The Sgwad Sgwennu Oriel Wrecsam pilot scheme is now complete. 22 children from primary schools across Wrecsam were offered the unique opportunity to attend a series of writing masterclasses with visiting writers from Cymru.
The aim of this project is to seek out and support our next generation of talented writers and I’m delighted to project manage it for Oriel Wrecsam. The feedback and results have been overwhelmingly positive, so much so that the scheme will roll out across Wrexham County from September 2015. Competition is expected be fierce as places are limited. This is the writing equivalent of the local football league – only the best, most dedicated writers are going to make the team!
Being the visiting writer for other Sgwadiau ‘Sgwennu in Cymru, organised by the likes of Literature Wales and Denbighshire Library Services, inspired me to see if this is something we could replicate in Wrecsam. I find it depressing that under the Tories, The Arts are increasingly being portrayed as ‘soft subjects’ – even literature seems to have been relegated to the basic tasks of improving grammar, spelling and punctuation.
Cymru has a rich tradition of bards and writers. Gillian Clarke, Menna Elfyn and Rhian Edwards to choose a few, have inspired numerous writers, but for this to continue we have to start investing in our next generations early – show them it’s not all X-Factor-fame-or-bust. Carving out a career as a writer is possible, but children need interaction with role models, as well as support and encouragement at a very early age, before those with even a hint of writing talent are persuaded they’ll only have a decent career studying law, business & finance or marketing.
It’s important our next generations of bards understand the intrinsic value of what they create, not just the financial cost, which is why we also need projects that demonstrate how being an artists working in the community, working for the benefit of all, is a valuable and worthwhile career.
Let’s plant seeds and grow a beautiful array of trees – not mould cogs for our industrial machine.
Details of how to apply for the next Sgwad Sgwennu Oriel Wrecsam will be out through primary schools in Wrexham County over the coming months.