include: Reaching New Audiences

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Reaching New Audiences


First published in Great Britain in 2013 by Ilkley Literature Festival. Copyright Š Ilkley Literature Festival Dawn Cameron, Rachel Feldberg and Laura Beddows have asserted their rights under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the authors of this work. All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, optical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. ISBN 978-0-9572349-3-2

Design: dg3 Print: AB Print Group

Photo overleaf: Bernardine Evaristo with students at Roundhay School Leeds

Contents Our approach


Attracting and sustaining new BAME audiences


Intergenerational work with families


Working with schools


Pupil-led events


Young Ambassadors scheme


Specific events for young people at the Festival




Press Pack: Write a Review


Make a Newspaper in a Day


Young people’s author events


Year round projects with young people


Young People’s Club Nights


Ilkley Young Writers Group


Young Writers Summer School


SI Leeds Literary Prize: a new prize for Black and Asian women writers


Credits 36



Reaching new audiences

Good practice guide



Our approach

Founded in 1973, Ilkley is the second oldest literature festival in the UK and the largest in the North of England. Each October it delivers over 220 events across 20 venues to an audience of 25,000 people of all ages. Situated between Bradford and the Yorkshire Dales, Ilkley Literature Festival faces south to post industrial Bradford and north to the rural hinterland – creating a space where everyone is encouraged to explore a common love for words and ideas.

Our approach to audience development and outreach is rooted in:

Ilkley‘s programme is known for its cultural diversity and for the rich mix of headline names, literary fiction, poetry, performances, non-fiction events, master classes and workshops, lively Fringe events, literary walks, the Children’s Festival weekend and a range of imaginative events for young people – but the work doesn’t stop when the last event ends. The Festival began staging events for children right from the start, with a vast ‘Puffin Club’ tea party at the first Festival in 1973. Over the last four years, with the support of Grants for the arts, it has undertaken a series of new, year round development initiatives with primary and secondary schools in inner city Leeds and Bradford; with teenagers; with children and their families and with audience members from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. None of the projects are over – we are still working to take them to the next stage. But the results so far, sometimes unexpected, sometimes successful, sometimes frustrating, are collected here for others to dip into and use as they would like, in the hope that by sharing our experience we can all move a little further in our quest to give people of all ages the greatest possible access to exciting live literature.

Delivering great art for everyone: making sure that ‘everyone’ knows what we have on offer and as far as possible taking away the various barriers (financial, geographic, physical, or in perception) which might prevent people from giving it a try, or mean they feel Ilkley Literature Festival ‘isn’t for them’. Encouraging young people to engage with the opportunities we offer and creating activities they find exciting and inspiring. Making sure that potential BAME audience members know about the Festival’s events and activities and the kind of programming we have on offer and are part of that programming. Encouraging children and families, wherever they live and whatever their income, to enjoy books, reading and writing. Developing and delivering satellite events in communities and schools as well as encouraging new audiences to attend main stage events in Ilkley. We work hard to identify and remove barriers which make visiting Ilkley difficult for some audiences. In the course of this work we’ve developed a number of guiding principles: We’re keen that new audiences are sustained and for this reason, have worked hard over the past several years to develop ongoing relationships with schools, communities and individuals. We’re willing to try out new approaches, to take risks and to learn. We don’t expect everything to be successful and when it doesn’t succeed we’re keen to see what needs to change.

Our approach

We work closely with professionals both within the arts and in other sectors to develop joint projects which meet the specific needs of our target communities. We consult widely with new audiences and aim to be open to feedback – both positive and negative.

Putting it into practice Our task was to reach people and groups who have traditionally been under-represented amongst the Festival’s audiences. We went about this in a number of different ways: Appointing a part time Development and Outreach Worker for the Festival. Initially a short term contract, the post, held by Dawn Cameron, became part of the core team in 2012. Working with a range of schools (both primary and secondary) in Bradford, Ilkley and Leeds. Working in partnership with other agencies and organisations who are already working with the groups we hope to reach. Extending successful work we were already doing, for example the Festival’s multilingual Mushaira. Working with young people both within and outside school settings. As a result we set up a number of different initiatives.

Opportunities for families and BAME audience members including: Working with parents and children at Chapeltown Children’s Centre in Leeds. Relationships with Leeds and Bradford Children’s Universities in order to develop collaborative projects. Working with Aim Higher in Bradford.

Working with the Bradford Action for Refugees group to bring parents and children to the Children’s day at the Festival. Working with the home educators groups in Bradford through Bradford libraries.

Intergenerational work: Upcoming work with Leeds Black Elders Association, developing a collaborative '40 Years of Reading' reminiscence project. Work with parents and children at Chapeltown Children’s Centre in Leeds.

An ‘authors in schools’ programme in Bradford and Leeds which includes: Brokering a series of author visits and workshops in schools. Working with pupils in secondary schools to develop pupil-led events for feeder primary school audiences. Developing clear information and guidance documents for authors in schools. Producing clear information and guidance for schools hosting author events. Encouraging schools we were working with to bring groups of young people to the Festival. Working with schools to enable children to develop and manage their own authors in schools events.

Working with libraries: We work closely with school librarians in all of our partner schools. We work with Young People’s Librarians in Leeds and Bradford to attract young people who attend young readers’ groups to Festival events. We encourage young readers to submit reviews of Festival events. We work with Leeds’ Young People's Librarian to jointly develop authors in schools events throughout the year.



Reaching new audiences

A Young Ambassadors scheme which gives young people the opportunity to: Feed into the Festival programming process. Support Festival staff and volunteers in distributing marketing and promotional literature. Attend a number of Festival events at nil cost. Feed back to Festival staff about their views of the Festival and how we might go about attracting younger audiences. Write reviews of Festival events which can appear on the Festival website.

A series of events for young people at the Festival including:


‘Make a Newspaper in a Day’ – a day long workshop led by a journalist working with a graphic design student from Leeds College of Art. ‘Press Pack: Write a Review’ – a workshop led by a journalist, which includes the opportunity to go into a Festival event and then write up the review which is posted online.

Year round Young People’s Club Nights: Three or four Friday evening club nights each year, featuring young bands, young comedians and young poets/live lit performers, performing work they have written themselves for an audience of young people aged 12-16.

Opportunities for young writers including: A weekly early evening young writers group from 6.30-8.30pm in term time for young people aged 12-17/18. An annual young writers residential summer school. Bronze and Silver Arts Award scheme for young writers. Invitations to read at the annual Mushaira.

A new literary prize for Black and Asian women writers In partnership with Leeds Soroptimists International (whose idea it was) and Peepal Tree Press, the Festival supported the inaugural SI Leeds Literary Prize. The Festival is now working with the other partners in preparation for the 2014 prize.

‘WordsFest’ – a young people’s afternoon with an array of creative writing, poetry and graffiti workshops; a poetry slam, a headline author – and free chocolate cake. Opportunities for young writers to perform at the Festival. Invitations to local young readers’ groups to bring young people to events with well known young people’s authors eg. Michelle Paver.

Ilkley Young Writers on the roof of the South Bank Centre during a visit to the Poetry Parnassus 2012 © Laura Beddows

Attracting and sustaining new bAme audiences What we did

Overall what worked

From the outset we agreed that a key indicator of success would be the extent to which we attracted and sustained BAME audiences.

