I’ve spent the past seven weeks working with a class of inner-city 10 year olds to turn them into reporters and create a newspaper, in a project funded by the soon-to-be-killed-off-by-the-Tories organisation Creative Partnerships.
We interviewed police officers, ice cream makers, teachers and tram designers and we toured the Manchester Evening News. We managed to generate enough content for a 12-page paper, which I designed, got printed up properly and delivered to them in person today. They seemed pleased with how it turned out – although most were more interested in counting the number of photos of themselves than seeing their stories and names in print. Such is the power of photography.
It’s been an interesting and challenging experience in a whole host of ways but ultimately a very rewarding project to have been a part of. My last experience of the classroom – a year as an English language assistant in Lyon, France, in 2001 – was, despite being one of the best periods of my life, enough to put me off my intended career in teaching. That led me in desperation to a work experience placement on a magazine, several years of freelance music writing and a postgrad diploma in journalism.
This project has been really positive – it’s been extremely refreshing to have the opportunity to diversify like this, and to pass on my love of newspapers to children who might not ordinarily get to handle them and learn what goes into their production. It also gave me a crash course in In Design, which came in handy days later for my university Rethink project.
It’s such a shame that a valuable initiative such as Creative Partnerships is getting slashed. I’d have loved to have got involved in more of this kind of thing.