Young Creative Associates 2023
Young Creative Associates is a new 9-month development programme open to 18-30-year-olds living in the North of Tyne area. The programme is designed to guide and support the next generation of creative industry entrepreneurs in the region.
Over 9-months participants will be supported to explore sustainable routes of self-employment and will develop knowledge of business basics, financial management, fundraising, networking and project development skills. Alongside five developmental group workshops, participants will receive five hours of dedicated one-to-one mentor support and a bursary grant of up to £1000 to put towards business costs.
Meet our Young Creative Associates
Caleb is expanding The Big Ship, a new movement of art writing for the internet age, by turning its weekly collection of experimental vignettes into a volumized zine.
Hazel is working towards designing, developing and delivering a series of creative writing workshops which will engage with the collections in local museums and heritage sites.
Hazel is developing Slop Projects, an arts organisation working to promote contemporary rural art, whilst challenging inaccessibility of the arts sector in rural areas.
Ilisha Thiru Purcell
Ilisha is developing a short film exploring trauma, sexuality and landscape, inspired by classical Tamil love poetry, akam.
Kym runs The Braag CIC, an arts and literature community interest company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, and will be publishing a run of poetry and speculative fiction chapbooks to begin their first year as a small press.
Lily is working to develop Wild Stories, a project that aims to combine nature and fiction. Through a wide range of outdoor activities and creative writing sessions, the young people taking part will learn about climate change and nature-based solutions through stories, inspiring them to write their own stories that imagine a wilder future.
Illustration by Kat Williams
Louise will be writing and illustrating a graphic novel that looks at Jane Austen, grief, and disability.
Maud is working to produce audio walking guides focusing on the urban history and design of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The theme of their first guide will translate existing research on the Rise and Fall of Newcastle’s public toilets (1850s – today) into a piece of mapped narrative non-fiction storytelling.
Oisín is developing a series of comic strips that will offer bite-sized reflections on children’s palliative care and shine a light on the aspects that often remain unseen.
Rachel is a prison educator who is working to develop Acting Right Now, a project about making meaningful art with people in prison.
Caleb Carter’s writing is about vividness and rhythm. He is the founder of online curatorial, thebigship.org, which seeks exciting and experimental writing about films, music, books and art outside of the traditional canon, is home to the “self-destructing gallery”, Little Prayers, and features interviews with artists on the fringes of their fields. Elsewhere, his work has also been published in The Independent and The Quietus. When he isn’t imbuing criticism on weird artists with the weirdness that they deserve, he writes poetry, short stories about cowboys, cults, and corpses, and is working on a novel about a manor house haunted by forgetting.
Find out more about Caleb’s project
The Big Ship is a new movement of art writing for the internet age. This means adopting an artist’s attitude to reinvigorate what most people accept as criticism, often using the art as a springboard both for deep and provocative inquiry as well as fresh and punchy stylistic experimentation. With regards to the chosen art, this means embracing change, discarding the canon, and embodying the type of curative spirit that will cut through the noise. Nowhere are these site-wide efforts more evident than in the popular Little Prayers, the “self-destructing gallery” that refreshes 5 pieces of art and 5 pieces of art writing each Monday. Because of their quick and temporary nature, these vignettes are regularly some of the most experimental, vibrant, and personal writing on the site. With the support of New Writing North, The Big Ship will be giving these temporary fragments a permanent home, in a serialized volume for readers to carry in their pockets: a prayer book full of art and words to make every reader’s day a little more curious.
Hazel is a freelance writer and creative practitioner based in Newcastle. Her fiction has won and been placed in several competitions, and in 2020 she was shortlisted for the Bridge Awards Emerging Writer Award, she is represented by Jenny Savill of Andrew Nurnberg Associates literary agency. She has recently completed her debut book of short stories, and is now working on a novel.
Hazel has an academic background in history and classics and is interested in writing fiction which explores this, along with a good helping of mythology and folk horror. She is passionate about increasing historical engagement through the creative arts.
Find out more about Hazel’s project
Hazel is working towards designing, developing and delivering a series of creative writing workshops which will engage with the collections in local museums and heritage sites. These workshops will use artefacts, their history and wider mythologies to inspire creative work, and will in turn encourage a creative approach to understanding the past.
