Monday, October 3, 2016

On offer throughout October

The Workshop Handbook is on special offer - throughout October it costs just £5. This is what Arc Publications has to say about it:

We are delighted to announce a new ebook from our award-winning poet, Jackie Wills. This time, Jackie has drawn on her decades of successful writing workshops to create the definitive handbook for writers and other artists who are, or are considering, leading workshops in all kinds of industries and environments.

Jackie Wills has run workshops for marketers, farmers, homeless men, young asylum seekers – people with power, people who are displaced and dispossessed.

Over more than 20 years, she has explored how writing can help people express themselves through workshops in settings as varied as a rural boathouse, youth bus, a secure unit, offices, youth hostel and medical school.

Wills has drawn on her experiences of learning on the job to bring together a collection of case studies, guidance on how to planmanage workshop timing, the questions to ask before a workshop, keeping records and finding ideas.

The Handbook is aimed at writers who want to run workshops themselves, as well as arts administrators who employ writers.

Workshops Jackie ran for Eurotunnel helpline staff won the Arts & Business SE 2006 Award for Best Use of the Arts and a project for Unilever/Lever Faberge was shortlisted for the 2007 Arts and Business Employee Awards.

From giving teachers time out to develop their own creativity to helping medical students find new ways to empathise with patients, Wills has unrivalled experience in running workshops in the most diverse places.

“Haven’t felt this refreshed since I was just out of shorts – It was liberating to write again without a computer or agenda.” Feedback from a workshop in Business.

In The Workshop Handbook Wills explores different models of workshop, how to organize material for a daya week or a residency lasting several months, and how a workshop facilitator can develop original creative exercises.

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Workshop Handbook for Writers - available soon

Available from end of week ending 9 September
2016 from Arc Publications
I first encountered a writing workshop when I was with a news agency in Reading. The office was above a chip shop at Cemetery Junction. It was in the days when a mobile phone was shared, charged in the boss's car and we carried pagers to collect messages from the office landline. On my way home to Guildford at 2 am I'd be looking for phone boxes when the bleeper went off and have to shout a code into the handset to activate the answer phone in the office.

It was hard graft. And I didn't mind that but I wanted a reward. On my way home was South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell and I discovered it was running a poetry workshop. I signed up.

The smell of chips, chasing nuclear missile convoys around the Berkshire countryside, door stepping bereaved people or celebrities were all steps towards writing differently. And as I began to write poems and publish some in magazines other things changed too. I split up with a boyfriend and moved to Brighton. There I met the poets Don Paterson and Eva Salzman. We set up Brighton Poets and began inviting other poets to do readings as well as workshops. Then we began running workshops ourselves.

I learned on the job. Twenty years of how I learned, the workshops I ran, the records I kept and collaborations are compressed into this Ebook.

I look at how to structure a workshop, different models, schedules for short and long workshops and residencies and how to develop original materials.

There are case studies in it of work with Unilever (Lever Brothers, Lever Faberge), Rambert Dance, the London Symphony Orchestra, teachers, schools, museums and galleries and of my first long residency in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I end with some sample workshop exercises that I've tried and tested and have a particular soft spot for.

Available from Arc Publications week ending 9 September 2016 as an Ebook.
Arc Publications: Phone: +44 (0) 1706 812338   Email: info[at]