Our blogs

Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

03 July 2023

Posted by Emma Scattergood and Alice Flynn

Passing the baton

It’s really important to all of us at Stories from Our Streets that the project leaves a legacy. Creating a valuable archive of stories about, and for, the communities we are working in is obviously key but we also want to give others the opportunity to learn from our work and develop the skills to become the story gatherers/writing facilitators of the future. 

This blog has already mentioned how a librarian, Teresa Barton, who attended Emma’s workshops in Christchurch, was then inspired to start a regular writing workshop in Springbourne library; but the story of an AUB student, Mike Sanders, is another wonderful example of how SFoS is encouraging others to ‘pick up the baton’.

Alice and Emma first met Mike when they visited AUB earlier this year. Together, they ran a workshop with the BA Creative Writing students, including Mike, in which they demonstrated how a SFoS writing workshop is considered and delivered. 

Inspiring future talent

Afterwards Mike wrote to SFoS, saying how ‘wonderfully informative’ he had found the session. 

“I think what most struck me,” he said, “was how, as Emma and Alice explained how to create a safe, encouraging and inspirational space, they were also doing that for us. Artful Scribe managed to deliver something new and memorable, and I want to thank them for that.”

Not long after that, Mike got in touch again, asking if he might run a story gathering session with the screen writing group at AUB. We hadn’t ever anticipated SFoS gathering scripts (!) but we were delighted to encourage the idea, and so provided him with all the necessary documentation and support he required. A couple of weeks later, six fabulous scripts inspired by local people and places landed in our inbox! 

In April, Mike came along to help Emma at the SFoS pop-up at Highcliffe Castle, and told her just how much AUB’s Screen Writing Group had enjoyed the session he delivered, writing their scripts and doing a reading of them afterwards. Mike was also really fired up by the experience of facilitating a creative writing workshop and has subsequently done a guest lecture at BU, drawing on his original background in IT, to talk about creative writing and AI. He has now also got a place to do a masters in scriptwriting at BU, and hopes it will lead to further teaching opportunities.

Mike is not the only student to have been inspired by SFoS to develop their facilitating skills. Six students from the MA Creative Writing and Publishing at BU came to assist Emma at our first pop-up at the South Coast Makers Market in Bournemouth, and two of them, Stefan Matthews and Katie Havicon, have continued to be involved at Christchurch library workshops and the Highcliffe Castle pop-up. Another has offered to help with any editing work that is required in the future. It is so rewarding for us to witness the impact that SFoS is having on these students, and other writers in the community, and knowing that these skills will only develop further, and stay with them forever.

Katie and Mike now intend to support Emma with story gathering at Hengistbury Head on Sunday 23rd July, so why not come and join us there. We will post more details on our social media platforms shortly. 


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