'We want you to know that if the thought of hurdles makes your knees quiver, or you are a little on the tone-deaf side, don’t worry, you’re not alone'. Norwich School pupils, Daisy Campbell and Isobel Comer, recently gave an assembly to the school on a new literary festival, the first of its kind hosted by the school.
"The creative sector is the fastest growing in the UK economy, and this is not said as a shallow evaluation of the creative practices: the money we earn is a poor way of evaluating our success in life – be warned – but this is a reflection of its importance and prevalence within society.
Creativity enhances our lives and is the remedy against the frantic disconnection of the modern workplace; it is a unique form of expression that allows for us to stop, to be, and to connect. It is the medium through which we preserve culture and record our lives: from the epic works of Homer, to the sensitive artwork of Boltanski, creativity is a document of profound emotions and narratives; it is how we challenge the world; it lets ask ‘what if’. The title of dreamer is no negative one. And this is why we are talking today, to encourage more of you to stop and think. To throw away the demands of tomorrow and the regrets of yesterday. Many of you will be involved within the creative forms of the expression that the school allows us to have access to: from Writers’ bloc to Aspect, the Musicals and Life drawing, there is so much opportunity to be creative. We are not alone in recognising the intrinsic value of such activities: you have probably heard of the benefits of creative practices, from reducing dementia and boosting the immune system, as well as increasing our overall mood. This isn’t some hippie appeal to tie-dye your white shirts and perform peaceful protests against your maths teachers on Monday, but it is an invitation to re-engage with the world for a couple of hours; produce something beautiful, and listen to the opportunities that exist beyond the school – perhaps it will even instigate your investigation into a creative career. And, as we said, it is the fastest growing sector.
Although we already have the wonderful opportunities to come together as a school, at the end of the year, to showcase talent in Sports day and Gala Night, we want you to know that if the thought of hurdles makes your knees quiver, or you are a little on the tone-deaf side, don’t worry, you’re not alone. So, as well as these events, Norwich School, this June, will be running a three-day literary festival; a kind of alternative way for people to come together and celebrate something that we love and something that is crucial both within and outside school - creativity transcends the grade that comes with the mere regurgitation of facts: it is a way of thinking, and can’t replace by robots or google. So, whether you are an avid writer or are terrified of pens due to exam flashbacks, the festival looks to provide a time to just stop, think and be creative.
Literature is the backbone of many creative practices, and the festival looks to expose this: from writing as an instrumental life skill, to forming the characters in a novel, the drama in plays, lyrics to songs or translations of visual imagery, writing is everywhere. To celebrate literature’s influential status, the festival will be hosting poets, screenwriters, songwriters and illustrators as well as showcasing the work of students here. From the influential activism of suffragettes expressed in a haiku, the short film Now You See, and even slam poetry, we are looking to celebrate and nurture a love of creativity. Not only are we looking to explore the role of literature within many creative forms of expression, but we hope to expose the value of collaboration between creative practices. We are celebrating this synergy by giving it a festival. Examples of this that you have already seen include Writers’ bloc’s collaboration between the Crypt gallery and music during our remembrance of the Armistice. Many left the gallery, after reading the poems and viewing the art in candlelight, in tears – it is beautiful to think that the unfurling ink at the end of a nib can be part of this.
At the end of a busy academic year, it is often made apparent that we are missing something. Throughout the bustle of everyday life and the pressure that exists both inside and outside of the classroom, as it has been so frequently repeated, we need time to stop. Through smilies and metaphors, the unknown becomes something relatable, and we can be taken to some quiet scape or thrown into a world so startlingly different from our own. And this is what we are encouraging you to be part of. Whether you always have a notebook by your side, or are just curious about the process of a play’s composition, or even want to come and listen to your friends, the festival promises to be a wonderful celebration of the creativity within the school. So, if you would like to come to an event, please let us know – an email will be sent out soon with details about the various events taking place, and the festival promises to have something for everyone. And in the meantime, maybe just take a moment to observe the world around you, perhaps even document it in words or a sketch.
So please don’t hesitate to get involved, it is amazing what this time to truly observe can do, exposing just how much we miss; not every blackbird’s black."
The Writing Festival will take place on Wednesday 19th June - Friday 21st June, with a special pre-festival event taking place on Thursday 28th March. More details to follow.