Hazel Soper is a visual artist that uses video installation to explore ecofeminism and folklore, drawing threads from the past to the contemporary issues women face. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally, including at NeMe, Limassol (2019); AIR Gallery, Altrincham (2018), the Baltic, Gateshead (2021) and most recently at her solo show at OUTPOST Gallery, Norwich, (2023). She is also a curator, leading on projects that focus on emerging artists, and breaking down the hierarchies and pedagogy surrounding engagement with contemporary art.
Find out more about Hazel’s project
Slop Projects is an arts organisation working to promote contemporary rural art, whilst challenging inaccessibility of the arts sector in rural areas. Often in the countryside, physical access to art can be limited due to isolated locations, lack of transport and information, and economic barriers. Many exhibitions that are available to view present commercial and idealised perspectives. Slop wants to show the real issues, complexities and lives of artists with rural connections, and provide an opportunity to share exciting experimental contemporary work that is often overlooked. Slop strives to bridge the gap between visual art, creative writing and music to create fun and welcoming exhibitions, events and publications for everyone.
Ilisha Thiru Purcell
Ilisha Thiru Purcell is a poet based in and from Newcastle upon Tyne. She studied English Literature at University College London and has a diploma in Independent Sexual Violence Advisor Practitioner Training. Her poetry has appeared in Popshot, the podcast Less than two percent and is upcoming in The Butcher’s Dog and Nature Nurtures Anthology. She has created work for the Association of Anaesthetists and is a member of the collective Brown Girls Write who released their first anthology Sanctuary earlier this year. Ilisha won a commission to perform at the 2023 Newcastle Poetry Festival.
Find out more about Ilisha’s project
[Content warning: reference to sexual violence]
My project explores trauma, sexuality and landscape and will culminate in the exhibition of a short poetry film. The film will consist of a sequence of poems that I’m writing which are inspired by the classical Tamil love poetry, akam, a form that utilises specific landscapes to signify different aspects of romantic relationships and the inner world of nameless lovers. I’m writing these poems in English and merging aspects of the Tamil landscape with that of the North East, in part to reflect my mixed Sri Lankan and British heritage. The poems will take the viewer/reader on a non-linear journey from the experience of sexual violence to a celebration of sensuality and intimacy, with these experiences mapped onto the landscape of the body and the natural world.
The film aspect is a new creative direction for me and I’m excited to collaborate with other artists to create a survivor-led, trauma-informed piece of work. The film itself will be mainly shot in the North East and there will be no human bodies in the film, only natural bodies of land and water, so what is centred is the survivor’s/survivors’ narrative. This project is incredibly important to me due to its personal nature and what it will add to the discourse surrounding sexual violence and sexuality.
Kym Deyn is a writer and fortune-teller based in Newcastle. Their work is widely published in anthologies and magazines including Butcher’s Dog and Popshot, and was selected for the Primer’s Nine Arches scheme. Their microchapbook Fee Fi Fo Fum was published by Broken Sleep last year and their pamphlet Dionysia is forthcoming with Verve Poetry Press in 2023. They are a winner of the 2020 Outspoken Prize for poetry and have been shortlisted for awards including the Bridport Prize and the Creative Futures award. In 2021 they received a DYCP to develop their queer audio drama work, and have an anthology horror radio drama called The Elvet Mysteries on spotify. They are currently writing a novel with help from The Novelry as part of their Octopus Scholarship programme.
Find out more about Kym’s project
The Braag, an arts and literature community interest company based in Newcastle upon Tyne, has received funding as part of New Writing North’s Young Creatives scheme to publish poetry and speculative fiction chapbooks.
The Braag CIC is a non-profit named after a Northumbrian trickster spirit. Formed in October 2020 The Braag supports writing and culture in the North of England, with a focus on underrepresented and marginalised writers. Alongside running various events in person and online, The Braag is the home of a well regarded literary magazine, Carmen et Error, which showcases the best of strange microfiction and poetry in multiple micro-issues every year.
