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Chatsworth & Me: 2022 Shared Writing Book Launch A Success

By - 30 July 2022 - 11:30am

The latest Shared Writing book is available to purchase now

On May 26th, we held a very special event at Derby College to not only celebrate the work of the Derby College Lexis students but also to launch the latest Shared Writing book, Chatsworth & Me.

To provide some background to the project, for a number of years, the Festival has developed a Shared Writing Community project, working with students on the Lexis Programme at Derby College to create a book of published stories by the students. The students on the programme are often aged between 16-19 and many have only recently arrived in the UK, with English their second language.

Many are refugees and have left behind challenging circumstances and situations to be in the UK. The past few years have been especially challenging given the pandemic. The books the students and team produce each year are a testament to the hard work of all involved and allow the students to showcase their language skills.

This year’s programme was particularly exciting as it involved the Devonshire Educational Trust at Chatsworth House. The theme was ‘Heritage and Home’, which saw the students visit Chatsworth House to find an object that reminded them of something from home. The result is ‘Chatsworth & Me’ which has been illustrated by students from Derby College and with photographs by students from the University of Derby.

While this may sound abstract, the students took inspiration from objects such as the statues and tablets, the Church, and the tapestries. The students could choose any object or picture from in the House or garden.

Gini Smith, Festival Manager, was in attendance and said: “The celebration event was a really uplifting and moving occasion, highlighting the literal and metaphoric journeys that these young people have been on by showcasing their stories and giving them a voice and an opportunity to share their very personal experiences.”

“It also demonstrated the respect that developed between the authors and illustrators who empathetically interpreted these stories to create this latest book in the series. The programme underpins the value of creative writing and the very evident positive impact it has had on the lives of those taking part,” she added.

Sue Wall, Trustee, interviewed the students on the evening and said: “It was so impressive to see how well these young people express themselves in a second language – all credit to their teachers too! I really appreciated the insight I gained from seeing Chatsworth through the eyes of young people who have grown up in such different cultures and with such diverse experiences. Definitely it shed new light on an historic English landmark.”

You can purchase a copy of Chatsworth & Me directly from Chatsworth House or via the website here. You will also find copies of our previous Shared Writing books there.

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