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Writing on the Wall awarded £239,000 by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Writing on the Wall awarded £239,000 by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation to deliver Super Heroes Project over four years in Merseyside Schools

We are thrilled to announce that we have been successfully awarded £239,000 by The Paul Hamlyn Foundation to expand our hugely successful Super heroes: Words are our Power project in schools in Merseyside. The funding will provide a new job opportunity for a Schools Coordinator to join their dynamic staff team and oversee this exciting project.

Super Heroes: Words are our Power is a literacy project that will allow primary school children in Merseyside to find the Super Hero within, using writing and creativity for the greater good, changing how we view and understand creative education in in schools. As part of the Arts Based Learning More and Better Fund, WoW will be working in eight primary schools in Merseyside to provide arts based learning through creative writing, poetry, spoken word and illustration. 


City of Light, City of Sanctuary

Writing on the Wall partnered with Lantern Company to bring City of Light, City of Sanctuary, a magical floating city of lanterns on the park’s boating lake from 20th to 24th February. Over the weekend, we had thousands of people visit the installation and listen to the soundscape that WoW helped curate with writing workshops about light, home, city and belonging. 

‘Downtown. Lights on buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.’
Stephen Chbosky

I remember reading this as a teenager, not necessarily my favourite of books, but it resonated with me, stirring something that began my life-long fascination with cities.

When the Lantern Company approached us at Writing on the Wall (WoW) to partner on this project, City of Light, City of Sanctuary, I jumped at the chance. Obviously, the idea of a floating city of lanterns captivated me but it was the opportunity to talk to people and communities about cities, about what they mean to us. An opportunity to share memories, some positive, some painful, to create new, exciting work and then go on to record it all. That to me, seemed like the perfect project.

WoW worked alongside four wonderful writers, Cheryl Martin, Ashleigh Nugent, Jeff Young and Lizzie Nunnery, to deliver writing workshops with people from across our city. Some had been here all their lives, some were newly arrived, some were here for shelter, others found love and never left. It was a melting pot of experiences and that was what made it so important.

There is something about being in a city isn’t there? Completely surrounded by life but also being entirely alone at the same time. Somewhere were anything is possible. Cities can be a source of great joy, nights out when lights, and memories, blur into one, journeying out into new streets in unknown places, but they can also be a place of great pain. Stories of isolation, fear and loss littered this project but there was an overwhelming sense of resilience and happiness too.

My previous jobs have given me the great pleasure of working with people from all over the world, particularly with people who have come to this city to seek refuge, in search of support or a ‘better life’, whatever that may mean. I know all to well the importance of community and acceptance, feeling like we belong. That can be a long, fraught process for some but I think this project offered an opportunity to support existing communities and to create new ones, to have others not only listen to our stories but understand our experience.

And it isn’t just people coming into our city that found a voice through this project, as we get older there can be a sense that we lose a connection to the places we live. They change before us, as do our lives, our bodies, our health, our relationships to ourselves and our cities, often without our approval. Memories and stories from older communities were vital to building this project, bringing together the young and the old, the new and the traditional and realising that cities belong to everyone and should welcome us all.

We laughed, we cried, but most importantly we shared. And that is the power of telling our stories. Standing up and being heard. We are part of the fabric of this city, our memories line its streets and long after we have gone our words will remind those after us that we were here.

Emma Hulme

Programme Manager

‘I thought it was such a magical event. Walking through Sefton felt like walking through a dream. I think an awful lot of people will want it as an annual thing.  It was probably the best event Liverpool has had in a long time and the standard of events in this city is very high.  I would even say it was better than the giants - for someone who is not from Liverpool it definitely gave me a huge sense of belonging to this city.’

- Nina McCallig

'Looking back at the installation it was quite an emotional experience listening to the stories mingling with the music and looking out across the lake at the lights. It was wonderful to see that so many people had turned up to experience the event. It reinforced to me that the arts should be inclusive and I think the fact that the event was free to the public was important .All people should feel that art, in all its forms, is accessible for them.'

