|Research Article: Being allowed: negotiating space for poetry writing with literature examination students|
Sue Dymoke & Nicholas McGuinn
Pages: 1-12 | DOI: 10.1080/14790726.2021.1891257
|It was a real pleasure to work with my friend Nick McGuinn on this piece of research. We have known each other for a long time but never written together previously. Our reading, talking, researching and writing processes took us several years to complete. We worked together in gardens, over the phone, on Zoom between Nottingham and Tubingen and, most memorably, at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where a lot of thinking and planning was done while strolling around its fabulous grounds and drinking coffee from the cafe balcony. The paper began as a reflective piece on space and face-to-face poetry workshop practices. However, because of the way the pandemic is potentially changing so much about how writers of all ages are able to create new work, we thought it was important to also begin to explore some of the new challenges and opportunities for creative writing post-COVID.|
Our paper focuses on issues of permission and the space for creative writing practice which emerged from a day-long poetry writing workshop with UK English Literature students aged 16–18 funded by the University of Hull’s Bridges to Everywhere project. Drawing on critical frameworks from Hall and Thomson (2017. “Creativity in Teaching: What Can Teachers Learn from Artists?” Research Papers in Education 32 (1): 106–120) and Harris and de Bruin (2018. “An International Study of Creative Pedagogies in Practice in Secondary Schools: Toward a Creative Ecology.” Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy 15 (2): 215–235), pertaining to artistic practices and creative pedagogies, it seeks to explore how poetry might flourish in the classroom. It does so by outlining and discussing a set of distinctive practices identified in one writer’s approach as she guides students through a workshop experience to make their own choices about their poetry writing. The paper considers particular challenges for creative practitioners and for students, concerning agency in learning about poetry within school curriculum confines. It concludes by posing some questions about how such creative practices might be sustained within a post-COVID-19 educational environment.