Writing East Midlands is the writer development agency for the region.
We work closely with a range of organizations and partners including CICs, charities, social enterprises, schools, universities, galleries, museums and libraries, to help build strong relationships between writers and their communities.
We provide opportunities for writers at all stages of their careers, including professional development, critical manuscript reads and mentoring, as well as commissions, writing and tutoring opportunities through our flagship Writing Residency programme Write Here, our writing courses at The Writing School, and our children and young people activity, including The Writer’s Den and Young Writers Groups.
At the heart of what we do is a belief that writing and reading enriches the global community. The projects Writing East Midlands delivers and the partnerships we make support a growing internationalism in a region populated by a rich mix of cultures. We were, and continue to be, a key partner in the recent successful Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature bid, and the Nottingham Festival of Literature, which has attracted writers worldwide including Omar El Hazek and Amit Chaudari.
Our flagship Write Here writing residencies places writers within a range of organisations and venues. Our current Write Here for adults is Sanctuary, placing six writers in three cities, Nottingham, Leicester and Derby, delivering three writing residencies that contribute to a culture of welcome and inclusion for refugees, asylum seekers and new arrivals by creating safe spaces for creative expression. Working in partnership with the Cities of Sanctuary and other refugee support groups, the project engages refugees from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in bespoke writer-led spoken word, story¬telling and creative writing activities to enable them to tell their stories, articulate their identities and provide a platform for their creative self-expression. Write Here: Sanctuary aims to explore and articulate what difference creative writing can make to the social inclusion of refugees in the UK, particularly with reference to the impact on the health and well being of vulnerable groups. We hope to better understand the best approach to adopt in working with transient groups, with particular reference to the difficulties such groups face in accessing the arts, and in working with people of mixed countries of origin and cultures.
Built into our delivery, and in particular our Write Here residencies, is a strong seam of skills and knowledge sharing, and sector development. The It’s Our Write Toolkit, for example, is a practical guide to engaging Roma and other EAL (English as an additional language) pupils with creative writing. Available online to download the toolkit was developed by Roma story-teller and writer Richard O’Neill and was commissioned by WEM and The Mighty Creatives after a three year writer residency at Babington Community College and Medway Community Primary School in Leicester.
We provide platforms and opportunities for writers in the region and internationally. Aurora, our annual open Poetry & Short Fiction competition, was launched in 2015 and attracted writers from the UK, New Zealand, USA, Europe and Asia. Our judges were TS Eliot shortlisted poet Pascale Petit and novelist Paul McVeigh. Prizes included cash prizes, Writing School courses and the opportunity to read alongside the judges at a prestigious event in Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature.
Seeking Partnerships With
WEM is looking to work with international partners whose vision supports the work we do. Partners should see the benefits of art, and writing in particular, for social change; this might include challenging perceptions of, for example, migrants, refugees or members of the Traveller community, or provide a platform for writing to be able to address issues of gender, age, disability or race inequality. We are also looking for partners who can bring additional resources to our organization, which might include fundraising support & funding streams, or new skills and knowledge to enhance or expand our delivery.
Purpose of Partnerships
Building on the work we deliver, WEM is developing a creative hub that encourages innovative thinking around challenging and inspiring projects with social engagement and awareness-building at their heart. The partnerships we seek to develop will be central to its development allowing for knowledge, experience and skills transfer as well as opening meaningful conversations across borders, cultures and literatures; projects might include, for example, a cultural exchange for writers.
Director - Henderson Mullin
Marketing Manager - Jacqueline Gabbitas