Over two weeks in January Hay Festival Scribbler’s Tour brought an exciting mix of stories, experiences, writing tips and empathy for the concerns of young people to school children across South East Wales.
The tour was supported by First Campus at both the University of South Wales and Cardiff Metropolitan University and featured four days of high quality talks and performances linked to the power of the written word. Extraordinary speakers and compères spent time with the pupils, on and off the stage, encouraging ideas and conversations about the many issues raised.
Around 300 pupils attended from Fitzalan High School, Ysgol Gyfun Cymer Rhondda, St Illtyds Roman Catholic School, Llanishen High School, Willows High School, Pencoed Comprehensive, Pontypridd High, Llanwern High and Llangatwg Community School.
The interactive sessions aimed at years 7 and 8 featured award-winning Welsh author and storyteller Daniel Morden, and poet, author and playwright Eric Ngalle Charles, who claimed asylum in Wales after overcoming human trafficking and living on the streets in Russia.
Year 9 and 10 pupils, worked with broadcaster and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney and Steven Camden aka Polarbear, one of the UK’s most acclaimed spoken-word artists.
Year 9 student Eve Williams from Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda, who attended said: “I really enjoyed meeting the authors today and hearing their advice. I could really relate to what Gemma was talking about. It was a good chance to visit Cardiff Met too and think about what it would be like to go to university.”
Carly Phillips, English teacher at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhondda said: “Our student feedback from these events has been exceptional. The speakers have been great at engaging our pupils and it’s been a fantastic opportunity for the children to develop their writing skills. We’ve heard from a lot of inspirational individuals across the two sessions and it has been a hugely positive experience all around.”
Anthony Beard, teacher from Llanwern High School, Newport said “The Scribblers tour was a fantastic opportunity for our young people to meet and engage with professional writers at University of South Wales and to gain insight into the creative process. It was a fun and inspirational day that the students will remember.”
Aine Venables, Education Manager at Hay Festival, said: “In these free festival days for young people, we are telling stories, asking questions and listening to build empathy and creativity through the power of reading and writing. The aim is to start conversations with young people to hear their voices.”
Hay Festival Scribblers Tour is funded by the Welsh Government and is part of the festival’s wider outreach and education work that includes free schools days, Hay Academy, Hay Compass, and the Hay Levels, a series of free educational videos.