Robert is a very experienced teacher, confident and comfortable working with people of all ages and abilities. In a long, enjoyable career, he taught English and was Head of the English Department in a number of comprehensive schools, as well as working in Australia for a year. For the past few years he has been a Creative Writing tutor at Cardiff University, teaching an introductory undergraduate course to writing short story, poetry, creative non-fiction and playscript.
Over the years Robert has run numerous creative writing workshops for adults in community environments, focusing on building confidence to write about both the familiar and the unfamiliar, and emphasising the importance of exchanging ideas and responses in order to challenge the notion of writing as an isolated activity.
Robert is interested in exploring “archaeological” approaches to experience, digging into layers of history, place, heritage, feeling, memory, myth and imagination. He also sees writing as an intrinsically ‘green’ process of re-using, re-cycling, reducing.
Tailor-made one-off workshops in poetry, prose or scriptwriting are available for both the less experienced and the more advanced, whether for existing groups or for new groups in a community. However, blocks of weekly workshops, whether for three, five or up to ten weeks are likely to make more impact, to offer the opportunity to break the mould and explore new territories of skill and imagination.
FOR CHILDREN: THE WRITE BOX
In a 3-year cross-phase initiative by Worle Community School in Weston-super-Mare, Robert worked with interventions manager, Sue Hill, to develop a series of storymaking & storywriting workshops for primary schools. Using storytelling, poetry, word-games, mime, drama and song, they toured their themed workshops – ‘Open the Box’, ‘Space Adventure’ and ‘Flood and Drought’ – to groups of children in Years 5 and 6 to stimulate ideas for telling and writing stories and poems. Feedback from pupils, teachers and head-teachers was consistently enthusiastic for the engagement, energy and imaginative responses that the sessions generated.
These 90 minute workshops are still available from for schools or other children’s groups, clubs, etc. Robert and Sue are happy to develop workshops that are tailor-made for specific themes, events, festivals, competitions or special occasions.
Elizabeth Parker, Paul Deaton, Claire Williamson and Robert Walton
A collective of widely-published poets with four very distinctive, very different voices, The Spoke is a workshop and performance group that is available to run workshops, events and readings. Between them, they have a huge range of experience in teaching creative writing across a range of sectors and levels.