Edinburgh is historically a hotbed of creative genius, with a
cultural impact spreading far beyond the city’s borders. What happens
when you take a group of creative young people from the city and ask them to
come up with their own short stories, poems and drama pieces inspired by the
rich environment and the urban legends within?
Creative Pathways Edinburgh is a ten-week project run by Impact Arts which works with young people who are currently unemployed, inspiring them to produce their
own creative writing while offering one-to-one support with job-hunting, CV
writing and interview skills.
The team, based at the Assembly Roxy in the city centre have
been learning techniques in scriptwriting, character creation, comedy sketches,
poetry and spoken word performance.
Our lead tutor, writer and dramatist Rosanna Hall, has been
delivering workshops to get the group thinking about the city, its societal issues and
their own personal experiences in order to fuel their creative fires and
produce original work.
For example, working from themes of prejudice and stereotypes, the group
have been learning automatic writing techniques in order to create ideas and
expand on them in a short period of time – sometimes just a matter of minutes.
The team also explored prejudice through building and designing masks
– the inside of the mask being inspired by how prejudice feels, and the outside by how prejudices are formed by others – before using these as inspiration for spoken word poetry.
Anna, a participant, says: “It was fun getting to express
ourselves through masks. I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll use them in a photoshoot and in our final performance.
“Mine wasn’t based on emotions, but on a character named
(OC) Ruin, who wears a plain white mask covering 85% of her face due to trauma.
She doesn’t want people to see her face and hate it, despite her actually being
Other participants made masks about how they feel when they
experience prejudice and what it’s like to go into a job interview. This aligns with a central theme of the project, as close employability support continues alongside the programme’s creative side.
Another powerful source of inspiration has been the Assembly
Roxy building itself, and the group have researched characters and stories that haunt
the building, while creating some of their own.
Lady Glenorchy, whose name is carved in stone above the main
door, has been a source of intrigue. The group have been considering what kind
of character she might have been, writing diary entries for her and considering
how this might fit into their final showcase.
Other scripts have been set in the areas around Edinburgh
the participants are from and the ghost stories and urban legends that surround
them. The writing produced has been extremely varied in genre and style with
some participants creating everything from comedy and mystery tales to steampunk fantasy!
The group are in preparation for their final exhibition – entitled Everyone has a Story to Tell – which will showcase their written work and include dramatic readings. It will
take place at the Assembly Roxy on Thursday 15th February 2018
between 4.30pm and 6.30pm.
In the meantime, the group will be going on inspiration
trips to get more ideas for their work, learning more about the technical side
of writing and working on their SQA units in Employability to help them with
their next steps as the project comes to a close.
The project is funded by Skills Development Scotland’s Employability
Fund Stages 2 and 3 and Inspiring Scotland.
For more about our
work with young people, please visit this section of our website.