Applications for Inkubator are now closed until late 2024.

Inkubator is an annual development programme for writers and freelancers who want to develop their skills in facilitation and participatory arts practice with children, young people and adults. 

Inkubator provides a cohort of individuals with the practical skills and knowledge they need to deliver sessions with people in schools and community settings. Through the Inkubator programme they receive training in facilitation and the opportunity to shadow this work on placement in New Writing North’s programme. 

New Writing North introduces people to creative writing through a range of exciting programmes across the North East. From Saturday Young Writers’ Groups, long-term partnerships with primary and secondary schools, and community programmes that focus on co-creation. We encourage people to experiment and create across forms – whether that’s poetry and prose, song writing and rapping or screenwriting.

As well as catering for a diverse range of creative disciplines, we want our work to reflect the communities that it serves. Our programme includes the multilingual creative writing programme World Writes, our work with children from asylum seeking and refugee families in Gateshead, and a dedicated creative writing programme for women of colour, Brown Girls Write. New Writing North is also committed to creating opportunities for working class writers, as with our Writing Chance initiative. We are interested in building a freelance network who are as diverse as our programmes. Inkubator is designed to give writers from all backgrounds a route into creative facilitation and careers in the arts.  

Meet our Inkubator participants for 2024

  • Anja Katrin Groenhaug

    Anja is a writer of fiction and non-fiction on the theme of growing up with – and being a young adult with – disabilities. Anja has a background as a musician, a registered children’s nurse and a sociologist. Anja is completing her placement at Larkspur Primary School, part of New Writing North’s ongoing Gateshead Young Writers Programme.

  • Jenny Carter

    Jen Carter is an artist and facilitator who writes poetry and narrative non-fiction, primarily about identity, class and motherhood. She lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. Jenny is completing her placement with the North Shields Young Writers’ group.

  • Laura Rosierse

    Laura Rosierse is a writer, poet and live event promoter hailing from the Netherlands and based in the north east. Laura is completing her placement with the Newcastle Young Writers’ group.

  • Lee Whensley

    Lee is a professional writing graduate and youthworker who writes YA and children’s fiction and social dramas for stage and screen. Lee is completing his placement at West End Writes. West End Writes is an ongoing community project in the Benwell and Scotswood areas of Newcastle.

  • Paula Blair

    Paula Blair is a writer based in Newcastle upon Tyne working mainly in non-fiction. Her first short story will be published in Commonalities volume 5 in 2024. Paula is completing her placement with Newbiggin Hall Creative Writing group. The group is part of Newbiggin Hall Creates, a programme of creative writing and cultural activity in the Newbiggin Hall Estate.

  • Polina Chizhova

    Polina Chizhova is a curator, artist and writer based in the North East. Polina is completing her placement with World Writes. World Writes is a multilingual English language creative writing group for adults (16+) who speak English as a second, or other language (ESOL).

  • Rachel Burns

    Rachel Burns was born in Newcastle Upon Tyne. She lives with a disability and chronic illness. Rachel has published short stories and poetry in literary magazines and her short plays have had rehearsed readings at Live Theatre, Alphabetti and the Gala Theatre. Rachel is completing her placement with First Edition, a group for writers and creatives aged 18-25.

  • Rebecca Muddiman

    Rebecca Muddiman is a published novelist and scriptwriter based in Redcar. Rebecca is completing her placement with Newbiggin Hall Creates (50+), a creative group aimed at over 50s living in Newbiggin Hall.

  • Sharon Thomas

    Born and bred in the north east, Sharon is a freelance writer and facilitator, helping writers of all ages to find their voice. Sharon is completing her placement with the Cramlington Young Writers’ group.

  • Tolu' A. Akinyemi

    Tolu’ A. Akinyemi (also known as Tolutoludo & the Lion of Newcastle) is a multiple award-winning author in the genres of poetry, short stories, children’s literature, and essays. Tolu is completing his placement with the Gateshead Young Writers’ group.

Impact case study: Toni Ford

Toni Ford completed the Inkubator training programme in 2023. She now runs regular sessions on New Writing North’s West End Writes and Newbiggin Hall Creates community programmes. Here, Toni talks about the impact Inkubator had on her development as a freelance facilitator.


Find out more

I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in Inkubator and incredibly grateful for the knowledge and practical experience with which it has equipped me. The training was absolutely essential for the independent work that I’m planning to undertake, and participating in the programme has enabled me to see more clearly the additional steps that I need to take in order to make my long-term goals a reality. 

Madeleine Culver, Inkubator participant 2023