The Braag has been supporting writers in the North East of England for almost two and a half years, and will be drawing on this experience and a deep understanding of the local, national, and international creative landscape to showcase an exciting combination of established, emerging, and unknown writers alongside each other. Writers from the North East of England are particularly encouraged to submit to the new press, but authors from across the country are welcome, with the aim that creativity is drawn into the North East, and young and emerging writers from the area are exposed to some of the best writing the UK has to offer.
Kym is receiving a bespoke package of mentoring to respond to the project’s needs.
Born and raised in Northumberland, Lily is an avid writer, university student and chocolate fudge enthusiast. She won the New Writing North Young Northern Writers Award in 2021 for her story ‘Lovestruck’ and was part of New Writing North’s Amble young writers’ group from age 12, inspiring her to study literature and creative writing at Newcastle University and to write her first novel about ink-based magic and time-travelling warriors. For the last two years, Lily has been a part of Arts Council England’s Youth Advisory Board, influencing their policies and reports, and more recently she’s joined Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Young People’s Forum to help raise awareness to young people of environmental issues in the area, combining her creativity with her love of Northumberland’s natural spaces. Lily likes writing about forests, found families and girls who blow things up.
Find out more about Lily’s project
Wild Stories is a project that aims to combine nature and fiction. Through a wide range of outdoor activities and creative writing sessions, the young people taking part will learn about climate change and nature-based solutions through stories, inspiring them to write their own stories that imagine a wilder future. Their time in nature, as well as the stories they read and write, will encourage them to care about their local wild spaces and to help protect them with a skill often overlooked in the fight against environmental loss – creativity!
The young people will go out into some of Newcastle’s best woodland spaces and take part in some fun outdoor crafts and learn some bushcraft skills. They will then work together on some creative writing exercises, as well as writing their own stories about their thoughts and feelings about their local wildlife. This will culminate in an anthology of creative pieces about nature and climate change, all written by the Wild Stories participants! This project is about encouraging young people to see their creativity as a way of imagining a better world, a way of helping people empathize with nature by rewilding the things we create. One little story can make a big difference.
Louise Page is a writer and artist from Northumberland. They make work about their experiences of being a disabled, queer, genderfluid person. Their mainstream books have been published by Scholastic, whilst their single-edition Artists’ Books have been acquired by the Wellcome Collection. Their short films have been commissioned by Random Acts, and exhibited by the Royal College of Art. BBC News described their podcast “New Women” as “smashing the box of disabled feminism”. Their play “Gaze” sold out at Northern Stage. They have written about film and culture for the Guardian and Little White Lies. They currently have a feature film in development with BFI funding, and are working on a documentary funded by OKRE; as well as developing a new picture book, and looking to move into illustration.
Find out more about Louise’s project
I will be writing a graphic novel that looks at Jane Austen, grief, and disability. It will be fictional, but based on my own experiences. It will feature a disabled woman processing her grief by listening to the Austen audiobooks her late relative loved. Whilst listening, they will literally take flight, in the form of a bird, travelling through the worlds of Austen’s books. I will write and illustrate the graphic novel myself, using modern embroidery to tell stories set in Austen’s world.
Nothing is set in stone yet- but the characters that have always fascinated me in Austen are the ones on the fringes. The eccentric Mr Woodhouse, the bookish Mary Bennett, and all of the other strange side characters that many people forget about. I am an outsider myself, and I like the idea of gathering all of the fringe Austen characters at some kind of Outsider’s Ball.
Maud Webster (she/they) is a multidisciplinary creative and researcher, originally from Norwich but now living in Newcastle. Maud’s particular creative focus is the intersection between the built environment, culture, design and communication.
They graduated from Newcastle University’s Architecture and Urban Planning course last summer, and now work at Newcastle’s new Centre for Architecture and Cities, The Farrell Centre, and dabble in freelance graphic design and writing projects on the side.
Find out more about Maud’s project
This project aims to produce audio walking guides focusing on the urban history and design of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. The theme of ‘guide’ one will translate existing research on the Rise and Fall of Newcastle’s public toilets (1850s – today) into a piece of mapped narrative non-fiction storytelling. The history of Newcastle’s public toilets is surprisingly vast and interesting; it reveals several factors in the development and subsequent decline of these facilities, including the impact of gender, work and consumerism.
