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Action Learning
NAWE aims to put creativity at the heart of education. NAWE is a charity funded largely by its members fees and donations.
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NAWE Writers in Education Action Learning Programme

Writers in Education action learning programme: free group coaching to help you weather the pandemic storm.

With people across our sector struggling to make sense of how we’ll live and make a living while Covid-19 continues to make its impact felt on our daily lives, the need for peer support has arguably never been greater. That’s why NAWE is really excited to be launching a new virtual action learning programme for writers in education.

Imagine having a team of brilliant inspiring coaches – and you’re in the right ballpark

So, what is action learning, and why do writers find it useful?

Imagine having a team of brilliant, inspiring coaches - working with you to help you with the big decisions you need to make - and you’re in the right ball park. Sounds great, right? That’s what you’ll get if you join our new virtual action learning programme - that, and the chance to develop your own facilitation skills.

Action learning involves working on real problems, focusing on learning and actually implementing solutions. It can really stretch your thinking and is great for tackling the isolation that often goes with being a writer – even in normal times, never mind these uniquely challenging times. And it works brilliantly online, using Zoom to bring peers together.

What’s the story with this programme? When’s it happening?

We’ve teamed up with creative social enterprise the hub to deliver this programme. Through it, 8 writers in education will have the chance to come together as part of a new action learning set, to help each other develop new insights, plans and understanding that will help you all weather the ongoing Covid 19 storm. They’ll also receive support to set up their own follow-up action learning sets with other writers later in the year. By the end of 2020, we hope that plans will be in train to provide action learning support for a further 60+ writers.

The deadline to apply was 6 September 2020. Applications for this first set are now closed.

When’s it happening, and who’s involved?

Our initial action learning set will meet weekly on Zoom, on Wednesdays (2-5pm) between 23 September and 11 November 2020. Each session will be led by the hub’s Director, Julia Payne, who’s run sets for hundreds of creative freelancers up and down the country – from creative producers to illustrators, composers, copywriters and even acrobats – and is currently heading up a national action learning programme, funded by Arts Council England.

Here’s what she has to say about action learning: 

For me, being part of an action learning set has been the single most useful investment I’ve made in my professional development in the past decade, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Since training as an action learning facilitator a decade ago I’ve seen over and over again, how it supports set members to unlock really powerful reflection, decision making and action – true lightbulb moments’ – and have seen set members increase their confidence and resilience. It’s incredible how quickly bonds of trust and relationships develop, and I love how everyone leaves each session with new energy and resolve.

I think the key to action learning’s success in our sector is that action learning sets provide a structured process for reflecting on experience with a group of peers. It’s not about giving answers, but about helping people to find them themselves, through careful listening, asking open questions and providing thoughtful feedback.”

So, how does action learning work, and what will you actually do?! Watch our video and the recording of the Zoom Q&A session we ran on September 1st… 

To get you more inside how action learning works, the hub has put together this short video that should give you a really good idea of what to expect.


What will I get from taking part?

Loads. But if you want the long answer…Across your 8 set meetings, you’ll get inside how action learning works, present about your own challenges, opportunities and dilemmas, help your fellow set members unlock their own new insights, and learn about how to become an action learning facilitator yourself. Through taking part you’ll gain…

• New insights and solutions
• A new peer network – a go to bunch of peers you can trust to help you fathom stuff out
• New skills that will help you develop your business and career
• The knowledge, experience and confidence to set up your own action learning set

So, if you could do with some support yourself to chart a new course, make some good decisions or just explore the future - and would also like to develop new skills to go on to support other writers – this could be for you!

How much will it cost to take part?

Nothing! The programme is fully funded by NAWE, thanks to national lottery support through Arts Council England. All we ask is that you commit to taking part in all of your ‘set’ meetings, so that you and your fellow members get the most from the experience, and that – if you decide action learning is for you – you’ll have a go at setting up your own follow-on set afterwards.

How do I Apply?

Applications for the first Action Learning set are now closed. Thank you to those who've applied - we will be in touch with applicants with an outcome on Wednesday 16th September. If you would like to be kept informed about future opportunities, please email Fiona Mason to be added to the Action Learning mailing list.

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