Dear Renate, Dear Pippa,
these are some journalistic questions we may use in media as something to refer to or quote...
1. What have you in mind about Life-Long Learning and teaching adults?
2. What background are you imbedded in a) sociologically b) art-wise?
3. What can be specific in your activity – added to the similarities – what is characteristic of Britain, Notthingham and Karlsruhe, Germany?
4. Knowing your possibilities, gaining self-respect by story-telling and by organizing common, art-like events: do you belive in this as a tool of educating grown ups with lots of problems?
5. How do you count on a Hungarian group of mainly professional people as partners, have you any present impressions of the country?
> 1. I believe that storytelling is an essential part of life - we all do it all the time. As such, it is an obvious way to encourage adults who aren't confident writers to improve their writing skills. In the UK Dovetail workshops, we will work with adults who have problems with writing to help them become more confident and to build on their strengths. Our learners might be people with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, people whose second language is English and therefore are nervous about expressing themselves in English, people recovering from mental health problems, and so on. We will engage them in storytelling and writing exercises that will gradually build up their writing abilities, and through the website, the joint workshops and the anthologies, learners will start to see concrete results from their efforts. This will give them confidence in their abilities and provide concrete evidence of their improvement to themselves and others, for example, potential employers. We hope it will also encourage them to continue learning through adult education classes or other opportunities.< Pippa Hennesy
2. Nottingham Writers' Studio is a group of committed writers in Nottingham and surrounding areas. We run workshops for aspiring and developing writers, as well as showcase events for our members. We are part-funded by Arts Council England, and some of that funding goes towards working with disadvantaged groups in the area. For instance, we have just completed a project working with young people from immigrant backgrounds to write about their heroes - this has resulted in some fantastic writing from a wide range of young people from a variety of backgrounds. At NWS our focus is on writing in the broadest sense of the word. Our members include novelists, short story writers, playwrights, screenwriters, poets, performance poets, non-fiction writers, memoir-writers and journalists. We intend to use this broad view of writing in our Dovetail workshops.
3. Nottingham has a rich and varied cultural heritage which will provide input into our work, but this is of course also true of Karlsruhe and Budapest. Specifically, we have a large and active immigrant community (e.g. the Nottingham Asian Arts Council) who we can work with. We also have the Nottingham Festival of Words, which will take place for the first time in February 2013, which we will build into our Dovetail work. Nottingham has a strong literary scene which in part stems from famous writers who have lived and worked here, such as DH Lawrence and Alan Sillitoe, and there are many successful writers living and working in the city today.
4. Everyone tells stories, even something as simple as: "You'll never believe what happened on the bus today..." This makes creative writing an ideal starting point for helping adults with various problems around writing, communication and low self-confidence. The basic material is already there. I believe that building on this by helping people to express their stories effectively and organise events to show the results of their work will give them a unique opportunity to learn and improve skills that will be useful to them in everyday life, and will persuade them of the possibilities of lifelong learning.
5. Our group has very little knowledge of Hungary, its history and its present-day culture. Part of the purpose of Dovetail is to listen to other people's stories and learn about other European cultures and histories - thus working with a Hungarian group is ideal. It will also be interesting to work with those whose profession is teaching, as they will come to the project with different ideas and preconceptions from those that our group of adults with communication problems will bring. I believe it will be profitable for both groups - the Hungarian teachers will be able to work with learners that have specific problems yet are committed to overcoming those problems, and the UK learners will have the opportunity to work with teachers from a different educational framework than the one they are used to, and which has probably failed them in some way.