Interviewees relevant to the theme will be introduced as the tour progresses to add texture and variety to the audio, and careful consideration will be paid to the soundscape and accessibility of the tour. The audio tours will be accompanied by a short mapping pamphlet with the aim to offer an alternative way to access the tour or additional material to support the listener.
Oisín Liam Power is a writer, filmmaker, and software developer, holding a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Newcastle University. His work often explores the intersection of arts and healthcare and has earned him multiple regional writing awards, including Theatr Clywd’s Daniel Owen Young Writer of the Year.
A collaboration with oil painters Ben Larsen and Jacob Gourley, Oisín’s debut BBC Arts short film, “Mary Lost Her Battle,” offers a personal account of his late mother’s experiences with inflammatory breast cancer and challenges the conventional “battle” language used to describe cancer narratives. After premiering on BBC4, the film’s positive reception – particularly from those in the healthcare community – motivated Oisín to create further work aimed at educating people about palliative care.
Oisín has since partnered with organisations including Heard, Rockall Films, The European Association for Palliative Care, Arcus Animations, and Barnardo’s. Working alongside these partners, and drawing from his own experiences, Oisín is excited to continue creating work that sparks conversations and helps drive positive change.
Find out more about Oisín’s project
Set in a fantastical world, “Stagborne” (working title) is a series of comic strips that will offer bite-sized reflections on children’s palliative care and shine a light on the aspects that often remain unseen. Featuring four main characters – a Robin, a Badger, a Girl, and a Boy – along with a large ensemble cast, this series aims to represent and celebrate a diverse array of children. The characters will emphasise the importance of everyday moments and experiences, showing that unwell children are children, first and foremost, and the relationships that they have with their parents, siblings and relatives are just like in any other family.
The primary objectives of Stagborne are to educate people about children’s palliative care and to serve as a practical resource for healthcare workers. The comic strips will be uploaded to social media to broaden their reach, make them easily accessible and to pave the way for an animated film on a similar theme.
Rachel Dickenson was born and raised in West Denton, Newcastle and has been passionate about acting and creative writing all her life. She’s taken part in many small productions around the UK and abroad, which has fuelled her passion for storytelling and reaching all kinds of audiences.
Rachel studied an MA in Theatre and Performance at Northumbria University, where she was able to hone her craft but also learn about the challenges of including and engaging certain communities in the arts. She became very passionate about making a difference in this area.
After graduating in 2019, she qualified as a French teacher and worked in secondary schools, before shortly moving over to Prison Education, which she had felt herself gravitating towards for years. She truly enjoys the challenge of engaging her learners, giving them confidence and helping them to gain qualifications and reach their goals. She’s seen the remarkable difference that the men’s achievements can make to their self-perception and aspirations for the future. Rachel believes that prison should be a positive experience and prison leavers should feel better equipped to lead positive and purposeful lives upon release.
Find out more about Rachel’s project
Acting Right Now is about making meaningful art with people in prison. With a strong focus on scene-devising and script work, the project’s primary aims are to develop an appreciation of acting as an art form to help the men see acting as something that can improve their lives, confidence and interpersonal relationships, as well as something that can give them a creative outlet and a means of expressing themselves positively. At Acting Right Now, we believe that the cornerstone of making great art is nurturing your own voice and believing that it deserves to be heard. We think it’s time to appreciate what others have to say, unearth new narratives and tell fresh stories with pride.
As exciting as it is to be developing my own projects, I’m most thrilled to work alongside this diverse roster of young creatives for New Writing North, and be part of a collective that represents the type of open and innovative passion for the arts that is so tangibly present in the North of England. Through the programme I hope most that I can develop creative relationships that will lead me to surprising places in my work.
Caleb Carter, Young Creative Associate
Meet our Mentors
Alannah Chance is mentoring Maud Webster
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the mentoring programme this year and looking forward to to discovering and supporting the next generation of creative audio makers.”
