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EVALUATION OF THE ENGLISH PEN’ S READERS & W RITERS

P ROGRAMME 2012/13

D R M ELITA A RMITAGE

J UNE 2013

P ROGRAMME 2012/13 D R M ELITA A RMITAGE J UNE 2013 Image 1: europolyglot workshop,

Image 1: europolyglot workshop, Wapping Jesuit Refugee Service (photo: George Torode)

Melita Armitage Ltd

07976 066 740

melita@melitaarmitage.com www.melitaarmitage.com

(photo: George Torode) Melita Armitage Ltd ℡ 07976 066 740 melita@melitaarmitage.com www.melitaarmitage.com

Table of Contents i

T ABLE OF C ONTENTS

Table of Contents

i

List of figures & Tables

ii

List

of

images

iii

Headlines

1

Achievements

1

Opportunities

2

Introduction

3

Background

3

Evaluation methodology

4

Project summaries

5

2012/13 Readers and Writers Programme

5

Reach of the 2012/13 programme

5

Shape of the programme

6

Rating the workshops

7

Impact of the learning opportunities

8

The workshop environment

9

Learning outcomes: skills, qualities and knowledge

11

“Freedom to write, freedom to read”

18

Future interests meeting ongoing aspirations

20

Investing in writers

21

Employment of writers

21

training & developing practice

22

Developing relationships

25

Project partners

25

Beneficiaries audiences & participants

27

Conclusion & Recommendations

29

Conclusion

29

Recommendations

30

Appendix 1: R&WP Aims & Objectives

31

Appendix 2: Writers working with English PEN on the R&WP 2012/13

32

Appendix 3: Examples of the Head, Heart & Feet exercise

35

Melita Armitage, June 2013

2012/13 32 Appendix 3: Examples of the Head, Heart & Feet exercise 35 Melita Armitage, June

List of figures & Tables ii

L IST OF FIGURES & T ABLES

F IGURES

Figure 1: Beneficiaries’ rating of the quality of their workshops (Base: 46)

7

Figure 2: How beneficiaries felt during the workshops (Base: 44)

9

Figure 3: Wordle of words chosen by beneficiaries to show how they felt at end of workshops (Base: 36)

9

Figure 4: How beneficiaries felt about their creative experience (Base: 43)

10

Figure 5: Wordle illustrating what prisoners liked best & least about workshops (Base: 123)

11

Figure 6: Beneficiaries’ ability to fully engage in their learning (Base: 39)

12

Figure 7: Impact of workshops on beneficiaries

12

Figure 8: 2011/12 and 2012/13 beneficiaries' knowledge as a result of the workshops

13

Figure 9: Beneficiaries knowledge of English PEN's activities (Base: 36)

14

Figure 10: Partners’ knowledge of English PEN's activities (Base: 28)

15

Figure 11: Improvements to English as a result of workshops (Base: 40)

15

Figure 12: Future learning interests of beneficiaries

20

Figure 13: Writer's feedback on workshop delivery (Base: 14)

23

Figure 14: Partner feedback on impact of events (Base: 26)

27

T

ABLES

Table 1: R&WP projects 2012/13

3

Table 2: Reach of the R&WP 2012/13

5

Melita Armitage, June 2013

Table 1: R&WP projects 2012/13 3 Table 2: Reach of the R&WP 2012/13 5 Melita Armitage,

List of images

iii

L IST OF IMAGES

Image 1: europolyglot workshop, Wapping Jesuit Refugee Service (photo: George Torode)

1

Image 2: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di Stefano)

1

Image 3: Make my Day workshops at Tricycle Theatre (Photo: George Torode)

2

Image 4: europolyglot workshops at Wapping Jesuit Refugee Service (Photo: George Torode)

6

Image 5: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di stefano)

8

Image 6: Brave New Voices workshop at MRC forum (Photo: George Torode)

16

Image 7: Brave New Voices at MRC Forum (Photo: George Torode)

21

Image 8: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di Stefano)

28

Melita Armitage, June 2013

Image 8: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di Stefano) 28 Melita Armitage, June

Headlines

1

Headlines 1 Image 2: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di Stefano) H EADLINES

Image 2: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di Stefano)

H EADLINES

A CHIEVEMENTS

12 projects delivered with 50 partners and 11 funding partners.

242 workshops were delivered by 50 writers.

