Imagining History

 Creative Fieldwork for passionate young writers.

I established the Imagining History Programme UK to be the Education and Outreach element of The Young Walter Scott Prize. The programme offers workshops free to young writers in historical places to explore the craft of writing using the historical world as source material.  Our workshops bring together historical research, innovative techniques for writing and the sheer enjoyment of discovering unknown worlds.

It grew out of my work for Arts Council England’s Creative Partnerships  in which creative artists were embedded in schools with the aim of developing an arts-based curriculum. Since we first discover the world through moving and touching it, it was important to me that the workshops were not simply about sitting and writing, but about writing in situ. I work with a dedicated team and a growing number of collaborators across the country. We have pioneered techniques that go further than guided visits, immersing the minds and bodies of young writers in the historical environment.

The techniques developed by the IHUK team cross disciplinary boundaries and are relevant to the study of history, human geography, art, architecture, politics, psychology and society. They draw their inspiration from the young life of Walter Scott, disabled by polio and discovering a different kind of fascination for the lives and stories of his native land.

Students between the ages of 11 and 19 years develop confidence in the value of their own ideas and their ability to construct a satisfying piece of creative work.

Professional writers together with experts in arts and heritage education expand on techniques of active historical research, language and literacy to support young writers to create satisfying works of fiction.

Our programme is growing. Since June 2015, around 300 young writers have come along to explore and write in a range of historical places.

Click here to go to the Imagining History UK webpage to read more about the philosophy and practice of this important strand of my work.