RTÉ Radio 1’s Arena to Run On-Air Creative Writing Course
Opportunity for submissions to be broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 and published by New Island Books
RTÉ Radio 1’s popular arts and culture programme Arena is to launch a free, on-air creative writing course beginning on Tuesday 4 December at 7.30pm and continuing on the first Tuesday of the month thereafter throughout 2013.
The course, entitled New Planet Cabaret, will see writer, poet, performer and creative writing teacher Dave Lordan discuss, deconstruct and demystify the process of writing covering a wide range of topics and genres such as poetry, short story writing, novel writing, writing for theatre, crime fiction, song lyrics and how to get published, to name but a few. Each month, Dave will set out assignments for followers of the course, who will then be invited to send their submissions in firstname.lastname@example.org for review by Dave Lordan and the Arena team.
The course is being run in association with New Island Books – Ireland’s leading literary publishers – and, in addition to potentially having their submitted work read on Arena, selected submissions will also be put forward for inclusion in a book published by New Island.
Dave Lordan currently teaches contemporary critical theory and poetic practice on the MA in Poetry Studies at Dublin City University. Dave also teaches creative writing at primary, secondary, third, and adult education levels. An internationally acclaimed poet, he was the first to win Ireland’s three national prizes for young poets. He is the current holder of the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Award and previous winner of both the Patrick Kavanagh and Strong Awards for poetry.
New Planet Cabaret will also feature guest contributions from acclaimed writers such as Nick Kelly, Colm Keegan and Kathy D’Arcy to name but a few.
Arena has successfully introduced the work of a new generation of pioneering Irish writers to its wide and enthusiastic listenership. It’s non-elitist and multi-genre focus on excellence and originality means that crime writers sit down with comics and rappers, that playwrights, poets and songwriters all get involved in the debate and the chat, creating a culture of mutual interest and respect, of collaboration and cross-pollination.
Press Officer, RTÉ Radio 1
Phone: +353 1 208 2452 / +353 87 245 8046
T: @RTERadio1 / @RTEArena
Teaching Creativity is an innovative new course in which anyone interested in becoming a teacher of Creative Writing can acquire the fundamental skills and inspiration to do so. The module will be taught by poet Dave Lordan on behalf of The Irish Centre for Poetry Studies at the Mater Dei Institute, and will cover the teaching of creative writing in primary, secondary, adult and community contexts, areas in which he has acquired an abundance of experience over the years.
As well as boosting the CVs of participants and enhancing their teaching abilities, it will also provide specific opportunities for particular groups of people:
Qualified teachers will discover new inspiration for the integration of creativity into the design and delivery of curriculum, as well as how to design a short course in creative writing, enabling a confident response to the increased emphasis on creativity in the Junior Cert, for example.
Community educators and youth workers will be able to develop the potential for incorporating creativity into their work.
Writers, both aspiring and established, can develop the skills that will enable them to do creative teaching work that will complement their craft.
Participants will be asked to produce a short course and lesson plans. A certificate will be issued to all participants. The course can also be taken for credit as part of MDI’s Masters in Poetry Studies, as long as an expanded assessment piece is presented.
The module will be taught over four Saturdays at the Mater Dei Institute: January 19th, February 2nd, March 9th and April 13th. Sessions will run from 9.45a.m- 12.45p.m. The course fee is 200 euro.
The module co-ordinator, Michael Hinds, is happy to answer any enquiries:email@example.com
my first school visit as Mater Dei poetry consultant was to Scoil Iosaf Mhuire, in St Mary’s Place, just off Dorset Street in inner city Dublin
I was working with a group of seventeen girls in 5th and 6th class.
I asked them to guess where I was from. Cork, of course, due to my high pitched fast-yappery.
I explained to them about the time, years ago, when a troll, an elf and a giant chicken stole into the Helium Balloon Factory in Cork City and released zillions of tonnes of helium into the Cork atmosphere and that’s why Cork people talk the way we do, like crazy birds.
Then I told them what we would be doing in the class would be telling lies.
I asked was there any good liars in the class? A shot of hands. Excellent.
I said let’s start with the poor old truth and let ye tell me something ye did last weekend.
A girl in the front row says: I went to my cousins’ and I had pizza.
I said what was on the pizza?
Pepperoni and Salami, another girl offered.
Says I: Can someone else tell me a good lie now to make the story better?
She broke her ankle, sir
But it’s fixed now. A miracle. Who performed this miracle?
A wizard sir.
Of course. Where was the wizard from?
What was his name?
How tall was he?
Two feet tall.
Ok, says I, I know him. A sound wizard. Stop it there now. I want everyone to draw a picture of their own wizard. What do we need in a wizard picture?
A beard- girl back row
A hat- girl front row
Glasses- girl middle row
Ok so, a beard, hat and glasses. But everyone must draw their own version, ok?
