Amelia participated in the Engage! programme: a collaborative project between four cities around Europe – Barcelona (Spain), Krakow (Poland), Växjö (Sweden) and Norwich (UK) –  that focused on cultural activism and literature.  Here, Amelia describes her experience of the project in her own words… 

The Engage project has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have learned and gained so many skills and fantastic memories. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity.

One of the best things about the project was the unique insight it gave into the world of arts and literature. I have learnt so much about the different careers involved in the arts and it has really helped to broaden my horizons. Careers in the arts are often not well publicised but being involved in the project showed me that there are many roles available behind the scenes.

I have been lucky to work with a fantastic group of young people who are uniquely talented and passionate about literature and the arts. I have made very good friends and we have learnt so much from each other and have come away with lots of book recommendations. I have learnt  valuable teamwork skills. Best of all, the Engage project has shown the very best of what young people can do and the positive impact we can have in our community. In a time when young people seem to be being portrayed in an increasingly negative way e.g. antisocial or obsessed with their mobile it was nice to work on a positive project driven by young people.

It was such a interesting process planning and running the festival. I loved creating every aspect of the festival from programming to marketing. We learnt organisational skills but I also learnt how to be flexible with planning. We were all incredibly proud at the end of the process and was fantastic to see our plans come to life.

One of the highlights of the festival for me was interviewing one of the speakers, John Dennehey. I was very nervous but it was such a rewarding experience. I feel like the whole experience has really helped me to become more confident in myself.

We are living in a time of increasing division where we seem to be increasingly looking inward. In the face of divisions such as Brexit we should all promote the project. The Engage project is an example of a shining alternative. It promotes understanding, teamwork and culture. The Engage project proves the power of the arts. People of all ages, from different cultures and backgrounds can be united through the arts. That is what we should aim to create.

Amelia joined our Young Ambassador programme for 2018. Ambassadors get behind-the-scenes passes to festivals and events as well as opportunities to interview writers and artists. Ambassadors are assigned a mentor to help them identify and reach their own goals. Find out more about the programme here.

Being a Young Ambassador has been a fantastic experience. I have learnt so many new skills. One of the main things I have gained from the experience is a much greater understanding of the arts and opportunities within it. During the programme I was available to try a variety of different roles: communications, event planning and programming. The arts sector is not an area in which careers are really publicised. This experience has really given me a lot of insight into possible careers.

The programme has also given me the chance to apply my love of creative writing in a practical way. One of the highlights of the programme for me was helping to create and run a creative writing competition. I really enjoyed being able to promote the center to a wider audience.

I have also gained new skills. I found working in a group with my fellow ambassadors really beneficial as it definitely improved my team working skills and my confidence. All of the ambassadors had different skills and different areas of interest  within literature. This helped us create a really well-balanced group.

The programme has also me given me a wealth of opportunities.  I have been lucky enough to attend fantastic events such as A Midsummer’s Evening with Ali Smith and A Brief Safari into the Mind of Chris Packham. I have also been able to take part in creative writing sessions. One of the things I most enjoyed is completing my Bronze Arts Award.

It was fantastic to be a Young Ambassador this year in particular because this year the Writers’ Centre became the National Centre for Writing. 2018 has really showcased the best of the organisation but also has also shown a glimpse of what the future holds as the centre becomes known on a national level.

I have loved being a Young Ambassador. The experience has been really beneficial. It has given me a chance to practically explore my love of literature and arts. It has given me lots of ideas for the future. Thank you to the National Centre for Writing for giving me this opportunity. I can’t wait to see what the Young Ambassadors of 2019 get up to!


Photo cred. Taryn Everdeen

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