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Cavan Students Creative Writing Trip to West Yorkshire, England

16 April 2014
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Four students from the Turas and EBT Programmes in National Learning Network Cavan travelled to the Avron Lumbank Centre in West Yorkshire and Manchester, to attend a two week Creative Writing workshop supported by two staff. We worked in partnership with the Social Inclusion Office and the Arts Office in Cavan County Council to secure funding, under the Leonardo Da Vinci People in the Labour Market Programme. Six other people with an interest in writing, from around the county also availed of the programme.

The National Learning Network Cavan students developed their interest in writing, initially, whilst attending a series of locally based creative writing workshops, also funded by the Arts Office and as part of their Creative Sessions module with NLN.

Before travelling the Group were facilitated to research the project, its expectations and objectives, allowing them to prepare creatively and socially for the trip. On Sunday 2nd March the group flew from Belfast to Manchester and spent one week at the Avron Lumbank Centre, where they attended daily morning group workshops, while afternoons were allocated to individual writing time and one-to-one tutorials with the writing tutors. The group worked together in the evenings to prepare and cook the evening meal with local fresh produce, and also enjoyed readings from guest authors.

The group then moved from the peace and tranquillity of this remote location, near the village of Hebden Bridge, to the hustle and bustle of Central Manchester for the second week. There they continued to write and work with their tutors, prompted by their new environment and they attended a number of cultural activities including two trips to the theatre, and art gallery and a war museum. As a bonus, football fans were delighted to get the opportunity to visit Old Trafford Football grounds.

The group returned home on Saturday 15th March. A busy, but wonderful fortnight was had by all, providing immense personal and creative growth for everyone involved. On return, the group spent a morning evaluating their trip and submitting their forms online.

It is now planned that members of the group may take part in ‘Readings’ of their work as part of Cavan Arts Festival and possibly in the future, some of their writings may be incorporated into a publication, depicting both images of visual arts and extracts of writings created during their Creative Sessions Module. National Learning Network Cavan is hoping to work with Cavan County Council again in 2015, perhaps offering another group of learners a similarly wonderful opportunity.

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