The programme reached 3,412 participants and 1,525 audiences; a total of 4,937 beneficiaries.

60 young people that had recently arrived in the UK linked their learning on the programme to a Bronze Arts Award.

The workshops instilled feelings of confidence, enjoyment and creativity in beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries reported the acquisition of skills, new knowledge and qualities such as self directed learning, understanding of the different stages of writing, confidence linked to reading, writing, listening and speaking English.

Beneficiaries and partners demonstrated an appetite to learn more about English PEN’s activities.

Half of the writers that wrote a report documented how the programme had helped to develop their practice.

Majority of partners’ aspirations for the programme were met.

Celebration events were strongly endorsed by partners.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

for the programme were met. • Celebration events were strongly endorsed by partners. Melita Armitage, June

Headlines 2

O PPORTUNITIES

Respond to an appetite for ongoing learning, consolidating what was learnt at the workshops.

Link with partners’ accreditation activity in order to add strategic value and further cement relationships.

Broaden the pool of writers working with English PEN through an open selection process.

with English PEN through an open selection process. Image 3: Make my Day workshops at Tricycle

Image 3: Make my Day workshops at Tricycle Theatre (Photo: George Torode)

Melita Armitage, June 2013

process. Image 3: Make my Day workshops at Tricycle Theatre (Photo: George Torode) Melita Armitage, June

Introduction 3

I NTRODUCTION

B ACKGROUND

English PEN's Readers and Writers Programme (R&WP) is the name give to the organisation's community

activity. Its purpose is:

To give socially excluded people in England the capability to enjoy their right to freedom of

expression.

During 2012/2013, the programme comprised 12 projects each involving different host partners, writers,

beneficiaries and funding partners. It had three strands, each with a specific focus: Prisoners & Detainees,

Young People & Older People and Refugees & Soldiers.

The list of projects was as follows:

Strand

Project name

Funder

Prisoners & Detainees

PEN in prisons

Monument Trust

Poetry Parnassus in Detention

Speaking Volumes (Arts Council England award)

Young People & Older

Speak for Yourself!

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

People

Faith in Free Speech

MB Reckitt Trust

PEN in Wigan

Orwell Prize

Wish you were here

Islington Council

PEN in Mildmay

European Commission Representation in UK

Refugees & Soldiers

europolyglot

European Commission Representation in UK

Brave New Voices

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Make My Day!

John Lyon’s Charity

PEN mentors

English PEN core funds

Writing Heroes

English PEN core funds

Table 1: R&WP projects 2012/13

Three aims underpin the R&WP:

To deliver high quality lifelong learning opportunities to disadvantaged groups of beneficiaries, currently identified as refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, prisoners, detainees, young offenders, young people and older people from disadvantaged backgrounds, in order that they can explore, develop and maintain – and be empowered through their Freedom to Write, Freedom to Read.

To offer training and professional development opportunities to English PEN’s greatest resource – the writers we work with and to accompany, encourage and support our writers, and associate freelancers, to build long lasting relationships with English PEN and our partner organisations.

To encourage and maintain a culture where English PEN’s community programme is continually improving its working practices as well as its relationships with beneficiaries , funders, partner organisations and other stakeholders.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

with beneficiaries , funders, partner organisations and other stakeholders. Melita Armitage, June 2013

Introduction 4

These are the new aims for the programme that were refined by the Head of Programmes in July 2012. Initially, 17 objectives were drafted to accompany these aims and part of the early evaluation work was to help balance the breadth of what could be captured through the evaluation with capacity and resources. Consequently, the 17 objectives were rationalized to eight objectives which are presented in Appendix 1.

E VALUATION METHODOLOGY

In 2012, an independent evaluation was commissioned to help English PEN understand the value of the programme for its three main stakeholders: beneficiaries, writers and partners. As this is the first time that English PEN have attempted to use a single evaluation methodology for all its education projects, there were inevitably some teething problems. This was unsurprising given the breadth of partners, beneficiaries’ access to technology and the possibility of equalities monitoring in certain circumstances (for example, schools or prisons).