We worked hard to attract BAME family audiences to the Festival. These visits proved very popular with both children and parents.

Accordingly we put systems in place to ensure this was an area of practice which we monitored on an ongoing basis.

We have achieved a balance between delivering satellite events and encouraging BAME visitors to attend main stage events in Ilkley.

To attract and sustain new BAME audiences: We made sure that in selecting partner schools, we included schools which reflected the cultural and ethnic diversity of Bradford and Leeds. In 2009 we worked with a group of young people from Chapeltown in Leeds who were involved with setting up an internet radio station. We asked them to attend events, to review them and to feed back to us their perceptions of the Festival. We worked with librarians in Leeds and Bradford to find ways of attracting new visitors to the Festival. We worked from the assumption that BAME audiences would select events which reflected their interests; we didn’t make assumptions about the types of events they were likely to want to attend. We collaborated with community based and BAME led organisations in both Bradford and Leeds and worked with them to find ways of encouraging new visitors to Festival events. All our volunteers and stewards have received briefings on the Festival’s approach to diversity and are committed to ensuring that the visitor experience is rewarding for all.

New BAME audiences attend a wide range of programming; conversely our established audiences are very open to attending events featuring ethnically and culturally diverse authors and poets. Informal feedback from new audience members and from schools has been extremely positive regarding Festival staff, stewards and technical support. Many new visitors to Ilkley events commented on the warmth and professionalism of front of house staff.

Feedback ”Thank you for this amazing experience and giving us a great opportunity.“ ”We all lined up to meet [Michael Morpurgo] in person in a very long queue. Soon enough, it was my turn, I was very excited. He wasn’t signing books because he had sadly dislocated his shoulder. I asked him a question which was ’Out of all of your books, who is your favourite character?‘ His answer was ’Kensuke from Kensuke’s kingdom‘. My dad got a picture of Michael and I together, I got an autograph, I shook his hand and said goodbye. It was spellbinding.“ ”The group were delighted with the trip and a few parents have said how much the girls said they enjoyed it.“



Reaching new audiences

Getting the practicalities right By definition, new audiences have not previously attended literature festival events. It’s important to talk through how Festival events work and what the format of events is likely to be. Where transport costs are a barrier, we make efforts to meet them, or to make a contribution. A modest transport budget is a vital part of our development programme and has made a huge difference – from taxis for individual families to minibuses for a larger group. Where families are visiting a number of events – say at the Children’s Festival – we encourage them to bring packed lunches and let families know about other attractions in town.

Where groups of visitors are attending events for the first time, it is helpful for there to be a member of Festival staff, ideally someone they have already met or at the least been told about, to accompany them or to meet and greet them when they arrive. Briefing all the other staff is important too – so that everyone is looking out for them.

Problems/issues to look out for Not every event will be universally popular; people have different tastes and expectations. Where tickets are complementary, there will occasionally be no shows.


General good practice and learning points Good practice

Learning points

We try to provide new BAME audiences with a range of ways to access the Festival, including satellite and main stage events.

A generalised commitment to welcoming new audiences needs to be backed up with ways of measuring progress in achievement.

We ensure that customer focus training for front of house staff and volunteers includes reference to the Festival’s expectations regarding equality and diversity.

Not everything works well the first time; sometimes it takes a while to get things right.

New audiences are more likely to be sustained if relationships are built up over time.

Don’t make assumptions about what people are going to enjoy. Simply handing out complementary tickets is not enough; people are less likely to attend if they feel that their invitations are part of a tick box exercise.

Intergenerational work with families What we did We developed a number of projects which sought to involve both parents and children. One such project was a series of weekly workshops which took place over the summer holiday with parents and children at Chapeltown Children’s Centre. The project was delivered in partnership with Artworks Bradford and supported family groups in making books and characters. An author and a maker were engaged to co-facilitate the workshops and the project culminated in a visit to the Children’s Festival. We also worked with Bradford Action for Refugees to organise a day long visit to the Children’s Festival for children and parents. The day was a huge success and we hope to repeat it in future years. By definition, home educated children do not benefit from our school events. In 2012 we worked for the first time with a group of home educated children and their parents in an event delivered at Cartwright Hall Art Gallery. We have worked with both Leeds and Bradford’s Children’s Universities to organise pre-Festival workshops and day long visits to the Children’s Festival.

Overall what worked Events which involve parents and pre-school children work very well. For many of the families we have worked with, attendance at Festival events represented their first visit to Ilkley and for some, their first train journey.

Intergenerational projects have proved really valuable in terms of enabling parents to support their children’s learning in a relaxed and fun environment. We support families’ engagement through the provision of complementary tickets and meeting travel costs. We strongly encourage families to visit Ilkley by train since this helps to demystify the journey – children tend to really enjoy the train ride. All our intergenerational events have been delivered in partnership with existing groups which have ongoing relationships with families (Children’s Centres, Children’s Universities, Refugee/asylum seeker support services etc). We feel that this works better than attempting to recruit families independently.

Feedback ”It was great … and it’s good to see another town.“ ”First time in Ilkley – it is small and quiet and a nice place. Would come back. We went to the playground and my children asked if we could come back every week.“ ”Great, we loved the Playhouse and the circus.“ ”I loved the circus because there was lots of funny and magical things that I cannot do.“ ”This event was brilliant. My daughters really enjoyed it and so did I. Thank you very much.“ ”The best was the Perseus play. Very well organised with great events. Great fun for the whole family.“



Reaching new audiences

Getting the practicalities right Our work with families prioritises those for whom a visit to the Festival would be prohibitively expensive. Our support for such visits always includes the cost of transport. However, we tend to encourage the groups we work with to ask for a small contribution towards costs. This may be as little as £1 but it helps to give a value to the experience and ensure that there is no dropout on the day. It is helpful to brief families in advance on the format of family literature events.

Problems/issues to look out for Attendance at family workshops will vary over time depending on family commitments. Some workshops will be well attended and others will be very poorly attended. The length of workshops should be scheduled to take account of young children’s attention spans. A visit to Ilkley can feel like a huge undertaking to families many of whom will not have previously visited the town.


Making books at Chapletown Children's Centre © David Collins

Staff and volunteers at the relevant events need training, support and information, so that on the day they can help make the visiting group feel welcome. On the day, we always make sure the Development Worker is there to support the group and help sort out any practical glitches.

General good practice and learning points Good practice

Learning points

We carefully target our family work at those who would find it very difficult to visit the Festival without support.

It’s not enough simply to provide families with free tickets; account also needs to be taken of travel costs.

We try to build up relationships with groups in advance of Festival visits: demystifying what a literature festival comprises; talking about books and reading and discussing the format of typical events.

It is very helpful if family groups are engaged through an existing group (Children’s Centres etc).

