Funding boost will give young people in Norwich the chance to create literature festival
- Credit: Jo Millington
A group of young people are to be given the chance to create their very own literature festival after Writers' Centre Norwich was awarded £40,000 in European Union funding for the project.
The Creative Europe grant, awarded to WCN as part of a larger bid with PEN Català (Catalan PEN), Barcelona, and Krakow UNESCO City of Literature, will give 10 Norwich students from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to take part in the international scheme.
They will have training sessions with experts from local arts organisations and also travel to Krakow, Norwich's partner UNESCO City of Literature in Poland, where they will see other young people produce a poetry slam festival. Following on from this they will create their own festival that will explore freedom of speech in the global and digital world.
Jonathan Morley, Writers' Centre Norwich programme director, said: 'We are living in an age when barriers between nations and social groups seem to be increasingly promoted. For this reason, this investment from the European Union's shared cultural fund into the education and life chances of young people in Norfolk is to be welcomed. Through this project's networked approach, reading and writing have the power to transform our young people's lives by opening their minds to new, international perspectives – broadening their horizons and deepening their social awareness.'
International artists, activists and organisations with links to the global International Cities of Refuge Network will be invited to perform, speak and do workshops with young audiences as part of the festival.
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Justyna Jochym, head of international cooperation at Krakow UNESCO City of Literature, said: 'Young people must have the opportunity to come into contact with different worldviews and experiences from their own, so that they can develop understanding and empathy, celebrate diversity, and respect the rights of others, including freedom of expression and speech. Insularity is a great danger in today's world; dialogue and cooperation can challenge it.'
The project builds on the success of WCN's Young Ambassador Scheme. WCN plans to recruit the young people later this year and the festival is scheduled take place in July 2019.
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