The Hospitalfield Workshop for Schools started with students and teachers from Angus, Dundee and Fife schools joining the roundtable on education and teaching in main conference, “Taking Ideas for a Walk”. Exchanges were frank and free on writing within the school environment and its constraints, the latter a result of mixed ability classrooms and the urgent task of preparing students for exams and coursework assessments. We certainly learnt much about the contexts in which the school curriculum is delivered.
School pupils at the conference were then divided into three separate groups and given some time to explore the lovely rooms and grounds of Hospitalfield as inspiration for their writing. Some were invited to read short fragments of texts chosen specially for the workshop, and tasked with stitching their own in-situ writing with lines from these texts, to see how creative writing might be sparked from reading, and built on the stones that others had already put in place. Others were invited to create word hoards from what they see, even invent words. Consulting Robert MacFarlane’s Glossary in Landmarks, these word hoards were then used to create small fragments of creative texts – poetry or prose - to see where their lexical energy might spool out. Still others were encouraged to use a line from Graham Domke’s art exhibition at the conference, “Nowhere better than this place” or “Somewhere better than this place”, and write about the experience of walking through the rooms in Hospitalfield House, looking also at maps from the House library to stitch to their own imaginative or real landscapes.
To read our students responses to this project click here