Working with schools What we did The Festival's ‘authors in schools’ programme includes author visits, workshops and readings with a huge range of writers and illustrators. It has grown steadily over the past three years and by 2012, audiences for schools events had reached 1,689. Setting up an event means carefully brokering the right author for the right schools, liaising with the school and publishers, agent or agency who have children’s authors ‘out on tour’. There are occasions when we book authors direct, but very often we go through a reputable publisher, like Bloomsbury or Puffin. All the events were brokered and administered by the Festival’s Development Worker, in collaboration with teachers, school librarians and in some cases, before its demise, Aim Higher. Writers involved include:

Michelle Paver

Curtis Jobling

Sufiya Ahmed

Melvin Burgess

Mary Hoffman

Bernardine Evaristo

Debi Gliori We have developed a rich mix of contrasting ‘partner schools’ – in the inner city, outlying suburbs and more rural areas – all benefiting in various ways from collaboration with the Festival. For example:

Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, Bradford

Grange Technology College, Bradford

Belle Vue Girls’ School, Bradford

Carlton Bolling School, Bradford

Allerton Grange School, Leeds

David Young Community Academy, Leeds

Roundhay School, Leeds

Alwoodley Primary School, Leeds

Ilkley Grammar School, Ilkley We have made strong attempts to target schools in areas where children are less likely to get the opportunity to meet with authors and we were particularly keen to attract schools in inner city Bradford to the programme. An unexpected outcome of the ‘authors in schools’ programme has been the huge increase in entrants to the children’s short story and poetry competitions from Bradford children.

Overall what worked The programme is an excellent means of reaching children who wouldn’t otherwise engage with the Festival. Schools who are involved in our ‘authors in schools’ programme are much more likely to get involved in other aspects of the Festival’s work: it’s easier to work in partnership with them to encourage them to bring groups of young people to Festival events; Young People’s Club Nights, the WordsFest afternoon and their young people are much more likely to enter our young writers competitions. Schools don’t have to worry about finding an author or taking on the organisation that goes with their visit. Events involving primary school children frequently engage parents as audience members. Authors value the opportunity to go into schools they might not otherwise get to and value the support we give them.



Reaching new audiences

Feedback Feedback from author events has been very positive. Children, teachers and parents report that they have hugely enjoyed the opportunity to meet and engage with authors. School librarians in particular report that book loans by visiting authors increase following author visits. Children and young people are introduced to books they haven’t read before. A surprising number of the authors we worked with hadn’t previously had the opportunity to go into a school where the majority of pupils are from BAME backgrounds. Some were apprehensive because they felt their work might not be of interest. They were particularly delighted to find that, on the contrary, the children were really interested and loved their books.


A visit by Derek Landy to Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College elicited the following comments from children:

”I enjoyed it when he was talking about his stories and I liked it when he was funny and cute and also crazy. It would be great if he could come to Ilkley next year.“ ”It was very good and I enjoyed it a lot. It would be great to go to Ilkley next year.“

Getting the practicalities right Schools events cover a huge range: from a reading for a full year group, to a writing workshop for a small group of boys, A-level students, or children in Y6, to a poetry performance piece followed by a workshop. We worked closely with authors and schools to identify what would work best for them. Small practical details can make all the difference to the success of an event, for example:

k Making sure the author is met at the station and taken to the venue.

k Making sure that there are refreshments, tea and coffee and access to a photocopier.

k Making sure that they can have a quiet

look at the space where they are going to be talking/leading a workshop beforehand.

k Making sure that the space is quiet –

and will be quiet during the event – for example checking when break is or whether people will be laying out dinner behind a screen.

k Making sure that there is a projector and screen if they need one.

k Making sure that someone at the school

knows how to operate the projector/ lights/sound and that they will be around during the event.

k Making sure that we’ve sorted out with

the publisher whether the author is going to sell books and if so, who is bringing them, who is selling them, and where it’s going to happen.

Problems/issues to look out for On the whole, we have managed to maintain partnerships with schools over a number of years. However, there is always a danger that staff changes mean that contact is lost. On two occasions staff we had worked with moved on and it was some time before we could indentify another member of staff in the school who was interested in working with us. While it’s always important to have the Headteacher on side, in the end the success of projects in school often come down to the enthusiasm and commitment of individual members of staff who are prepared to champion the work.

Working with schools

How to go about subsidising school events Recent changes to schools' and wider education funding have meant that funding sources (such as Aim Higher) no longer exist. This has had a noticeable impact on schools' ability to meet author fees and having a flexible development budget has been vital and meant that we have been able subsidise fees. But what began as a stop-gap measure, based on our gut instinct about which schools could afford to pay and which couldn’t has now been formalised:

k All schools receive a letter explaining the actual, un-subsidised cost of the activity.

k They are asked to make a contribution –

and all are asked for a minimum of £30 – for an event which may cost £300.

k They are asked to make a more realistic contribution if they are able to.

Poet in Residence Seni Seneviratne at the Poetry Hotspot with visiting children from Bradford © Paul Floyd Blake



Reaching new audiences

General good practice and learning points Good practice Developing clear guidance information for authors and publicists was a very helpful innovation in 2011. This enabled us to communicate all key requirements to schools in a timely manner. It meant authors were aware at the outset of the types of audiences they would be working with and of any particular school needs.


Developing clear guidance information for schools letting them know precisely what was expected of host schools (for example, technical requirements etc) made a big difference. Encouraging publicists, where possible, to provide schools with point of sale materials prior to author visits, heightened interest in school events and can substantially increase book sales. Developing a range of events which suit different audiences was essential. For example, we were able to work with Bernardine Evaristo to deliver a creative writing event for boys who were not particularly engaged with reading. Similarly, Belle Vue Girls School hosted a whole year group event followed by a smaller workshop with Irfan Master whose debut novel is set during the partition of India.

Learning points The importance of developing a collaborative working relationship with key school staff cannot be over emphasised. It is our experience that school librarians are often the key link for literature events within a school. Working in partnership with schools, libraries and other agencies is vital. But cuts or changes in funding can mean that schemes you were collaborating with can just disappear – in our case Aim Higher – and you need to be flexible enough to find other partners. Working tactfully and diplomatically with publicists regarding likely book sales from events. For many parents, books are prohibitively expensive. However, this does not mean that either parents or children fail to value author visits; book loans from school libraries always increase following an author visit. It is really important that children do not feel that the purpose of events is to sell books. It’s also unwise to make assumptions about which schools will generate book sales. Ensuring that there is sufficient lead in time prior to all author visits. For example, author visits need to be confirmed by the end of the summer term for events during the autumn.

Pupil-led events What we did

Overall what worked

In 2011 we decided to pilot a school event which was developed, led and managed by young people themselves.

The young people appreciated being given the responsibility of designing and managing an event.

To this end, we approached staff at one of our partner schools (Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College) to find out if they would like to nominate a group of young people to develop an author event in school.

The young people’s project and event management skills were greatly enhanced.

The young people – in this case two Year 7 girls – decided on the type of event they would like to develop; worked with school staff to cost the event (the budget was provided by the Festival); identified an audience; issued invitations and designed marketing materials; invited a guest (illustrator and children's author, Stephen Waterhouse); and produced certificates for children taking part in the event. In the event, the girls who organised the event chose to develop two drawing and character creation workshops for 70 visiting primary school children. In 2012, we worked with a group of 10 young people from David Young Community Academy who worked together to develop an event for feeder primaries. The young people decided to invite Curtis Jobling to talk about his work and then to deliver a drawing and writing workshop. The organising group issued an invitation to Curtis setting out their expectations of the event, organised regular planning group meetings, liaised with the Academy Headteacher, designed certificates for participating children, organised refreshments (including lunch in the school dining hall) and stewarded and introduced the event.

