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Dovetail Project  

Karlsruhe - Nottingham - Budapest




We all have stories to tell. Stories about ourse

lves, our lives, our cities, our history, our culture.

The Dovetail project gives people in Nottingham, Karlsruhe and Budapest the opportunity to tell each other their stories

using creative writing workshops, visits to local heritage sites, and a five-day meeting in each of the three cities. Everyone taking part will have the opportunity to travel to at least one other city to work with participants from the other project partners.

As part of the European Union Lifelong Learning Programme, Dovetail has secured funding to help adults who have problems with communication to learn useful skills. Problems may include dyslexia or other learning difficulties, poor literacy, low confidence, mental health issues… Adult learners taking part will be involved in as many aspects of the project as possible, so they will not only learn how to tell and write their stories, they may also help with running workshops, planning activities with the other partners, setting up and running events to perform their work, and producing printed anthologies of their writing.

The plan

  • October 2012: Local workshops start in all three cities.
  • February 2013: Partners come to Nottingham for the first joint workshop.
  • April 2013: Nottingham participants publish an anthology of work produced at the Nottingham workshop.
  • July 2013: Partners come to Budapest for the second joint workshop.
  • September 2013: Budapest participants publish an anthology of work produced at the Budapest workshop.
  • January 2014: Partners come to Karlsruhe for the third joint workshop.
  • March 2014: Karlsruhe participants publish an anthology of work produced at the Karlsruhe workshop.
  • June 2014: All partners take part in a final performance (linked via Skype) of work to launch the project anthologies and celebrate our achievements.

The partners

Nottingham Writers’ Studio is a vibrant community of writers based in Nottingham city centre providing space, networking, and creative and professional development opportunities for its members. It’s run by writers for writers, and is dedicated to the support and development of all forms of creative writing. As lead partner of the Dovetail project, NWS hopes to encourage an appreciation of creative writing, story telling and other European cultures among people and communities within Nottingham, Karlsruhe and Budapest that may not have easy access to such valuable aspects of life.

The GEDOK (English website) –     The Society of the Association of Women Artists and Art Friends – is the largest and best established interdisciplinary artists’ organization cultivating a long and rich tradition in Germany. It was founded in 1926 by Ida Dehmel and serves as an official forum for women artists from all disciplines. The regional group in Karlsruhe, organises exhibitions, concerts, readings, lectures, guided tours, studio and workshop visits, symposiums as well as members meetings.

5K Központ is a centre established in Budapest to teach creative arts to people from all walks of life. For instance, businesses are encouraged to think creatively in their marketing and advertising, and schoolchildren are taught about creative writing in the context of media and journalism. As part of the Dovetail project (called Pigeon Post in Hungarian!), 5K Központ is working with teachers in rural areas who may not have had much training to help them see the value of using creative writing in their teaching practice.


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.

Dovetail-Project - group Karlsruhe -  Nottingham - Budapest on facebook