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 1500 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.
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.
What we offer
Wordsmith offers a range of innovative services:
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.
Poets in residence: available to compose new works on a regular basis based on school life, assist classes and individual students poetry or literature based poetic subject matter.
Wordsmith Primary School Project 2013
Winning team Claremont Primary School
See more videos here
Between September and December 2013 Wordsmith delivered its first Poetry project for Primary students.
The project was the brainchild of Alison White Head at St Magarets CofE, with her help we were able to recruit teams from St Marys CofE, Divine Mercy RC, Webster and Claremont primarys. Each team worked with a poet coach researching and writing around the theme of Black History and future. After five weeks each school picked a team and rehearsed their poetry in preparation for our showcase.
The showcase was held at St Magarets on 16th December and was a roaring success; the young people expressed themselves with poise and passion beyond their years, delighting and surprising Family members and teachers alike.
Wordsmith would like to say a special thanks to Ione Mai and Mr Zip who both performed some of their latest and most popular tracks to punctuate the poetry and get the young ones bopping.
The results were as follows:
Best Team: Claremont / Claremont most improved - Wasi Haider
Best Poem: Rashkan Karim St Marys / St Marys most improved – Kenny Ahmed
Best Performance: Webster / Webster most improved - Daisy Pritchard
Best Stanza/Line: Simardeep Kaur St Magarets / St Magarets most improved Leigha Davies
Divine Mercy: Most Improved Madeleine Elliot-Cox
Welcome to Wordsmith Awards 2013
This year’s project involved 8 schools engaging in writing and performance wordshops for 8 weeks, which resulted in a memorable showcase at Burnage Media Arts College in July 2013. Our special guests JP Cooper and Flex thrilled over 100 students and staff with musical sets that perfectly punctuated passionate poetry penned and performed by our teams. Loreto High were awarded Best Team and have already begun their year residency with masterclasses from Chicago’s first wave graduate Dominique Chesterland as well as a Q&A with Grammy nominated Def Jam poet Liza Garza before sharing the stage with her at an event at The Instituto Cervantes in central Manchester. Wordsmith poets in residence is a new feature we have added to our programs that allows us to develop young writers with mentoring and quality time with international and national professional poets.
What you say
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