“… we are very proud to have been associated with such a beautifully-crafted, well-planned and supportive programme for local writers, which resulted in such high quality experiences, writing and performances.” Medway Council’s Arts Development Officer
“Very good course that led me through the world of zines and opened my mind to the possibilities of how they can be used creatively. I liked the multitude of examples and how we were taken through the process of using the risograph. The tutoring was extremely helpful. I am now looking forward to using this more and more to create future works.” Attendee on our zine-making course
“Thoroughly enjoyable evening. Henry Normal was excellent as were the amateur poets who supported him.” Attendee at Roundabout Nights presents Henry Normal
“Attended both the writing and the zine workshops. So great to see people enjoying creative activities in such a fun and relaxed way. Led by people who are clearly leaders in the artform and also incredibly passionate, even as a beginner I was able to participate fully and really let my creativity flow. Great to see people working individually, developing new skills, but also enjoying being part of a larger group as they did this.” Attendee of creative writing and zine-making courses
“I learnt to accept that my writing was worth the effort. Although I had been published in many places I always suffered from impostor syndrome. I hardly ever submitted any poetry before starting the scheme… To date, I will have had various pieces of work printed in 14 anthologies by the end of the year. And, of course, I would never have thought of standing up to read my work to an audience before.” Writer Development Programme graduate
The project was supported by Medway Council Arts Development Team and the Plant strand of writing workshops and open mics was in partnership with Medway Libraries.