Previous Year's Programme (2012)
Celebrating 25 years of supporting writers in education
It has to be coincidence that this anniversary sees NAWE's work reach a moment of such fruition, but it's certainly a happy one. Six years after we first discussed the possibility, a Creative Writing A Level is finally waiting in the wings; a major project researching Creative Writing in HE is addressing the rapid growth of the discipline; and our organization that started in such a small way those 25 years ago has established itself not only as Subject Association but a self-sustaining network thriving without the support (or shackles) of public funds. There are inevitably new issues and challenges, of which the proposed accreditation for writers in schools is just one. The whole spectrum of writing in education is affected by these developments and the NAWE conference is truly unique in addressing them from all angles.
It's less coincidental that our programme is headlined by the northern voices characteristic of the organization's origins. David Morley was Development Worker for NAWE in the early '90s, effectively initiating the job I do today, and now leads one of the UK's most prestigious writing programmes, at the University of Warwick; Ian McMillan, involved from the start, has played an incomparable role in the promotion of writers working in schools, leading the way as an inspiration for so many other NAWE members, while also blazing a comic presence across our television screens; Simon Armitage has been featured as a poet on the school curriculum and is now a writer of international renown in a whole variety of genres; Alan Bennett, NAWE Patron for the whole 25 years, is simply a literary legend. We are privileged to have these distinguished writers joining us to stimulate, celebrate and provoke.
The overall programme has once again expanded to cater for the wealth of submissions received. The competitive scenario is a healthy one but we are of course sorry that there were interesting proposals we had to exclude. Our aim has been for a balanced programme with plenty of choice and minimal overlap. There are sessions on teaching and research in HE, for writers in schools and community, and workshops on craft, applicable to a variety of contexts, some with a multi-artform focus. There is also a strand of sessions addressing international issues and/or delivered by colleagues from overseas. We have not labelled the strands as we felt that might seem to restrict their relevance and discourage you from moving from one to another. We hope that the plan is nevertheless clear, and that our conference proves a thoroughly rewarding and entertaining experience for all involved.
Paul Munden, Director, NAWE