A writer-in-residence scheme can last anything between 1 week (such as in a school) or 2 years (such as John’s Glasgow residency with SPT). Having a writer in school for a full week gives children/young people and teachers a unique opportunity to develop their writing and reading skills and to grow in confidence as they perform their work to their friends and colleagues. John always involves parents in such a project and with them promotes the ideas of home reading and home stories – thereby supporting the literacy work done in school.
During John’s Glasgow residency he worked tirelessly with the city’s subway, local buses and the ferry system. His poems were displayed on huge posters next to advertising material in the subway, on smaller posters on buses and given out as poem postcards along with passengers’ tickets! He ran poetry/story workshops with SPT drivers, office staff and engineers! The residency also allowed him to visit over 60 primary and secondary schools in Glasgow and he gave readings and ran writing workshops in Glasgow Transport Museum, Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Deaf Connections and many other public places in the city.
One of the highlights of the residency was when he was invited to read his space poetry (he writes a lot of that!) in the Planetarium of Glasgow Science Centre during International Year of Astronomy!
Poets, artists, actors (or indeed any kind of arts practitioner) are always hugely successful when engaged for a short or extended residency. They inject a sense of energy and creativity into even the most unadventurous organisation!
Why not give it a whirl! Contact John to talk through the possibilities if you think your school, library, commercial business or company would like to host a residency. Maybe a ‘test run’ could be arranged to gauge local reactions?