The young people learned how to collaborate on a joint venture, allocating roles and responsibilities. Participating authors have been very supportive and enthusiastic about being involved in an experimental approach to literature events. Feedback from the young people, schools and event audiences has been very positive.

Feedback ”I had a great time, and you and the rest of your student posse have done yourselves (and the school) proud. The whole event was brilliantly well organised, you should all give yourselves a pat on the back. And if this leads to more children reading then that's just what we all want to hear. Well done you!“ (Curtis Jobling, author) ”Hi Curtis, Many thanks to you for coming to our school, I really appreciate it. You really inspired us even more, even I was surprised about how just a few paragraphs can bring out so much imagination, and I was also quite surprised that we had the same tastes in types of stories, massive shock. About the survey, everyone loved you, in fact all of them wanted to have an event like this again and most of them have changed their minds about reading and thought you were a great inspiration.“ (S, pupil member of organising group at David Young Community Academy)



Reaching new audiences

Getting the practicalities right As with all schools work, much is dependent on working with the right people within school – often this is the school librarian. Regular planning meetings proved to be very helpful in organising the second event. We met fortnightly in the three months preceding the event. Children like events with refreshments. In both of the events, the organising groups insisted that we should provide audiences with fruit and drinks. The second event also included lunch for all the children. It’s really important that the young people genuinely feel that the event is theirs. This may mean that it takes a little longer to organise but it’s time well spent.


Events of this type can only work if the author is fully on board and is prepared to liaise with an organising group made up of young people.

Problems/issues to look out for Organising an event is challenging for anyone. Whilst making sure that the young people take the lead, it’s important that support is available from adults should it be needed. On the other hand, it’s important that the adults involved don't take over the organisation of the event. Like all school events, pupil-led events need to be carefully scheduled to take account of school breaks, lunchtimes etc. This is particularly the case, if the audience includes children from neighbouring schools.

General good practice and learning points Good practice The events themselves were incredibly well received by visiting children and teachers. The model – of handing control (and budgets) to young people – is one which we intend to repeat year on year with other partner schools. Young people know very well what works for children; for both events organising groups were insistent that refreshments should be provided. Although we have only organised two events thus far, it seems that young people tend to organise events which include both a presentation and a workshop.

Learning points The lead-in time for an event of this type was far greater than had been anticipated. For young people to organise an event of this type requires support from someone within the school and requires that the young people involved are able to meet regularly in order to develop, plan and manage the event. It would be helpful to develop a pupils' guide to organising events. We have asked the David Young Community Academy organising group to work with us to develop one. We are looking at incorporating learning from pupil-led events into main stage Festival events for children. We have also discussed enabling young people to curate/produce elements of the children’s/young people’s programme in Ilkley.

Young Ambassadors scheme What we did We worked with young people from Allerton Grange, Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College and Ilkley Grammar School to form a Young Ambassadors scheme. Young Ambassadors were invited to be involved in suggesting events for the Festival; helping to distribute Festival programmes and marketing materials; attending events; and writing reviews of events for publication on the Festival website. Ambassadors were recruited through contacts within participating schools.

Overall what worked Ambassadors were very helpful in distributing marketing materials to fellow pupils, families and friends. Ambassadors attended a vast range of events over the years – some specifically targeted at young people and others at an adult audience. Ambassadors’ feedback has been very helpful. A number of Ambassadors have submitted event reviews for publication.

Feedback ”We found the event interesting, and we enjoyed the atmosphere of the event and the cup of tea (and refills). It made us think, even though we didn’t agree with all of Lord Lawson’s points on climate change, as he said that it is more cost effective to adapt to climate change than to spend money resolving the issue. We found that Lord Lawson was a captivating speaker; however he had a tendency to be a little mean-spirited, especially to some of the people who posed questions. He amused the audience with his comments about his previous weight.“ ”We enjoyed the event, and the staff were very friendly and helpful, however we feel more could be done by the organisers to attract a younger, more diverse audience to their events.“

Getting the practicalities right In the first instance we recruited 36 Young Ambassadors, each of whom was able to attend up to two events at the Festival. The allocation of tickets proved to be a somewhat daunting task. For some Ambassadors, support with transport was required. There needs to be clear communication between Ambassadors and the Festival regarding expectations, roles and responsibilities.



Reaching new audiences

Problems/issues to look out for The Young Ambassadors scheme has been by far the most challenging aspect of our development work; this may in part be because (unlike a number of other Ambassadors Schemes) we targeted young people in Y11/12/13. We might have found it easier if we had worked with an older age range (as other organisations with Young Ambassadors schemes have done) – perhaps 18–25 and/or undergraduates at Leeds and Bradford Universities.

It’s hard for young people to buy into something which is unfamiliar – we might have found it easier to target our 16–18 year old stewards. From time to time we experienced issues with Ambassadors failing to show up for events. Ambassadors’ input into programming has not yet been fully developed; we hope this year to work with one of our partner schools to pilot having young people curate/produce an element of the Children/Young People’s Festival.

General good practice and learning points 18

Good practice Ambassadors are – by definition – self-selecting. We managed to recruit groups of young people who had a pre-existing interest in literature and who were motivated to attend events and to feed back on their experiences. In 2011, Ambassadors for Roundhay School in Leeds contributed reviews from a range of main stage events which they attended. These were published on the Festival website.

Learning points The recruitment of 36 Ambassadors was – on reflection – very ambitious. Each ambassador was given the opportunity to attend two main stage events. Managing and accommodating Ambassadors' requests was sometimes difficult and time consuming. The purpose and function of the ambassadorial scheme needs to be clearly articulated and to be of tangible benefit to Ambassadors.

Specific events for young people at the Festival What we did We created a series of unique events at the Festival specifically for teenagers. These included: WordsFest, a special mini Festival for young people, held in a separate venue which we take over completely for the day.

k Press Pack: Write a Review. k Make a Newspaper in a Day. Young people’s ‘meet the author’ events, where we invite a leading young people’s author to do an event on a weekday evening attended by young people who go to local readers and writers groups.

Two day-long workshops for 12–20 young people aged 12–17, each held on a Saturday during the Festival:

WordsFest What we did WordsFest is an afternoon of writing workshops, author talks and a poetry/sharing slam for young people aged 12–16 held in an attractive, fully accessible local arts centre. We take over the whole building for the day, so between workshops people can chill in the café area. We organise a selection of writing workshops for the young people to choose from. Traditional writing sessions and less traditional ones, with everything from poetry workshops and writing a short story to blogging, graffiti writing, song writing, stories for computer gaming and comic book making. Between these workshops we programme a more traditional ‘meet the author’ event with a popular young people’s writer and finish the day with a ‘slam’ event where the young people can share the work they have created.

19 The afternoon is organised by the Festival Director and Festival Administrator as part of the Young People’s programme for the Festival. We encourage young people to work on the event as stewards alongside experienced CRB checked adults, and we always have a young person running the cafe. We invite our partner schools to bring young people along for the event as well as publicising it through our usual Festival programme and leaflets. This means the participants for the day cover a broad range of backgrounds.

Overall what worked The afternoon is a self contained mini Festival for young people and attracts young people who might be intimidated by our other, larger venues.


