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Important News

We are currently planning a hybrid Festival with a mix of live, live streamed, recorded and virtual events from 27 May – 5 June 2021. If the government’s Roadmap goes to plan and the four conditions are met, our venues will start to reopen from 17 May and we plan to host live Festival events.

All tickets now on sale!


Our 2019 books include Writing Together, a student anthology on nature and identity, and Broomfield, an experimental project with young photographers

In 2019 we worked with nearly 400 young people on programmes designed to increase self- confidence and aspiration. Our schools programme with da Vinci, Merrill and St Benedict’s schools explored the theme of nature in poetry workshops run by Jess Green, a local performance poet. Our writing competition for Derby College students looked at identity: Who Am I and Where Am I Going? A selection of these writings are featured in our 2019 anthology, Writing Together, which you can read below. You will also find a video of Jess performing ‘Restart’, her poem about aspiration.

Our second book, ‘Broomfield’ was created by a group of 16 young photographers from Derby College’s Art and Media departments. It is a photographic record of students studying subjects from agriculture to sport at Derby College’s land-based campus, Broomfield Hall. The accompanying video looks at the photographers’ creative and developmental journey.

Both books can be purchased from the Shared Writing page on the website.

‘Small City, Big Heart’ is all about Derby, with poems from Bemrose school, stories from Derby College Lexis students and songs from Pear Tree Junior.

One of the Derby College Lexis students writing for our programme in 2018 ended her piece by saying ‘Derby is a small city, but it has a big heart’, and this became both the title and theme for our 2018 book, ‘Small City, Big Heart’. Year 7 pupils from Bemrose school had workshops with the performance poet Jess Green, writing poems about their lives and experiences in the city. Derby College Lexis students – 16 to 18 year old new arrivals and refugees learning English at the College – wrote about arriving in the City from their home countries – the cold, the disorientation and then the adaptation and friendships they found at the College. And Year 5’s from Pear Tree Junior explored the city with story-teller and author Richard O’Neill and wrote songs about their experience.

Nothing ever happens in Derby, that’s what people say, But we know the truth, you can have fun everyday

The book can be read on-line below. Unfortunately, due to low stocks, it is not available to buy.

Follow the links to find out more about our Shared Writing work with young people from across the city

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2020 Celebration Event

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Explore our 2020 books through video, with students reading their poems and stories from our virtual Celebration Event

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LEXIS Programme

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Find out more about our work with young arrivals and refugees from the Derby College Lexis programme and their books of stories