Dare to Write? is the result of three years of research, led by Professor Bambo Soyinka, and developed through Paper Nations – a creative writing incubator located in TRACE, the Research Centre for Transnational Creativity and Education, at Bath Spa University.
Paper Nations was initially created to combat the lack of high-quality creative writing opportunities for pupils within school curriculums, with the aim of understanding and removing barriers to engagement with creative writing. The primary objective of Paper Nations research was to create and establish replicable models for sustaining a culture of writing’ for young people. In 2019, Soyinka extended the scope to include adults’ creative writing in the research.
The research process began with a series of action case studies in schools and libraries. This involved, for example, running workshops in schools with authors and getting feedback from participants. In addition, the research team consulted with authors, experts, teachers and workshop leaders through surveys and through a ‘Call for Evidence’ distributed with the help of the National Association of Writers in Education (NAWE).
The research was practice-led and involved a design process grounded in theories of play, experience design and transmedia. As part of this design process, the research team took into account contemporary writers’ needs and feedback, and adjusted the resources, media, and guides in response to these. The team piloted several versions of Dare to Write? before creating the version that is presented here today.
In short, Dare to Write? – a collection of resources centring around eight activities and the use of a notebook – emerged through a process of co-produced research, playful design and dialogue.