On behalf of the EACWP, our colleague Harriet Nachtmann from the Vienna Poetry School / sfd (Austria) attended and participated in the annual pedagogical event of the National Association of Writers in Education (UK). The following text is a first hand account of her experience in Durham over the weekend of the 13th of November
During the last symposion of the EACWP, held in Madrid in May 2015, Javier Sagarna and Mariana Torres, EACWP/ Escuela de Escritores, reported from their participation in NAWE’s conference in Bristol in 2014, where an agreement of mutual membership between both associations was established. Various colleagues from the UK participated in the EACWP symposion and NAWE was represented by Paul Munden. In his presentation, he underlined that NAWE was a response to the explosion of creative writing courses in the UK with the aim of supporting and developing an educational community. Currently, NAWE gathers around 500 different Creative Writing programmes and 180 members, including writers, teachers, students, arts advisers, literature workers and librarians (NAWE’s report by director Paul Munden 2015: http://www.nawe.co.uk/about-us/directors-report.html)
The NAWE Annual Conference is the essential UK event for all those involved in the teaching of writing, enabling writers and their colleagues in education (higher education, schools) to share their experience of teaching writing at all levels and to address current issues. The emphasis is on workshop style sessions or discussions.
As an example of the wide range of sessions and topics, here are some of the titles of the conference 2015: Teaching bad writing, Translating Strindberg, Adaptation/ experimentation/ collaboration, Perspectives in prose poetry, Writing and influence, Radio dramas, Social media marketing for writers, The children’s novel, Writing with medical students, Screenwriting for novelists, Dream writing, etc.
In many of the sessions themes like how to build a community of readers, writing techniques, tools for group work were in focus.
Fostering and enhancing collaborations – across various genres, arts branches, institutions – was a significant and very present objective of the conference, thus in the spirit of the NAWE and EACWP mutual membership.
The conference ran from Friday to Sunday, with special guests reading in the evenings after dinner. This year: readings by Sarah Fletcher and James Giddings, two award-winning young poets, talk with Sathnam Sanghera, author and journalist and a reading by Liz Lochhead, renowned Scottish poet.
The conference was a great opportunity to connect and exchange ideas and experience with people of diverse areas in creative writing.
During this weekend the Lumiere Festival of Light took place in Durham which gave the stay a special atmosphere (light was also the theme for National Poetry Day 2015).
This year’s event was directed by Anne Caldwell, NAWE’s Deputy Director, poet and teacher at the University of Bolton and the Open University.
EACWP members at the NAWE conference 2015
Leen van den Berg (Creatief Schrijven, Antwerp), Helena Blakemore (University of East London), Gale Burns (Kingston University, London), Lucian Georgescu (UNATC, Bucharest), Andrea Holland (University of East Anglia, Norwich), Shelag Weeks (Cardiff University), and Harriet Nachtmann (vienna poetry school/sfd) as the official representative of the EACWP.
The NAWE annual conference is open to all EACWP members thanks to the agreement of mutual membership established between both organizations. The next NAWE conference will take place in (Shakespeare’s) Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2016.
Upcoming EACWP symposion & pedagogical conference
September 2016, Turin, organised by Scuola Holden
(scheduled dates to be announced).
Harriet Nachtmann, November 2015.