Creative Practitioner

Workshops and Creative Shenanigans

My creative practice incorporates anything with words, in all their glorious forms. You’ll find me leading poetry and fiction workshops for young people, older people and everyone in-between; being a writer-in-residence; gathering words at events as a community writer; devising curious and exciting schools programmes; and leading drama sessions. I’m a professionally qualified community development and youth worker. For further information, or if you’re interested in how we could work together, please contact me. Read on for more examples and my qualifications…

 


Writer-in-Residence

a bright red gallery wall with a vibrant painting of a landscape to the centre and my poem beside it
photo description: a bright red gallery wall with a vibrant painting of a landscape to the centre and my poem beside it

I spent an intensive month in mima (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) listening, talking, writing, gathering, setting wordy homework, drinking lots of tea, working with all the groups who use the building, the staff and the visitors to work out what was missing and what I could add. This ended up being An Invitation to Be Curious – mima’s schools programme based on all things curious, sparking a wonderful wordy adventure for all those young people who come to mima. This also involved choosing a piece of art from the stores and writing a creative response which now hangs in the gallery.

I continue to have a wonderful relationship with mima, working as a freelance writer on lots of exciting projects.


Poet-in-Residence

Crossing the Tees Book Festival – I spent a month planning and designing numerous workshops, then over the course of an intensive fortnight during the festival I delivered five schools workshops (including SEN), five poetry workshops, a poetry masterclass and attended festival events meeting people and making lots of notes. I’m now collaborating with the Illustrator in Residence to write, create and edit a book of poetry about the festival which will be launched at a special event in December.


Creative Workshops

a set of six photos in a grid on a white wall in a gallery. They show members of the Creative Age projects showing off their craft work.
photo description: a set of six photos in a grid on a white wall in a gallery. They show members of the Creative Age projects showing off their craft work.

I deliver these for absolute beginners, those who have written lots and been published, and everyone in between.

I devise new, curious and imaginative workshops, specifically designed for each group I work with, ensuring that they are completely accessible, challenging in a productive way, and fun.

My way of working is that the arts should be open and accessible to all, and that means working in ways that make a group feel safe and nurtured to be able to write their best and most amazing work. I also deliver craft sessions using pottery, collage, banner making and a myriad of other fun stuffs that help a community grow, learn and have fun together.

I have delivered workshops for many different groups including Celebrating Age, Whizz Kids, PopUp Poetry Durham, women’s community groups, older people in residential settings, and in schools, prisons and probation hostels. There is a brilliant newspaper article about Creative Age here. The photo is of me not Bella!


Workshops for schools and young people

I ensure that I have a full range of information about the young people I’m going to work with such as age, group size, literacy level, access needs and learning outcomes before I begin to plan a session to ensure that it is suitable for EVERYONE and I can tailor make it to be both effective, and fabulous. Every workshop is unique and planned meticulously, but my skills as a writer, community development and youth worker mean that I can adapt these as necessary – quick thinking on the hoof! I’ve worked with many schools on subjects such as identity, place, home, myths and legends and have provided skills in poetry for the page and spoken word performance techniques. As a disabled artist, I specialise in working with young people with special educational needs.


Community Writer

Lisette stands pen in hand with purple doc boots covered in red ladybirds. She is wearing a white boiler suit covered in giant word bubble questions such as - Who is MIMA?
photo description: Lisette stands pen in hand with purple doc boots covered in red ladybirds. She is wearing a white boiler suit covered in giant word bubble questions such as – Who is MIMA?

I work in settings where an organisation or a group want to capture the feel of an event and the words that have been spoken. The end result can be anything the client desires from straight forward reportage, to lyrical essays, to poetry and a combination of all three. I listen, talk, drink tea and write. I use tools to provoke conversation and debate, such as a boiler suit covered in questions, or an adapted twister spinner. Or I blend in and listen, allowing events to unfold as I paint a picture of it with words. These pieces are then displayed in galleries, given to the participants, placed on websites and recorded to be heard.

Recent commissions include the LIKE Project which was displayed in the ‘This is Water’ exhibition at mima, ‘Who Are We’ to collect stories for a City of Culture Bid, and North Ormesby Hackathon. This link to the Your Choice – North Ormesby website shows what happened at the Hackathon, as well as one of the pieces of work I produced.


Performance Skills

a big stage filled with people with one outstretched arm each and a monument of cardboard boxes behind them
photo description: a big stage filled with people with one outstretched arm each and a monument of cardboard boxes behind them

I design and deliver exciting, original and innovative sessions for actors and poets who want to further their performance skills.

I also work with drama groups on their devising skills and blocks of work such as – What Makes a Story Work?

Recent commissions include working with Full Circle Academy comprised of learning disabled actors, with New Writing North on their summer schools, and as Movement Facilitator working with the community cast to devise and perform work for Occupation by Pauline Heath, produced by Little Cog, performed on the main stage at ARC Stockton.


Participant Feedback

writers at a table
photo description: seven ‘Dear Mrs Pennyman’ writing workshop participants are deep in concentration, writing at a big white table with glass doors behind them

‘Thank you for a wonderful workshop journey. Your warm up got the creative cells going, the quickfire focused my thoughts and then the stream of brilliant exercises made me fasten my literary seatbelt and enjoy the ride! A wonderful safe and accessible environment to write and share.’

‘Well planned. Beautifully executed. Exhilarating. Thoughtful & caring. Thank you very much.’

‘”Imagine your character looking at themselves in a mirror” I’m using this technique every time I write a character, it’s so powerful and I’ll be mentioning you in my MA!’

‘A lovely workshop that started with simple exercises and built into a deeper more emotional exercise. and there was food, too, so a fantastic way to spend the afternoon!’

‘Loved the sneaky challenge to write about art work that “didn’t” grab me.’

‘I found the workshop really interesting. It was great to try out different styles of writing and to write from different perspectives. Very enjoyable!’

Read more Nice Things People Have Said About Me here.


Qualifications & Training

BA Hons in Theatre Acting: Devised Performance

MSc with Distinction in Community Development and Youth Work

JNC Professional Qualification in Youth Work

TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Greater Tees Practitioner Training Programme – strengthening skills and tools to effectively facilitate creative practice with socially excluded communities such as: young people including NEETs and PRU pupils, older people, disabled people, people experiencing homelessness, and refugees and asylum seekers

Writers’ Block Mentoring Programme – 18 month long intensive mentoring course on how to write a novel

Current Enhanced Portable DBS

All relevant local Safeguarding Qualifications

Public Liability Insurance


For further information, or if you’re interested in how we could work together, please contact me.