- Janet Gardiner

'I felt really proud to be a part of City of Light. Not only because it was a beautiful and poignant installation but it was overwhelming to see so many people attending and enjoying it! The weekly workshops were incredibly beneficial to me; my confidence in my own writing ability grew because I was getting regular, attentive and tailored feedback from the workshop facilitators and our peers. Having a clear focus (writing for the installation) meant I was able to apply my learning in that context. Plus I really valued feeling a part of a community of writers.' 

- Hayley Greggs

'The City of Light Installation exceeded my expectations in that the lanterns looked even more beautiful than I had anticipated and the soundscape added to the charm of the theme. It was lovely to hear everybody's pieces but especially thrilling to hear my own and I am extremely proud to have been part of such a wonderful event. It felt as if the whole of Liverpool had come out to celebrate our work.'

- Irene Stuart 
Have a listen below to our supporting artists who helped on the project:

Have a listen to more snippets here 

Esmée Fairburn Foundation

Esmée Fairburn Foundation award Writing on the Wall £154,500 over three years towards core costs to support the organisation’s work developing literature and literacy with diverse communities in Liverpool. The three-year grant allows WoW to secure the full-time employment of two young women, Lauren Buxton and Katrina Paterson, who were previously employed through the Ways to Work Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) Scheme, designed to reach unemployed young people in Liverpool.

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WoWcast: Listen to our first podcast

We have created our very new podcast, WoWcast. Every month, we will be interviewing the people we work with and finding out more about their story - whether they have been guests, participants or have volunteered with us. Ariel Kahn is our first guest on this episode, he is a published author of Raising Sparks, which has been shortlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, as well as being a Pulp Idol finalist in 2017. Keep your ears open for more episodes to follow. 

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Black History Month at WoW

As part of Black History Month, Writing on the Wall are planning a series of exciting events with a focus on the legacy of the Liverpool 8 Law Centre, a screening of a new film based on the 1919 Race Riots with the return of the hugely successful Walking Tour tracing the events of this watershed moment and the launch of a debut novel by a local author. 

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Lights in the Distance - Migration History on our Shores

On Thursday 11th October, Toxteth library hosted a very important conversation regarding two era-defining issues: migration and Brexit. Appropriately hosted by WoW (Writing on the Wall) as a part of their Black History Month series, journalist Daniel Trilling,social and urban geographer Dr Arshad Isakjee, reader in human geography Dr Kathy Burrell and PhD candidate/author Emy Onuora,joined in a dialogue exploring European migration history. All panellists were in conversation with Lida Amiri, STAR (Student Action for Refugees) member and PhD candidate, who studies literature by translingual authors of Afghanistani origin. The panel discussion covered Trilling’s latest publication Lights in the Distance, Dr Isakjee’s viewpoint on migration and memories, Burrell’s insight into European migration in relation to her recent interviews with Polish migrants and important relevant historical context about black history in Liverpool from Onuora.


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17th November: 'Measuring Up'

Measuring Up
In partnership with The Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
Funded by The Arts Council
Performance Saturday 17th November
Ev1 2.30pm and 7.30pm
As part of DaDa Fest 2018

Photographs by AB Photography:
1: Stephanie standing on the left, mandy sitting on right leaning forward, with tape measure stretched horizontally in front of her.
 2: Craig playing guitar on left, Mandy kneeling on one knee centre, with Perkins Brailler on table right.
3: The back of Matt left, Mandy sitting at table with Perkins Brailler in front of her and arms stretched out, on right. 

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Daniel Trilling: 'We haven’t reconciled with Britain’s history as an empire'

WoW sat down with journalist and writer, Daniel Trilling to talk about Lights in the Distance - Migration History on our Shores, an event on migration history which will take place on 11th October as part of WoW's Black History Month festival. You can buy tickets here for the event

Please introduce yourself.

Hello, I’m editor of New Humanist - a magazine of ideas, science and culture that began publication in 1885, although I obviously haven’t been editor for that long - and a freelance writer and reporter who contributes to the Guardian and London Review of Books among others. I’m also the author of two books: Bloody Nasty People: The Rise of Britain’s Far Right (Verso, 2012), and Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe (Picador, 2018).

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