Reaching new audiences

The programme opens up new experiences for young people who may have been solely interested in one workshop at the start of the day. Our final poetry slam event is a perfect opportunity for the participants to share their work. Even the young people who were quite apprehensive in the first session enthusiastically take part after getting to know the group and becoming more comfortable.

Feedback Feedback from authors and workshop leaders has been extremely positive; they appreciate the opportunity to work in small groups with such enthusiastic young people.


”They were amazing to work with, a total joy. Thanks also for having me, it was a really rewarding day. I was grinning all evening!“ (workshop leader) Young people enjoy the day and often come back to take part in more events during the Festival. ”I loved it! I am so coming next year!“ "Can't explain how good it was!” ”Interesting to learn new writing techniques.“ ”Great workshops, very interesting to hear about Celia Rees' books.“

Getting the practicalities right It is important to find a headline author who will be of interest to the whole group for the ‘meet the author’ sessions and focus the sessions on writing in general rather than an individual book. Look for workshop leaders with lots of experience working with young people. We find it helps to offer free refreshments and cake for all participants. It’s vital to make sure you have all the materials needed for the workshops with plenty of spares, and access to a photocopier.

Problems/issues to look out for Group bookings by schools are great for reaching young people who may not come alone, but a last minute cancellation can leave a big gap in the number of participants. Factor this in when looking at the event capacity. Some of the more traditional writing workshops such as the poetry session might need some intensive pushing when up against hands on workshops like graffiti writing. Try to control the number of participants in each workshop tightly. 12–16 can be a big age difference in terms of experience and writing ability, workshop leaders need to be flexible and prepared for this. We have used a number of ways of getting the word out to young people of this age including via enthusiastic teachers; a member of the Festival staff going into a school assembly; specific flyers for young people. Although the Festival has a Facebook page young people are not very interested in it.

Young people choose their workshops at WordsFest © Paul Floyd Blake

Specific events for young people at the Festival

General good practice and learning points Good practice Make sure all young people are met and greeted by someone friendly, particularly young people coming alone. It’s essential to have a ‘house manager’ unconnected with the event to look after the building and any young people ‘chilling’ outside events and bring back those wandering. All the essentials of good youth work practice are needed: treating young people with respect; supporting and encouraging them and taking measures to keep them safe and making sure the younger ones are picked up by parents at the end. It’s important to keep the afternoon to time so that everything doesn’t over run and squeeze out the slam session at the end. Find an experienced older young person who can run the slam.

Printed Lies perfoming at a Club Night © David Collins

Learning points The sign up session at the start is vital – this is where young people decide which two workshops to do – have the workshop leaders around and able to explain what a great workshop they are going to run. Make sure everyone staffing the sign up session knows what each workshop involves and can encourage people to try them. It’s important to go into schools and contact young writers groups to let them know how good the afternoon will be. Make sure that any lone adults turning up to the event really are the parents of youngsters who are participating as they say they are.



Reaching new audiences

Press Pack: Write a Review and Make a Newspaper in a Day What we did Working with an experienced journalist, who is also a member of the Festival’s Board, and a graphic design student from Leeds College of Art, we devised two day long workshops for 12–20 young people aged 12–17, held on Saturdays during the Festival in a selfcontained venue with its own kitchenette:

k Press Pack: Write a Review. k Make a Newspaper in a Day.

Make a Newspaper in a Day

The day started with ice breaker exercises, followed by input on what writing a review involves and starter exercises to get people going.

Before the day, we asked a Visual Communication degree student from Leeds College of Art to create a template for the Festival paper as a ‘live brief’ and the journalist running the day worked with the Festival to plan which venues the young people might visit and who they might interview.

After a packed lunch, the young people set out in small groups accompanied by CRB checked Festival staff and stewards and armed with notebooks, to go to a choice of Festival events using their press passes.

The day started with ice breaker exercises, followed by input on what being a journalist entails, some practice interviews in pairs and planning the questions they were going to ask.

At the end of the events they came back to the ‘press room’ to write up their reviews which were then posted in the Festival website or blog.

After a packed lunch, the young people set out in small groups accompanied by CRB checked Festival staff and stewards and armed with notebooks to go and interview Festival authors and staff members.

Press Pack: Write a Review 22

Some of the older teenagers were particularly excited by reviewing intellectually demanding events. Sixth form students who went to an event with feminist historian Sheila Rowbotham were stunned to discover the restrictions on women in the nineteenth century and said the event had changed their lives.

Overall what worked The young people really enjoyed going to events and then writing their own reviews.

They then came back to the ‘press room’ to write up their stories, which were input into the design template by the Vis Com student.

Some of them continued to write reviews long after the workshop and send them to the Festival blog.

The finished paper was printed by the local photocopying shop and distributed to Festival audience members at the end of the day.

Specific events for young people at the Festival

Overall what worked The young people loved creating their own newspaper and the excitement of going out into town to interview famous authors and local retailers. They enjoyed the buzz of seeing the finished newspaper and having copies to take home.

their copy deadlines earlier and liaised with the photocopying shop in advance. As the young people don’t know each other when they arrive, ice breaker exercises are essential.

Problems/issues to look out for

They learnt a huge amount about how to put together a newspaper and their writing and interviewing skills were greatly enhanced.

Putting on days like this is very expensive because of the high level of staffing and needs considerable subsidy.

The young people learned how to collaborate on a joint venture.

We provide juice and biscuits and always prepare for some young people coming without a packed lunch.

Participating authors are very supportive – John Cunliffe, the originator of Postman Pat, stopped for an impromptu interview, Kishwar Desai chatted to them in her dressing room and one of America’s leading writers, Richard Ford, gave young people time after his event.

Getting the practicalities right for both workshops Organising a day long workshop needs a high level of staffing and administration. We work with an experienced CRB checked event manager who is an Arts Awards assessor, two workshop leaders – a journalist (for the Newspaper workshop, two journalists) and the co-leader of the Festival’s young writers group and two or three CRB checked volunteer stewards. You need as many laptops as possible and if possible internet access for both workshops. All the young people need signed parental permission slips and it is made clear that the young people will be going off site in small groups. Parents who want their children to stay on site can say so (in practice this is rare). A timing problem at the first ever Make a Newspaper in a Day workshop meant we failed to hit the deadline for the photocopying shop and the paper wasn’t ready before the young people had to go home. In subsequent years, we have made

Because of the wide age range, young people’s confidence and skill varies enormously. Ideally we would run two sets of workshops for 12–14s and 15–18s. Inevitably, putting a newspaper together under pressure is stressful, and waiting for it to come back from the printers can be boring, so we have to devise ways for handling both. Celebration cake and reviewing the day can help. Some young people can find it difficult to review events they don’t enjoy or can feel overwhelmed by meeting someone famous and need lots of support. Others take to it instantly.

Feedback ”I enjoyed it and I can't wait to see the newspaper. I also met some really nice people.“ ”Really good opportunity to meet authors and learn new techniques about interviewing and writing articles.“ ”It gives children the chance to meet and interview well known authors and poets. It also gives them a chance to write a newspaper with a real journalist. I have really enjoyed it!“ ”This was my only event at the Festival this year but I would definitely come again.“



Reaching new audiences

General good practice and learning points Good practice

Learning points

Make sure all the young people are greeted by someone friendly, particular young people coming alone. It’s essential to have enough supporting CRB checked adult stewards to look after the practicalities of the day eg. preparing drinks, escorting young people to and from venues. Again all the essentials of good youth work practice are needed: treating young people with respect; supporting and encouraging them and taking measures to keep them safe and making sure the younger ones are picked up by parents at the end.


