A WRITER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME BUT ALSO A COMMUNITY OF ARTISTS
The Amy Johnston Festival took place in Hull July-September 2016. Steve Dearden and Squad grad Katherine Horrex worked with two Project H writers, Lydia Marchant and Astrid Lacroix to explore the real woman behind the legendary aviator.
Sound artist Karen Lauke then turned our writing into sound flights that you can listen to here.
Young at Arts is part of Time to Shine, a six-year programme delivered by Leeds Older People’s Forum and funded through Big Lottery Fund Ageing Better. We put on two workshops giving our grads the opportunity to experience intergenerational working.
Malaika Booker took us charity shopping in Headingley and then led a workshop using the weird collection of stuff we bought to create collaborative stories.
We also did our Film in a Weekend, led by Ben Wilkinson and Matt Rowan Maw. Beginning on a Saturday morning, and using the area round Granary Wharf, we devised, wrote and made two short films, ready for upload by Sunday night.
Humber Mouth is Hull’s distinctive literature festival. During 2014/15 six local writers met with Steve Dearden and two Writing Squad grads – Katherine Horrex who grew up in Hull and Chaz Josephs who came to study and stayed to work. We talked about the city, we walked round the city and we wrote about the city.
The result, published by Wrecking ball Press, is a collage of the city and the surrounding area. The book was launched at the 2015 Humber Mouth, download a PDF version here.
Leeds Indie Food Festival celebrates independent suppliers, makers and food and drink outlets in the city. We collaborated on two flash projects in May 2015. We commissioned five Squad poets to write a poem for one of the five courses on the menu at The Greedy Pig’s Cheese and Swine supper club.
Meanwhile Squad5 grad Ruby Lawrence worked with photographer Luke Hannaford to create Lunchspots an online exploration of where Leeds people eat their lunch.
Having Manchester Literature Festival as the Squad’s partner in the North West gives us a great platform.
In 2014 James Varney and Lenni Sanders were able to share their collaboration Bout Bloody Time at Central Library and in January 2015 we recorded the piece with Fuzzy Jones and ELFM at The Chapel in east Leeds. Before you buy it from Bandcamp you can have a taste of the piece here.
Heads Together use the arts to inspire a creative vision in individuals and communities. Modulate 2014 is a Community Radio Association initiative encouraging community radio stations to explore creative approaches to broadcasting.
Three Squad writers are working with sound artists Ed Heaton, Greta Eatcott and Karen Luke to create Cycle of Sound – new works inspired by the start of the Tour de France in Yorkshire this July.
HSBC are the main sponsor of Manchester Literature Festival, the Squad’s main partner in the North West.
Six Squad writers, led by Jenn Ashworth were writers in residence at their St Ann’s Square branch for In the Bank. They talked to bank staff, poked around behind the scenes and created new work inspired by the environment of a busy city centre operation. We are now talking to MLF and HSBC about how we share the results.
Slung Low have developed a format in which 15 minute plays for voices are performed in front of an audience. The sound effects are done foley-style and the music played live.
Plays by Jessica Stratford, Sophie Ward, Ryan Watson and Hannah Morpeth, developed by Squad3 grad, playwright and BBC Drama’s Jess Brown, were recorded at Holbeck Working Mens Club in Leeds. You can listen to them in PUSH3.
The West Yorkshire Playhouse Transform season is an annual programme that brings together artists to explore new ways of working. This year’s festival takes My Leeds, My City as its theme.
We commissioned photographers Joe Stenson and Lizzie Coombes to work with six Squad writers exploring Leeds and creating new work for the Playhouse foyer and the web.
Sometimes we generate projects without external partners. Usually these come out of residential weekends when we might make a film or work with a group of artists on ‘flash projects’, making work quickly to explore a new medium.
In November ’13 we worked with writers David Gaffney and Gemma Seltzer, web wizard Ross Featherstone of Refresh Interactive in Manchester. You can see the results here under the monitor icons.
The Reading Agency is a charity with a mission to inspire people to read. Its Reading Activists scheme sees young volunteers develop reading and writing events for their peers.
The Writing Squad provided writing workshops to Activists in the North West, and we employed novelist Jenn Ashworth to deliver them in libraries in Wigan and St Helens.
Stanza Stones – in collaboration with Ilkley Literature Festival – saw poems by Simon Armitage, inspired by the landscape of the Pennines, carved into stones to form a permanent poetry trail.
As part of the project Squad writers took part in workshops and performances and contributed to the Stanza Stones Anthology.
ELFM is a community radio station broadcasting and offering training and project acidity in East Leeds.
They broadcast Roses in December the results of a Thinking Radio workshop led by Peter Spafford, you can listen to that here.
In its programme Write Place, writers are invited to explore areas of the city. Squad graduates Beth Crossley, Penny Andrews and Ruby Lawrence were commissioned to write about Wykebeck Woods. You can listen to their work and discussion of the experience here.
Mslexia is the magazine for women who write. A quarterly publication, the magazine features interviews, articles, writing exercises, and new work in all disciplines.
In 2011 Frances Leviston and Daneet Steffans worked with six Writing Squad poets to produce an insert that was distributed in Mslexia. Read the poems here.