Creative Future has been generously supported by The Baring Foundation’s Creatively Minded and Ethnically Diverse strand for our IMPART project–a year-long training, development, mentoring, and workshop programme for Black, Asian and ethnically diverse writers with mental health issues.
We aim to address the key issues for writers who face barriers to working as creative writing tutors by:
- Identifying and providing training for six emerging writers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds with mental health issues to develop skills, confidence and experience in teaching creative writing
- Creating a peer support network of these writers
- Matching these writers with mentor/trainers who are experienced creative writing tutors from the same backgrounds
- Together, the trainee/mentees and trainer/mentors will co-design and co-produce 8x 2 hour workshops for underrepresented writers
- Provide relevant Zoom masterclasses (e.g. specific teaching aspects, working with underrepresented people, ensuring accessibility)
- Increase the size and diversity of the pool of regional creative writing tutors, for Creative Future’s future workshop programmes as well as others in CF’s partner networks
We have been working in partnership with Writing Our Legacy to select the writers and match them with mentors, and are pleased to announce the selected writers:
Georgina Aboud is of Lebanese and Anglo-Irish heritage. She lives in Brighton, where she works as a freelance writer. Much of her working life has been spent in international development focusing on gender, climate change and food security. Through this work and others, Georgina has been lucky enough to work all over the world including observing elections in Kosovo and Ukraine, collaborating with forest and mountain communities in India and Colombia, working on briefing papers in Bangladesh as well as pulling pints in Peru. Georgina has also worked as a carer, a TV and film extra and a dog sitter. Georgina was published under Creative Future’s Spotlight Books imprint. She is currently working on a novel and a collection of poems. Georgina will be mentored by Akila Richards.
Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Susan Hunter Downer moved to Nottingham to study, to London to work, and to Sheffield to live. She writes scripts, short stories, blogs, and poetry, and is a member of the editorial board of Short Fiction Journal. She won the Creative Future Platinum Prose Award in 2019, and she will serve as a shortlist judge for the 2022 Awards. She is currently working on her first novel, and her poetry will be included in an anthology in 2022. When she's not working, she enjoys walking, talking, and eating things that neither walk nor talk. Susan will be working with Yvonne Battle-Felton.
Tamara Gordon has been making documentaries and films for over twenty years for the BBC and Channel 4. Her focus has been on getting under and misrepresented voices into the mainstream media on their own terms, focusing on issues of race, belonging, mental health and identity. Most of her films been of her own volition and reflect her personal journey as a transracial adoptee. Throughout she has focused on models for therapeutic storytelling, inspired by South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She has taken this into working with actors using a mixture of fiction and documentary. Her films have won eight international awards. Tamara will be mentored by Rikki Tarascas.
Josephine Hall is a writer and artist, currently based in Brighton. She works primarily with words, but enjoys experimenting with other artforms and collaborating with artists and musicians. Josephine writes poetry, life writing, articles, essays, songs and has recently started writing her first novel. Her creative work tends to explore themes such as belonging, journeying, healing, connecting with nature and the Black/mixed-race experience. She endeavours to make work that is honest, accessible and amplifies marginalised voices, particularly those from the global majority. Find out more and see some work at www.josephinehall.org. Josephine will be mentored by Katy Massey.
Jess Murrain is an interdisciplinary creative, working mainly in theatre, film and live performance. She is co-founder of Theatre with Legs, an experimental performance making company. Her poetry has appeared in Perverse, Powers Press, Queerlings, Tentacular and Under the Radar. She won this year's Ledbury Poetry Competition and the 2021 Silver Poetry CF Writers’ Award. She is also a member of the Southbank Centre’s New Poets Collective. Her debut One Woman-Horse Show is forthcoming with Bad Betty Press. Jess will be working with Gboyega Odubanjo.
Saira Niazi is a writer, poet and renegade guide. Over the years, she has worked on various writing projects and self-published several books. Her latest book, On Belonging, Reflections of a Regenade Guide, explores ways in which spaces can connect us to ourselves and to each other. Saira will be working with Denise Saul.
Since 2020 we have been committed to our national workshop programme being facilitated by past CF Writers’ Award winners. In putting a call out to them, we found there were many who were interested in the opportunity but lacked teaching experience. It was also clear that confidence and affirmation of their identity as writers is also an issue, something we see consistently in our work with underrepresented people. This was particularly true for past winners from ethnically diverse backgrounds, as well as those with mental health issues—and especially those from both backgrounds.
Finally, we have not found any easily accessible creative writing teaching training programmes, likely because this experience is usually gained in Master’s programmes—something most of our writers lack the resources, confidence or time to undertake. As teaching is a key form of cultural employment for writers, this barrier needs breaking down.
As we move towards the recovery phase of the pandemic, we are also aware of the disproportionate impact it has had on ethnically diverse communities, as well as on mental health. The cultural sector as a whole has experienced an enormous downturn and there is a greater need than ever to upskill those most excluded from it to access even more competitive opportunities, as well as ensure wider access for those who would most benefit from the chance for self-expression.
About Writing Our Legacy
Writing Our Legacy CIC is an arts and heritage organisation that enables Black, Asian, and ethnically diverse people to tell their story through writing and the creative arts. We were established in 2012. We give writers and other creatives a platform and community to feel supported, nurtured and evolve their work through the creative pipeline, from start to publication. We share stories and heritage of diaspora communities and bring them to life through various art forms for audiences to learn and take part in cultural heritage.
We employ MOSAIC’s definition of Black to be ‘Black people’ and ‘mixed-parentage people’ including all those people whose ancestral origins are African, Asian, Caribbean, Chinese, Middle Eastern, North African, Romany, the indigenous peoples of the South Pacific islands, the American continents, Australia and New Zealand.