The sign up session at the start is vital – this is where you gather the parental permission forms and any important medical information about the young people concerned. Young writers are often (not always!) quieter in their interaction with each other than say members of a youth theatre. That’s fine – what they love is writing. Without gentle, fun ice breakers (and a juice and biscuit break) it is very hard for the young people to get to know each other. It’s important to go into schools and contact young writers groups to let them know how good the afternoon will be.

It’s important to keep the sessions to time so that everything doesn’t over run and mean they miss events they were going to review/authors they were going to speak to or squeeze out the writing at the end.

Young people’s author events What we did Working with Leeds and Bradford’s Young

People’s Librarians, we made contact with young readers across both districts and invited them to main stage events in Ilkley. Darren Shan, Melvin Burgess and Michelle

Paver proved particularly popular.

Young people were accompanied by librarians and – where travel costs were prohibitive – the Festival met costs. We also invited Ilkley Young Writers Group and made it part of their regular evening programme.

Specific events for young people at the Festival

Overall what worked By working with librarians we attracted keen young readers who nevertheless had not previously attended Festival events. We went on to work with the same groups in subsequent years thus establishing a visit to the Festival as part of the readers’ groups’ schedule of events. Young people attended events with their peers; we feel that this perhaps made it easier for them to contemplate visiting an unfamiliar place. As keen readers, young readers were familiar with authors’ work and were confident in participating in Q&A sessions. A number of young people attending events wrote reviews which were published on the Festival website.

Getting the practicalities right Timings are important; to date young people have attended events on week nights so we have had to take account of travel time in arranging which events they attend. To date, young people have always been accompanied by library staff. This feels very important, particularly for younger visitors whose parents would be less likely to consent to unaccompanied visits.

Problems/issues to look out for As discussed above, timings are important. It’s our view that visits of this type work particularly well on week nights. Young people often have many competing commitments on a weekend and are therefore less likely to show.



Feedback from young people and librarians has been very positive. Numbers of young people attending events from young readers’ groups has grown since we piloted the approach in 2011.

General good practice and learning points Good practice

Learning points

We have tended to extend readers’ group offers to events led by high profile authors whose work young people are familiar with.

A key to the success of this approach is working with Young People’s Librarians who take care of all the publicity for the opportunities.

Librarians and young readers’ groups are given plenty of advance notice of Festival events. Between us, we decide which events are most likely to be of interest to young readers’ groups.

Librarians are allocated a specified number of tickets so that there is a scarcity value to the offer.


Reaching new audiences

Year round projects with young people outside school What we did Meeting a great group of teenagers once a year at the Festival and then losing touch with them was a very frustrating process so we created a series of year round projects for young people. These included:

Regular Club Nights for young people throughout the year where they can perform work they have written themselves. Weekly Young Writers Group. Annual Young Writers Residential Summer School.

Young People’s Club Nights What we did 26

The Festival's Club Nights for young people run at regular intervals throughout the academic year. The Club Nights offer an opportunity for singer songwriters, poets, comedians and bands aged 12–17, who write their own original material to share their work with other young people. The Club Nights regularly attract 8–10 performers each time and audiences of 50100 young people and parents. Running the club nights involves:

k Programming the young performers

through contacting local schools – heads of music and drama are particularly helpful – circulating our customer lists; e-bulletins; items in the local press and on our website.

k Creating in house flyers and publicising the event via visits to local schools, leaflets and posters in relevant shops, press releases to the local press and information on our website. k Booking the staff team. k Creating a running order. k Managing the event on the night.

All the Club Nights are administered by the Festival’s Administrator and Director, with the help of a sound engineer, community musician who supports the young bands and runs the sound check, an MC and venue stewards on the night. We try to attract performers and audiences from as wide a range of schools as possible and to encourage young men and young women to get involved. One of the ways we do this is by inviting young people who receive highly commended in our young people’s writing competition to read at the October Club Night. Organising transport, often individual taxis for this night, is essential.

Overall what worked Young performers and audience members love the Club Nights and they are particularly ideal for teenagers who are too young to go to adult venues and want to be sophisticated but aren’t ready for the big city yet. Club Nights have proved an excellent opportunity for young people to start performing their work in public; for many it is the first time they have shared their work in public and a number of the bands and performers have gone on to be major local success stories.

Year round projects with young people outside school

Many of the young people have stayed in touch with one another, swapping tips, inviting each other to gigs and even swapping band members at times. Club Nights have provided a good first introduction to other Festival events, writing workshops and events. The Club Nights are useful in building a good ongoing relationship between the Festival and local schools and teachers.

Feedback ”My pupils have never experienced anything like it before, they were completely out of their comfort zones at the start, but given the opportunity to overcome their nerves and do something different in such a supportive atmosphere meant they really thrived, and have been still buzzing about it this week!“ ”Amazing, awesome, fun, exciting.“ ”It was nice and I hadn’t performed before.“

Getting the practicalities right

Problems/issues to look out for Some young people performing for the first time will need a lot of encouragement and support, whether technically or simply morale boosting. Bear this in mind when planning the line up and factor in extra time for sound checking. As with all young people’s events, you need to pay close and constant attention to crowd control and behaviour if the event is busy and lively. If things start to get a bit boisterous, step in and have a calming, friendly word. Move furniture quietly out of the way if more dance space is needed. For older performers it is important to bear in mind what is appropriate ‘on stage banter’ and what isn’t. Especially for regular performers who can get carried away as they become more comfortable with the nights. Similarly it is important that new and regular performers are given equal set times and the line up is regularly changed around to stop a particular band/performer dominating the events.

It’s important to have adequate time for all the performers to properly run sound check before the event starts.

Bands tend to be dominated by young men. It is important to find ways to involve young women.

Working with an experienced community musician who can support the young bands and singer songwriters is vital.

How the venue is set out will determine the atmosphere and how the group behave. We use cabaret style seating round tables, with a stage, full lighting and sound rig and projections, with a soft drinks and crisps trolley run by a steward in the venue itself and lots of professional but friendly adults around, in black, with badges.

Have a fun, relaxed MC who can help quell nerves and cover any hiccups – and can layout the ground rules – no stage diving, no crowd surfing, no slam dancing … respect for all the acts … is essential. Visit local school assemblies to talk about the Club Nights and attract an audience. Provide a full set of mics and equipment – including a drum kit – set up on stage rather than ask young people to bring theirs.

Make sure you have plenty of CRB checked adults as part of the team, they should be the people who lead any interaction with teenagers and the only ones who check the toilets at regular intervals. Audience numbers can vary enormously – if say a local school has a show on, or everyone has a coursework deadline.



Reaching new audiences

General good practice and learning points Good practice Young women are often solo singer songwriters. Making it clear that singer songwriters are welcome can help encourage them to perform. It’s essential to have a ‘house manager’ unconnected with the event to look after the building and any young people ‘chilling’ outside the event and bring back any wanderers.


