In 2016 a team of storytellers from Sydney Story Factory visited Wee Waa to run creative writing workshops with students at Wee Waa High School. Now they’re back, to celebrate the launch of State of Mind, a book of stories, memoirs and poems written by over 100 young people from across New South Wales.
On Thursday 12 October Dr Cath Keenan, co-founder and 2016 Australian of the Year Local Hero, and Richard Short, Sydney Story Factory Storyteller-in-Chief, are at Coonamble High to present copies of the book that their students helped write.
The Sydney Story Factory team are also running more creative writing workshops with students at the school, to keep the creativity flowing. Workshops involve a range of fun writing activities that allow teenagers to explore some big questions: What matters to them? What memories do they cherish? What hopes do they harbour? What, in short, is their state of mind?
Founded in Redfern (Sydney) in 2012 by Dr Cath Keenan and Tim Dick, the Sydney Story Factory is a not-for-profit creative writing centre for young people, particularly those most at risk of losing confidence in their writing abilities and switching off at school. They run workshops that improve writing skills and confidence, and boost educational outcomes.
“We believe that all Australian young people, no matter their background, should be given opportunities to develop the communication skills and flexibility of thinking that will allow them to live their lives to their full potential and flourish in a rapidly changing world,” says Dr Keenan.
The State of Mind project saw Sydney Story Factory run workshops throughout 2016 with more than 800 high-school students from 35 schools across New South Wales, from Bourke to Byron Bay and Mt Druitt to Maroubra. Each school was packed full of teenagers with creative and compelling stories to tell. The professionally published State of Mind book collects some of the best of these stories and poems for all to enjoy. The project was made possible with support from Create NSW and the St George Foundation.
State of Mind is now on sale for $25 at sydneystoryfactory.org.au Free teaching resources are available so that schools can run their own writing project, to discover local teenagers’ state of mind.
Dr Cath Keenan and Richard Short are available for interview. For all media and interview enquiries, contact: Meaghan Brown on 02 9699 6970 or Meaghan@sydneystoryfactory.org.au
About the Sydney Story Factory
The Sydney Story Factory is a not-for-profit creative writing centre for young people. It was founded in Redfern (Sydney) in 2012 by Dr Cath Keenan and Tim Dick. Dr Keenan leads the Sydney Story Factory as executive director, and in 2016 she was named Australian of the Year Local Hero.
The Sydney Story Factory’s mission is to change the lives of young people through creative writing and storytelling. Their priority is marginalised young people - those most at risk of losing confidence in their writing and switching off at school. They light the spark of creativity and help them find their voice.
Programs are for young people aged 7 to 17, in primary and high school, and are designed by creative writing and literacy experts to:
· improve young people's written and oral communication skills;
· enhance self-confidence and self-efficacy;
· nurture creativity and empathy; and
· deepen engagement with learning.
Young people leave Sydney Story Factory’s creative writing workshops equipped with the skills and confidence essential for future success.
A former journalist, arts writer, literary editor, Dr Keenan turned her back on her career to help nurture talent and creativity of thousands of marginalised primary and high school students.
Since 2012, from their current base in Redfern, the Sydney Story Factory has enrolled more than 10,500 young people. Of these, 24% are Indigenous and 38% are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
FFor more information visit www.sydneystoryfactory.org.au