I'm a writer, teacher, academic researcher, and run WordQuake/ The beverley Literature in the East Riding of Yorkshire.
I deliver creative writing classes in variety of contexts and locations, with a particular interest in using places, objects and the visual arts as starting points for writing.
I have also worked as a director and I am a trained actor. These skills enable me to get the kind of enjoyable and challenging conversation started that leads to participants developing their potential.
As a writer I have published poems, fiction and documentary articles and have written reports for government and other arts organisations.
As a curator of the fine and decorative arts, I have had the opportunity to work with John on a number of occasions at both Burton Constable Hall and, in my previous position, as curator of Beverley Art Gallery. John is a talented, creative and inspiring teacher. His workshops are always well attended and very much in demand. He has a knack for getting the very best out of all workshop participants: encouraging them to view the Hall, its collections, and its various histories in a variety of ways. Through the summer of 2004, John delivered a number of highly successful workshops to complement our Maids and Mistresses exhibition. He appeals to adult learners of all ages. Having enticed a group of sixth form students from South Holderness to visit the Hall (and exhibition) and attend John's Creative Writing Workshop, the students were so inspired by John's work that they established their own weekly Creative Writing Workshop on their return to school.
I have no hesitation in highly recommending John Clarke for this position.
Curator, Burton Constable Hall
In Summer 2003 I commissioned John Clarke to run a creative writing workshop for families at Scarborough Art Gallery. His brief was to encourage members of the group to explore to explore their response to an exhibition of abstract wall hangings and framed painted textiles by contemporary artist Sally Greaves-Lord.
Approximately twenty people attended the workshop, the children ranging in age from six to thirteen.
The session was productive and enjoyable. John has excellent people skills and quickly put the group at ease with a series of warm-up ?word games? that prepared everyone for the activities that followed. As the afternoon progressed, both adults and children began to think about language in a new way, relating words to colours, shapes, patterns and emotions.
Feedback from the group showed that they had enjoyed themselves, that they hadn?t expected to ?see? so much in abstract art, and that they were proud of what they had achieved. The workshop exceeded my own expectations in terms of both the level of engagement with the artwork and the quality and variety of the spoken and written response.
Working with John was enjoyable and inspiring. He is organised, reliable and well prepared. His response to the project brief was thoughtful and imaginative. He pitched his delivery at the right level for the group ? no mean feat given the wide range of ages ? and created a supportive environment in which participants found the confidence to be adventurous in their use of language.
Should the opportunity arise I would have no hesitation in working with John again.
Former Curator of Art at Scarborough Art Gallery
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