All the essentials of good youth work practice are needed: treating young people with respect; supporting and encouraging them and taking measures to keep them safe – making clear there is no alcohol and zero tolerance for drugs – and making sure the younger ones are picked up by parents at the end. It’s important to give a clear signal that the event has ended – and to end on time so that young people can catch buses and parents can collect them. It’s vital to work out a fair and easy way to administer the voting system on competitive Club Nights so the audience aren’t kept waiting. In the past we have sometimes worked with small groups of young people to organise the event. Greeting young people as they arrive and having a chat about which bands they like makes a connection which can be invaluable later on.

Learning points Competitive nights where the best act wins a prize attract more young women performers. Intervals mean lots of potentially unsupervised young people wandering outside – better to forget having an interval and let people go in and out as needed. Most young people will turn up five minutes before the event starts and buy a ticket then. Don’t worry if advance sales are low. Use a hand stamp with ‘Paid’ or the name of the venue rather than tickets – that way you can see who has handed over their money as they wander in and out meeting their friends. Make sure you stamp the performers hands too! Working with young people to organise the events is very worthwhile but time consuming and it is inevitable that others things – friends, homework, exams etc will intrude on their time. Give yourself extra time to do this. It is possible for a young person to act as a co-MC for the event, but expecting a teenager to front an event with up to 100 other teenagers on their own is unrealistic. Except with the youngest teenagers, who may want to sit with their parents, make a separate adult seating area (we suggest parents sit upstairs) as most 15 year olds would rather die than sit with their Mum or Dad.

Year round projects with young people outside school

Ilkley Young Writers Group What we did In the spring of 2010 we piloted a new Monday evening writing group for young people which ran from 6.30pm–8.30pm. Eight youngsters were involved in the first six sessions. Three years later, there are 16 young people in the group and in the intervening time they have taken part in master classes with Daljit Nagra and Simon Armitage, been part of ‘Stanza Stones’ a major project with Simon Armitage celebrating the Cultural Olympiad, performed in front of 350 people, met other young writers groups, been on an Arvon Centre residential, had their work published in an anthology, visited the Poetry Parnassus at London’s South Bank, met David Almond, appeared on Radio 4 and planned and delivered an event at Ilkley Literature Festival. They are currently working towards their Silver and Bronze Arts Awards. The group is run by Ilkley Literature Festival and led by Michelle Scally Clarke, author, playwright, performer, creative writing and performance facilitator and Becky Cherriman writer, performer and creative writing facilitator. Sessions always start with a warm up followed by a variety of writing activities. After a juice break the young people share their work and give one another advice and comments. The young people have learnt to read and perform their work, to give and receive thoughtful constructive criticism, to deliver writing exercises to each other, to create performances for the public and have explored a huge variety of writing styles from poetry and short story to non-fiction and group pieces.

Overall what worked The young writers love coming to the group. Many of them have made close friendships and say that it is the place they feel most able to be themselves. They have all developed much greater confidence in themselves and their work and have learned a wide range of writing and performing skills. Having two talented, experienced writers leading the group has made all the difference. The Festival has worked to ensure that the Young Writers Group is linked into other exciting opportunities – for example meeting visiting authors and poets, attending events, meeting other young writers who share their enthusiasm for writing. A number of the young writers have chosen to come to Festival events with their parents and friends. One of them now stewards for Festival events and another came to the Festival on work experience from her school. The creative writing facilitators have been involved in a wide range of other Festival activities as a result of their work with the Young Writers Group.

Feedback Feedback from the young people emphasises the central role the young writers group plays in their lives. Some of the young people are now making University applications for places on English and Creative Writing courses. The creative writing facilitators enjoy the work they do with the young people.



Reaching new audiences

Getting the practicalities right Having the right venue is very important. The group currently meets in the large café in a local church complex. There are tables and comfortable chairs and plenty of space to spread out. The group needs a considerable amount of ongoing admin support, liaison and planning from the creative writing facilitators.


The young people develop their writing at different speeds and need different levels of support. Some young people love writing poetry, others prefer fiction so it is important to have a mixture. Some young people find it very hard to read their work out to other people at first. As the group gets bigger, it needs more staff and more admin support time.

Ilkley Young Writers reading at the Festival © David Collins

The group also needs a considerable amount of ongoing admin support (eg. letters and emails home to parents, phone liaison with parents, collecting and checking termly subs, risk assessments) from the Festival office and is supported by the Festival Administrator, Festival Director and the Festival Manager.

Problems/issues to look out for

A dedicated CRB checked volunteer does the practical admin on the night – organising juice and biscuits, washing up, collecting and noting down money and bringing paperwork back to the Festival office. It would be very difficult for the group to operate without her support.

General good practice and learning points Good practice We have aimed to create a safe supportive space in which young writers can flourish. Two writers using their different approaches and working in partnership to facilitate the group has been very successful. We have worked hard to create opportunities for performance, publication and competition wins and to celebrate individual and group achievements.

Learning points The Writers Group facilitators need time to plan for each term. A balance needs to be struck between number of activities and time to focus on the young people's own writing, 'quiet' time and 'busy' time. Running an Arts Awards programme needs a lot of planning to embed it successfully within the programme.

Year round projects with young people outside school

Young Writers Summer School What we did At the end of the 2012 summer holidays we piloted the first-ever Ilkley Literature Festival Young Writers Summer School. We booked a well equipped and attractive small residential centre just outside Leeds for Friday and Saturday night. The residential started at 5pm on Friday and ended after lunch at 2pm on Sunday. Activities included:

k A first night fun writing workshop. k Workshops with the core tutors on

Saturday morning from 10am–12pm.

k Guest workshop on writing poetry by a visiting tutor on Saturday afternoon 2–4pm.

Overall what worked The Summer School was fully booked and hugely successful. The young writers loved having time with their peers, the variety of writing exercises and workshops – and of course staying up late and chatting. The venue was great and fully geared up to groups of children and young people. The core tutors provided an essential through line for all the participants, helped the group to bond and develop those bonds through writing and performance, kept everything on track, supported the young people and were able to advise where individual teenagers could develop their work.

k A reading and question and answer

Having guest tutors gave the core tutors time to recharge their batteries or catch up on some sleep.

k Saturday evening Cabaret where most

There was a wide mix of young people from a range of backgrounds and places and a variety of ages – from 12–18 and from Y7 to people about to go to University to study creative writing.

session with a well known visiting poet, Patience Agbabi, before supper on Saturday afternoon. of the young people and the workshop leaders read their work – Patience Agbabi stayed to watch and join in.

k Guest workshop session on writing a radio play on Sunday morning before a final lunch and evaluation session.

Staff included two core tutors throughout the weekend; a caterer with a first aid qualification; a voluntary support worker (a librarian from a local secondary school) and the Festival Director. All staff had full CRB disclosures. The Summer School was very reasonably priced, included all meals and the Festival offered a limited number of free places plus travel for young people who otherwise would not have been able to come. All we asked was that applications for free places should be supported by a reference from a teacher or youth worker who knew their situation.

The group included participants on the autistic spectrum or with a variety of needs. (In our experience, young writers groups are often a haven from young people with Aspergers.) We briefed all staff on how best to support these young people, talked to their parents about how to help them settle in and how/when to give medication reminders. They all had a fantastic time and made close friendships. Providing clear timetables and understanding how best to explain things to young people on the autistic spectrum was very useful.