Carmen Marcus is mentoring Hazel Atkinson
“I wanted to be a writer from the first time I heard a story but I didn’t meet a real writer until I was 36. Even though I studied Literature I didn’t know how to build the bones of a story, what an agent did, how publishers work, or even that it could be a real career. Programmes like this are so important not just so that emerging writers get the support to put flesh on their stories, but they also learn how to believe in their work and their words.”
Foundation Press are mentoring Caleb Carter
“Small-run zines and books can be used by young writers to share their work and the work of others, we are really looking forward to exploring DIY publishing as part of New Writing North’s Young Creative Associates programme with our mentee Caleb Carter.”
Hannah Berry is mentoring Oisín Power
“The guidance I received from a mentor early in my career set me on the path to where I am today, and it’s always an honour to have the opportunity to pay that forward to the next generation of writers.”
Heather Askwith is mentoring Lily Tibbitts
“I’m so looking forward to mentoring on the Young Creative Associates programme and seeing my mentee’s fantastic idea turn into an incredible project.”
Laura Brewis is mentoring Hazel Soper
“I am pleased and proud to be a mentor on New Writing North’s Young Creative Associates programme. Mentoring is hugely important in supporting new creative voices in the region and I’m really keen to get going.”
Shash Trevett is mentoring Ilisha Thiru Purcell
“Ilisha’s project sounds fascinating: marrying the discourse of thinai (the poetics of landscape used in classical Tamil poetry) with the landscape of the North-East around Newcastle. A symbiosis of ‘here’ and ‘there’, looking at how the female body negotiates a natural space. I cannot wait to see how her writing will progress over the coming months”.
Tearlach Duncanson is mentoring Rachel Dickenson
“I’m really looking forward to supporting this programme. Development is at the core of my practice and it’s great to have this opportunity to share perspectives, learn, discover new creative solutions, and support developing talent.”
Una is mentoring Louise Page
“I’m honoured to have been asked to mentor on New Writing North’s Young Creative Associates programme. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Louise Page’s work. I think she’s one to watch for the future.”
Alannah is an award winning audio producer who makes podcasts and radio documentaries. She has made programmes for BBC Radio 4, 6 Music and Radio 3, where she was the exec producer of adventurous music programme Late Junction. She is currently a producer in residence with the arts organisation Somerset House and working freelance on podcasts for BBC Sounds, Counterflows festival, The Quietus and Wellcome Collection.
Carmen Marcus is a published author, poet, creative facilitator, and mentor. Her debut novel HOW SAINTS DIE was published by Vintage in 2018, it won New Writing North’s Northern Promise Award and was long listed for the Desmond Elliott Prize. Her poetry has been commissioned by BBC Radio, The Royal Festival Hall, Durham Book Festival and Apples and Snakes. She was named as a BBC Verb New Voice 2015. In August 2022 she was chosen as one of the Writer’s Guild of Great Britain’s recipients of the New Play Commission Scheme with her debut full length play AND THE EARTH OPENED UP UNDER HER and is one of the selected artists to work on Storylines celebrating 200 years of the Stockton to Darlington Railway.
She regularly runs writing workshops on subjects that range from creating dangerously to mythic underworlds. She has been a guest lecturer at the Universities of Leicester, Northumbria and Teesside and has been invited to speak by Penguin Random House and the Northern Writers’ Conference. Having made the journey from council estate to the bookshelves Carmen is dedicated to supporting working class writers to tell their stories.
Foundation Press, led by Adam Phillips and Deborah Bower, develops community-publishing and collaborative design projects. They collaborate with a wide network of artists and communities. Founded in 2013 by Adam Phillips, Joe Woodhouse and Tom Madge as an experimental risograph printing studio, today, they create publications, educational projects, collaborative artworks and graphic design. Their projects often begin with a set of simple rules or published instructions, as a way of inviting others into the process of artistic production.
Hannah Berry is an occasionally award-winning graphic novelist, comics creator, scriptwriter, illustrator and campaigner. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed UK Comics Laureate 2019-21.
Her first graphic novel BRITTEN & BRÜLIGHTLY was published by Jonathan Cape, with the French edition chosen for the official selection of the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Her subsequent graphic novels ADAMTINE and LIVESTOCK were also published to some critical acclaim; LIVESTOCK winning a Best Writer Award at the 2017 Broken Frontier Awards and nominated for the Best Graphic Novel. She has contributed comics to anthologies and publications, from 2000AD to the New England Journal of Medicine.
