WEA London region ran an article earlier this year about Writing London, a creative writing course run by WEA London in partnership with the Museum of London and taught by WEA tutor Liz Sarkany, see the original article here.
A booklet of learners' work from the course, together with images from the museum can now be viewed below.
Most of the learners were absolute beginners at the start of the course and as you will see they have all produced excellent work.
Here is an introduction to the work by tutor Liz:
'One of the learners on the Writing London course noticed very early on that there were always excited groups of schoolchildren in the galleries at the museum. She liked this, she said, because it made things feel so alive. To do with now and the future as well as with the past. It’s this energy, running through the place like a heartbeat, that makes the Museum of London such a unique setting for creativity.
We worked together in various ways: sometimes, our group of nine allowed their imaginations to take flight in direct response to the exhibits. They very quickly began to make stories out of, say, the poignancy of a shoe lost during the scuffle of an arrest, a chilling newspaper account of an execution, or the possibilities represented by the bag of a wartime bus conductress.
Objects could be the starting point for linking in to personal experience too: an immigrant’s suitcase the focus for a powerful description of traumatic dislocation, wartime tins of food for a quirky account of life under rationing.
And sometimes we used the exhibits to facilitate the seeing of the world in a new way, as a writer sometimes does: a watchman’s box, for example, becoming a beautifully drawn metaphor for loneliness.
Inspiration was often to be found in surprising places: overheard conversations in the café, a chance meeting in a lift, found fragments of willow pattern china under glass in the floor beneath our feet.
Nine adults from completely different places experience the same thing in nine completely different ways. That’s the other thing that gave this course its special texture. The generosity and curiosity within our increasingly cohesive group allowed nine very distinctive voices to emerge. These can be heard in the following pages.'