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 you need to deliver sessions with people in schools and community settings. Through the Inkubator programme you’ll receive training in facilitation and the opportunity to shadow this work in real-life settings. As part of Inkubator, you will be matched with a mentor who can provide in-depth support around your practice and individual needs. 

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.  

Course Structure

Inkubator is an ten-week development programme comprising of four training sessions and four shadowing sessions on placement in New Writing North’s programme. 

Training sessions cover the skills required for facilitation, as well as an introduction to critical reflection, safeguarding and evaluation. The placement sessions allow you to put these skills into action and are tailored to your specific interest and availability. Whilst on placement, you will shadow work, have the chance to lead your own sessions, and receive support and feedback from an experienced mentor.  

The programme will allow you to get to know New Writing North staff and the freelance network, with opportunity to reflect on the programme and develop your freelance career. 

Training session dates (held in central Newcastle):

Tuesday 6 February, 10am – 1pm 

Tuesday 13 February, 10am – 1pm 

Tuesday 20 February, 10am – 1pm 

Tuesday 27 February, 10am – 1pm

Evaluation and reflection day to be held in April 2024. 

Shadowing will take place throughout March (and into April if necessary). You will be asked to provide information about your availability when you apply. 

Funding and how to apply

It is free to take part in Inkubator. Successful applicants will receive a bursary of £500 to support their participation in the programme. 

To apply, please fill in this form by midday Monday 8 January 2024. We will contact all applicants about the outcome of their application by Friday 19 January 2024.

This project is supported by funding from North of Tyne Combined Authority. Because of this, some spaces on the programme will be reserved for residents of Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland. You can use the council website to check if your postcode is in one of these councils:

We want to make sure everyone can apply for our opportunities. If you have any access requirements at application stage, or would prefer to submit via video or audio file, please email [email protected]

Queries about applications can be made to [email protected]. Please note that the NWN office will be closed over the Christmas and New Year period. We will endeavour to answer queries as quickly as we can after Tuesday 2 January 2024.

Inkubator offered the perfect opportunity for me to combine my creative writing practise with my experience as a public library worker. I knew I needed to learn new skills and techniques – and I still have a lot to learn – but the Inkubator programme has given me a strong foundation to work from. I don’t think I would have pursued this career goal if not for Inkubator.

Toni Ford, Inkubator participant 2023

Meet our Inkubator participants for 2023

  • Amy Lord

    Amy Lord is a writer and freelance arts marketer from Middlesbrough. She completed her Inkubator placement at First Edition.

  • Hannah Burke

    Hannah Burke recently graduated with a BA in Music from Durham University. She completed her Inkubator placement at North Shields Young Writers group.

  • Jess Howard

    Jessie is a singer-songwriter and self-taught musician from Northumberland, living in Newcastle. She completed her Inkubator placement at Kelvin Grove Primary School as part of Young Writers’ City Gateshead.

  • Leila Hussein

    Leila Sarah Hussein is an internationally published writer and poet, based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  She completed her Inkubator placement at Brown Girls’ Write and World Writes.

  • Madelaine Culver-Goldstein

    Madelaine Culver is a writer and visual poet with a background in arts administration currently based in Newcastle upon Tyne. She completed her placement at Excelsior Academy as part of Young Writers’ City Newcastle. 

  • Megan Adams

    Megan Adams is a writer and facilitator based in County Durham. She completed her Inkubator placement at Newcastle Young Writers’ Group. 

  • Michelle Patterson

    Michelle is a qualified teacher with a specialism in Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), based in Sunderland in the North East. She completed her Inkubator placement at Larkspur Primary School as part of Young Writers’ City Gateshead. 

  • Toni Ford

    Toni writes short fiction and narrative non-fiction on themes of memory, travel, culture, and home. She completed her Inkubator placement at World Writes and Newbiggin Hall Creates, a summer programme for young people and families