In February this year, First Story invited Y9 students to an Authors Day, as part of a joint initiative with Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature (NUCoL) and the University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections team.
Inspired by the Knowledge is Power exhibition about the history and impact of adult education in the city, the students wrote on the subject of change. They talked about how their world is now, and how they’d like it to be. They then wrote manifestos, plans for positive change, and visions of their own neighbourhoods in twenty years’ time.
The event ended with a showcase of the students’ writing, with passionate performances of pieces expressing hope, defiance, support, mutual acceptance, and a determination to change their lives and their worlds for the better. The event was such a success that some students continued the showcase when the day had ended; Bulwell Academy students put on an impromptu performance of the pieces they didn’t have time to perform as they waited for their coach to collect them.
Pippa Hennessy, Programme & Partnerships Manager for East Midlands said, “The day was an inspiration and I went home with hope in my heart. Despite the struggles of the last few years through the pandemic, and the challenges they face today, these young people have an unshakeable determination to be heard, and to build a better future with their words and their actions.”
Events like these are part of the ongoing opportunities provided by First Story to help young people find their voice as part of the Young Writers Programme, including Summer Residentials and the opportunity to become a Young Ambassador.
The three schools that took part were Bulwell Academy (enrolled on the Young Writers Programme), Bluecoat Beechdale Academy and Nottingham University Samworth Academy. The Authors Day took place on Friday 24 February.
Photos taken on behalf of NUCoL by Tom Morley.