About Wordsmith

Wordsmith is a community based organisation delivering performance poetry projects to school, youth providers and arts organisations.

Now in its fifth year, Wordsmith has established relationships with many aspiring Manchester secondary schools and academies and in the process inspired over 12000 students from year 7 to 11, helping young people to develop their passion for writing and performance and explore the possibility of the arts as a career with partner organisations such as Young Identity and Apples and Snakes, Contact and Z Arts.

Wordsmith believes that the arts can be creatively transformative, as well as educational and entertaining. Transformation, embedding self-confidence and encouraging self-expression through artistic endeavour and discipline are at the heart of a Wordsmith project.

Wordsmith offers a range of innovative services:

Expressing the Anthology: Wordsmith is committed to helping young people to have an enriching experience with the poetry featured on the National Curriculum.  Wordsmith’s roster has some of the leading poets in the North West, who use there skill sets to capture the many voices of the authors featured in the National Curriculum Anthology.

Inter-school poetry projects: incorporating schools across Manchester, culminating with a multi-arts showcase, a profile on our site and publication in a downloadable ethology.

School poetry projects: based on the a showcase/slam model that engages and energizes the whole school.

Highlights of 2016

Manchester Children's Book Festival

In 2016 Wordsmith worked with range of collaborative partners. With creative youth participatory projects with Manchester Centre for Youth Studies (MCYS, we delivered an interactive event to consult on what it is like to be young in Manchester today. This project sought to highlight the complexity of young people's lives in ways, which contest negative stereotypes of their behaviour, both in contemporary society as well as historically. Wordsmiths facilitated the poetic interpretation of the young people's experiences, working with them to understand, verbalise and write their thoughts, feelings and experiences in poetic format.

Additionally Wordsmiths worked collaboratively with Manchester Centre for Youth Studies, Manchester Children's Book Festival and the young people's author Alex Wheatle on our event Youth in Crisis? Which was part of the Manchester Children's Book Festival. This was an interactive event aimed at generating the opportunity for young people to discuss their ideas, feelings and observations on the question of 'is youth in crisis?' The event explored the lived experience of young people, allowing for an opportunity to challenge popular misconceptions of youth.

This exciting event was facilitated through the use of performance poetry with Wordsmiths and Young Identity. Wordsmiths also co-facilitated a follow up event at Manchester Central Library with renowned young people's author Alex Wheatle, author of 'Brixton Rocks'; this involved working with the young people throughout the day in creating poetry and other literary forms that were later performed in the library.

Wordsmiths consistently work in a highly professional manner, facilitating, enthusing and promoting the use of performance poetry and other literary and performance art forms with young people.

What you say

If you're looking at the impact on a childs education the time spent in a wordsmith project probably does more to develop and empower young people than anything else that we do in school. Its as good as that.

— Ian Fenn Head teacher Burnage Academy Boys

It has really increased their confidence and team work skills. Students who would not put their hands up to answer a question in class were confident to perform at the Showcase by the end of the project there has been a noticable impact on the attainment of the students involved: three are now above their target grades since completing the project; two have completed a reading age test and this has gone up by two years since completing the project - their vocabulary has greatly improved I have learnt techniques to help students with writing that I will use with other classes We will definitely want to complete the project next year!

— J Gledhill Whalley Range High Girls

A fantastic way to develop really important skills such as creativity, communication, resilience and self confidence. A great chance to work with a real poet.

— Patsy Kane. Headteacher.

Yes. I definitely feel the Wordsmith Awards achieved these challenging aims. It was amazing to see my Year 9 students in a different light; their creativity astounded me as did their willingness to come out if their comfort zone and perform on stage. For some, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and certainly helped raise aspirations.

— Sharon Dempsey Head of English and Assistant Principal St Peter’s RC High School