And so seventeen girls set about drawing wizards of their own invention. Here are a few of the wizards they invented:
Trizzard: Cross between a troll and a wizard
Guizzard: Guitar playing wizard
Lizzard: lizard wizard
Wizzire- Vampire wizard
Each of the wizards had their own magic object- variously a necklace (for time travel), magic specs(for seeing what you are thinking) magic paper (for instant translation) magic guitar (that can play any song in the world)….. etc
And I asked the girls to give each of their wizards a speech bubble and something to say.
To round off I asked them to turn the page around and write a little description of their wizard on the back- age, origin, magic powers etc
This all took 40 minutes.
There are, thankfully, many different definitions and viewpoints on creativity and on what purpose, if any, it should serve.
This is the mini-god, or mini-me-of-god theory of the artist.
Others believe that there is no creation, only discovery, and that the creative act merely unveils an art object always-already existing in nature.
There are a lot of other ways of looking at creativity, of course.
I have been searching for a working definition of creativity that helps me as a community educator- an inclusive definition that means everyone I might meet in a class has a way in to creativity, regardless of who they are or where they are coming from.
I need a definition which recognizes that everyone has the capacity to be creative at some level appropriate to themselves.
For community educators, being creative simply means creating something new out of materials that are available to us and that we are able to use.
Being creative means we are shaping and re-shaping available and usable materials, in a more or less conscious manner, in order to tell a story or impart a message about, for example, ourselves and/or the world we inhabit.
I think that, broadly speaking, we use two kinds of materials when we are being creative:
The first are what I call embodied materials. These are the materials we carry within our bodies as capacities and skills.
Embodied materials also break down into, at least, two sub-types. First of these is our capacity for language. I don’t mean exclusively or necessarily written language but our ability to communicate expressively with our bodies (speaking, singing, writing, gesturing…).
Crucially, our capacity for language enables is to tell lies and to make believe, which allows to adopt perspectives other than our own. Because we can make believe, we can empathise.
The fertility of lies is very important for creative writing in particular- a topic I will return to in a later post.
The second kind of embodied materials are skills acquired over our lifetimes such as the abilty to play an instrument, use an ipad, draw perspective , take a photograph etc etc. The more of these acquired skills we have the more creative capacity we have.
Beyond our embodied materials are what I call the materials-to-hand. These are the materials in our local learning environment which are accessible to us and usable by us when we are being creative. What our materials-to-hand might be depends on many factors: what school we go to, what kind of society we live in, what our social class is, and so on.
Every individual and every group you teach will have a different combination of embodied materials.
“New episode of the podcast featuring violin wunderkind Justin Grounds. Plus music from Bill Coleman, poetry from Dave Lordan and comedy from The Brownbread Players. Lovely interview, give it a spin!”
Kalle Ryan of Brownbread Mixtape, one of Ireland’s most enjoyable and innovative live arts events.
Clonakilty, where I didn’t grow up between the ages of 2 and 16, has been a destination for artistic emigres from all disciplines since the late 60′s at least.
Everyone knows about the late and much missed Noel Redding, and about Donavan, but there were literally hundreds of other artists of all kinds over the decades who came and went, or came and stayed. For me, the most important emigre artist into Clonakilty was Manny Langer, who lived for months in tent in the field in front of my house, and who established Craic Na Caoilte, one of Ireland’s best street theatre groups.
Though I had a number of inspiring and sympathetic teachers, to balance out a little the sadists who dominated the schools, I got very little musical or arts education in my mainstream schooling in Clonakilty. But my street and pub education in the arts was excellent- I learnt all about poetry, song, comedy, music and performance from breakdancers, travelers, crusties, cross-dressers, blow-in fiddlers and buskers, from the locals who loved to sing and to dance and to share their sadness and their madness and their joys, and from the immigrants who brought so much good, new and dynamic with them from their own scenes- including autonomous punk culture, which later morphed into rave culture right there in Clon.
Clonakilty was and is a cabaret town, with a welcome for everyone, and an ear for everyone’s song. It’s where I learned that no matter what the bastard’s did to us they’d never grind us down. They’d always be a rising of some sort to join, and more often then not that rising would have a soul of song and craic and music.
On the other hand I have to say Clonakilty was a completely different and more ambigious place to me as a native child – at the mercy of the ‘characters’ so beloved by the emigres who, at the end of the day, don’t have to truly live with or put up with them – than the shangri-la it has been to those who have moved there from elsewhere seeking inspiration and space. I hated the place with an equal and perhaps more artistically productive passion to my unavoidable love for it as well.
Hatred of being fixed in a fixed place is a crucial part of the nomadic spirit common to many artists. So me wanting so passionately to escape Clonakilty, and emigre artists passionately wanting to come there from elsewheres they could no longer remain, is a point of affinity and unity between us, not difference or opposition.
I could only survive and grow as a human being and an artist not by going to Clonakilty, but by moving away from it, although it remains a fabulous place to have not grown up, and to return to when the opportunity arises.