Reaching new audiences

Feedback Feedback from the young people was extremely positive, 96% of them rating it as ‘excellent’. The core tutors and workshop leaders really enjoyed the whole experience – although they were very tired!

Getting the practicalities right Booking the right venue is key. There need to be enough relaxed workshop spaces, pleasant bedrooms and a good eating and cooking area, close enough to civilisation for emergency help if its needed but far enough away to ensure ‘walking to the shop/ supermarket/pub’ isn’t an attractive option.


Making sure that there will be food that all the young people enjoy and feel they can eat is important. The Summer School caterer even conjured up special dishes for youngsters who admitted that they only really liked what their Mums cooked. Carefully working out who would share bedrooms was important – there can be a vast difference between a 12 year old and a 17 year old – and encouraged new friendship groups to develop. Working out which staff would cover what, including bedtime and night duty and identifying when people can have real breaks is essential. Having clear emergency procedures; an extensive first aid kit; medical forms from each participant and clear ways of recording medical incidents/accidents and over the counter medication is vital.

Tadeeb International New Writers reading at the Festival © David Collins

Problems/issues to look out for It is helpful (although adds to the expenditure) to have additional members of staff looking after the young people overnight so that the core tutors can get uninterrupted sleep. It is important to establish ground rules (around issues like bedtime, supporting each other and so on) with the young people at the start of the residential. Some young people may feel isolated, shy or homesick and will need extra support. Whoever is cooking will need access to a catering kitchen and food hygiene training – and preparing vegetables, serving out food, laying tables and clearing up around 30 hurry teenagers means you will need a full time kitchen assistant.

Year round projects with young people outside school

General good practice and learning points Good practice It is important to plan the weekend carefully so that there is lots to do and also some free time where the teenagers can relax or do their own writing. It is important to provide tutors who have a variety of writing approaches to cater for all interests and awaken new ones.

Learning points It is helpful for guest tutors to have a conversation with the core tutors beforehand about what they are planning to do and for them to be aware that core tutors will be taking a break in their sessions. It is important to allow plenty of time and have as many staff as possible around when people first arrive to show young people their rooms (and in some cases help them make up their beds), chat to parents who need to share information about their youngster and help people settle in. The chance to meet and talk to a visiting writer was a high point.


Summer School participants Š David Collins


Reaching new audiences

A new literary prize for Black and Asian women writers What we did We worked with Leeds Soroptimists International and Peepal Tree Press to pilot a new literary prize: The SI Leeds Literary Prize for unpublished fiction by Black and Asian women aged 18 and over resident in the UK. The prize, created and run by Soroptomists Interational of Leeds, aims to act as a loudspeaker for Black and Asian women’s voices, and a platform to discover exciting new talent, from a group largely underrepresented on people's bookshelves.


The Prize was launched at the Festival and the inaugural Prize was awarded at the 2012 Festival. The Festival was represented on the Prize Steering Group and continues to support the ongoing development of the Prize.

Overall what worked The Prize attracted over 60 entrants in its first year with a very high standard of entries and an excellent shortlist. A number of high profile patrons were recruited namely Bidisha, Margaret Busby, Diane Howse, Yasmin Alibhai–Brown, Bernardine Evaristo, Maureen Maguire and Bonnie Greer. 1st prize of £2,000 was awarded to Minoli Salgado for A Little Dust on the Eyes but all the shortlisted writers really valued the experience. Each of the partner organisations gave their area of expertise – Peepal Tree Press for example led on the submission and judging process; Ilkley Literature Festival led on staging the award event and advised on funding bids and entry forms.

Feedback SI Leeds is currently seeking feedback from longlisted entrants. This will feed into the development and planning of the 2014 Prize.

Getting the practicalities right An enormous amount of work by a very experienced, professional project manager was essential to set up, administer and publicise the Prize. Ilkley Literature Festival identified the Festival’s Development Worker as the ongoing link with the Prize and meetings with the steering group to ensure continuity, and this took up a significant amount of time. The support of the Prize’s patrons in publicising the Prize was invaluable. Detailed and well evidenced research into why the Prize was needed was essential. It was useful for funders, and to enable the organisers to explain to members of the public why the Prize was for a specific group of women. Taking advice and models of practice from other long running prizes prevented reinventing the wheel.

Problems/issues to look out for Any prize, particularly a new prize, means constant queries from members of the public. Some of the questions will be unexpected. Responding to them is important but time consuming.

A new literary prize for Black and Asian women writers

General good practice and learning points Good practice It is important to think through every detail of who and what is eligible in advance. Meticulous organisation of the award ceremony and rehearsals on the day for the participants is an important part of making everything run smoothly.

Learning points Setting a smaller (rather than larger) number of words for the submissions helps writers and judges. Taking the time to consult and think through the ramifications of answers to questions from applicants is vital.

35 Minoli Salgado receiving the inaugural SI Literary Prize from Maureen Maguire (SIGBI President). With Chair of Judges Margaret Busby and Prize Patron Bonnie Greer Š Max Farrah


Reaching new audiences

Credits Development Worker Dawn Cameron Ilkley Literature Festival Director

Rachel Feldberg

Festival Manager Gail Price Festival Administrator Laura Beddows Marketing and Sponsorship Director Abbey Vale

Ilkley Young Writers Group Writing facilitators: Michelle Scally Clarke and Becky Cherriman Support volunteer: Jane Floweth

Young People’s Club Nights Music support: Richard Sabey The Big Hoo Haa Company, Nick Field, MC Philip Charles. Tech support: Peter Earle, Adam Welch, Chris Bradley, Dave Wallbank, and Nic Shipp

Make a Newspaper and Write a Review Workshops


Andrea Hardaker, Becky Cherriman Students from Leeds College of Art

Summer School Writing facilitators: Michelle Scally Clarke and Becky Cherriman. Guest tutors: Andrew MacMillan, Peter Spafford, Patience Agbabi Support volunteer: Adrian Thompson Catering: Fiona Drake

SI Leeds Literary Prize Leeds Soroptomists International, Peepal Tree Press, Fiona Goh Thanks to the following, without whose support, these projects would not have been possible: Staff and pupils at Laisterdyke Business and Enterprise College, Grange Technology College, Belle Vue Girls’ School, Carlton Bolling School, Allerton Grange School, David Young Community Academy, Roundhay School, Alwoodley Primary School, Ilkley Grammar School, Menston Primary School, Dixons Academy. Staff at Bradford Library

Lineham Farm

Sandra Whyles

Staff at Leeds Library

Bradford Action for Refugees

Trish Cooke

Cartwright Hall, Bradford

Chapeltown Children’s Centre

Leeds College of Art

Harewood House

Artworks Bradford

Daljit Nagra

Christchurch Church Hall, Ilkley Aim Higher

Patience Agbabi

Ilkley Library

Leeds and Bradford Children’s Universities

Moniza Alvi

Otley Courthouse

Leeds Black Elders Association

Raman Mundair

Visiting family enjoy the Poetry Hotspot at the Festival Š Paul Floyd Blake


The Manor House, 2 Castle Hill, Ilkley LS29 9DT festival office 01943 601210 box office 01943 816714 fax 01943 817079 email @ilkleylitfest

Registered In England and Wales Company No: 1061343. Ilkley Literature Festival is a registered charity. Charity No: 501801.

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