In her role as Laureate she instigated and carried out the first national survey on UK comics creators, which led to the founding of the Society of Authors’ Comics Creators Network – of which she is on the steering committee – which aims to advocate for creators and offer professional support.
H.F. Askwith is a British writer of dark fantastical fiction for young adults, and her debut novel A Dark Inheritance was published by Penguin Random House in January 2023. She gained a Distinction in her Masters in Creative Writing, and is a previous Northern Writers’ Award winner.
Laura is the founder and project director of We Make Culture CIC, a social-enterprise based in Sunderland which uses music-making for social change. Over 15 years, she has worked with many regional cultural organisations, such as Sunderland Culture, New Writing North and Cultural Spring as a producer and consultant, with an emphasis on participation, young people and artist development. She believes that talent is everywhere but opportunity is not, and wants to change that.
Laura has completed the Creative Leadership programme at School from Social Entrepreneurs and won the “Local Hero” award from Association of Independent Musicians.
Shash Trevett is a poet and a translator of Tamil poetry into English. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies (including POETRY, Poetry London, Modern Poetry in Translation, Ambit and The North), she has read widely across the U.K and is a winner of a Northern Writers’ Award. Her pamphlet From a Borrowed Land was published in May 2021 (Smith|Doorstop) and her first collection is forthcoming (Smith|Doorstop 2024). She has co-edited (with Vidyan Ravinthiran and Seni Seneviratne) Out of Sri Lanka: Tamil, Sinhala and English Poetry from Sri Lanka and its Diasporas (Bloodaxe 2023), which was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation for summer 2023. Shash has been on judging panels for the PEN Translates awards and was a Visible Communities Translator in Residence at the National Centre for Writing. Shash is a member of the Kinara poetry collective, a Ledbury Critic and a Board Member of Modern Poetry in Translation.
Tearlach is a theatre maker, writer, facilitator, and producer who has been working with marginalised groups and communities in the North East and overseas for over 20 years. Education, Outreach & Resident Drama Worker at Live Theatre between 2000-08, he created innovative new writing projects with local schools, and partnerships within the youth justice sector. Overseas, he has worked widely with Five Arts Centre Malaysia, the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers and World Wildlife Fund Malaysia. In 2017 he set up Teater Padi – a drama resource for young people in rural northern Malaysia. Tearlach has recently been a lead writer for Gateshead Young Writers City with New Writing North, and is currently Creative Producer for West End Writes. In June, Tearlach will join NWN full time as Project Manager (Young People & Communities).
Una is a writer and illustrator, author of four graphic novels: Eve (2021, Virago Press), Becoming Unbecoming (2015, Myriad Editions), On Sanity: One Day In Two Lives (2017, supported by Arts Council England), and The Cree (2018, Mayfly Press; commissioned by Durham Book Festival & New Writing North). Her first book Becoming Unbecoming has been widely translated, adapted into a play in Brazil, awarded a Prix Artemisia in France, and is taught in schools and universities around the world. Una has appeared at the London Literature Festival, Turin Book Fair, Lucca Comics and Games, on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and Radio 3 Free Thinking, and exhibited at House of Illustration and The Cartoon Museum.
Una’s background is in university teaching and community arts education. She has a Ph.D and was recently a Visiting Scholar at the Oxford Centre for Life Writing. Often funded by public grant funding, Una’s project work explores creative life writing with groups and individuals who have important stories to tell. Una is married, with two grown up children, and works from a shed in her garden in Leeds. She is currently working on her first prose novel.
I am pleased and proud to be a mentor on New Writing North’s Young Creative Associates programme. Mentoring is hugely important in supporting new creative voices in the region and I’m really keen to get going.
Laura Brewis, Young Creative Associates Mentor
Opportunity: Creative Associate Residencies
We are seeking five writers or creatives to take part in a six-month residency to create new artistic work.
Please note, this project is funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority and therefore only open to writers living in Newcastle, North Tyneside or Northumberland.