The Readers & Writers Programme works in contexts which limit access to beneficiaries (for example, prisons) and where limits feel important given the premium the project necessarily places on trust between writer and each beneficiary cohort. Consequently, there was an agreed limit to how much access the evaluator could have with beneficiaries. We agreed, therefore, that either the writers or PEN’s Head of Programmes would circulate the evaluation and monitoring tools. In addition, the writers, we had hoped, would be supported to implement the evaluation through the newly appointed writer mentors. However, it was not possible for the writer mentors to take part in the management of the evaluation this year.

Unfortunately, not every beneficiary group received the evaluation and monitoring tools and so the data from beneficiaries was much lower than we had hoped. This is a key learning point for the first year of evaluation and we are working to develop processes that will support the writers and to reduce the demands on the Head of Programmes. However, each type of project (prisoners & detainees, young people & older people, refugees & soldiers) is represented in the data that informed this report.

The evidence used in this report includes:

Surveymonkey questionnaire for 2012/13 beneficiaries (46 responses)

Surveymonkey questionnaire for past beneficiaries from one course in 2011/12 (11 responses)

Equal Opportunities monitoring forms (77 respondents: 63 beneficiaries & 14 writers)

Surveymonkey questionnaire for 2012/13 partners (30 responses)

Feedback forms for 2012/13 prison beneficiaries (134 responses)

Writer reports (15 writers)

Correspondence from Philip Cowell and Irene Garrow

In addition, we tested a further evaluation tool asking students to use a Head (to express something learnt), Heart (to express something felt), Feet (to express something they would take with them), Thought Bubble (to express their ideas of how to improve the workshop). Originally, this was to be a facilitated tool that would capture the group’s response in order to keep the analysis manageable. This year, however, it was tested on a single project and every beneficiary was invited to create a picture.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

it was tested on a single project and every beneficiary was invited to create a picture.

Project summaries 5

P ROJECT SUMMARIES

PEN IN PRISONS

English PEN was funded by the Monument Trust to programme at least 15 writer workshops in 10 prisons across the country.

PEN IN DETENTION

English PEN ran a week long project with Speaking Volumes as part of Southbank Centre’s Poetry Parnassus festival. Poets ran workshops for detainees at Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre.

SPEAK FOR Y OURSELF

English PEN was funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation to train 45, 16 21 year olds in free speech over a six month period. The training culminated in free speech projects created by young people

F AITH IN FREE SPEECH

English PEN was funded by the M B Reckitt Trust to consult with young people on free speech and faith issues, leading up to the creation of learning resources that would help many more young people explore these issues.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

PEN IN WIGAN

English PEN partnered the Orwell Prize to run a day of workshops in Wigan, near to where George Orwell stayed when he researched his famous book.

WISH YOU WERE HERE !

English PEN partnered Islington Word (funded by Islington Council) to run four workshops in an Islington school. The project linked pupils with young people in a school in Sierra Leone.

PEN IN MILDMAY

English PEN, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK, created a two month residency in a care home for older people with dementia

EUROPOLYGLOT

English PEN, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK, created a six month festival that celebrated multilingualism, inclusivity and intergenerational work in the UK.

B RAVE NEW V OICES

English PEN was funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to create a project that celebrated creative translation, bringing translators into PEN’s education work.

MAKE MY DAY !

English PEN was funded by John Lyon’s Charity to work with 60 recently arrived young people from Wembley. The young people worked with writers on their creative writing. The project resulted in a book that was launched at an event at Tricycle Theatre.

PEN MENTORS

English PEN piloted a new programme of activity – one

to one work bringing together

a PEN writer and a PEN

beneficiary for ongoing one

to one support.

WRITING HEROES

English PEN piloted new work with returning and wounded soldiers in partnership with Help for Heroes at Tedworth House, the personnel recovery centre.

and wounded soldiers in partnership with Help for Heroes at Tedworth House, the personnel recovery centre.

2012/13 Readers and Writers Programme 5

2012/13 R EADERS AND W RITERS P ROGRAMME

R EACH OF THE 2012/13 PROGRAMME

N UMBER OF BENEFICIARIES

In 2012/13 English PEN aimed to reach 3,000 beneficiaries. The definition of beneficiaries is both participants and audiences, although the emphasis of the programme is very much on participants. The hope was that the 3,000 would be reached through equal numbers of participants from the three strands of the programme: Prisoners & Detainees, Young People & Older People and Refugees & Soldiers.

The actual number of participants was 3,400, reached through the delivery of 242 workshops. Additionally, there were events such as providing dictionaries to over 1,000 prisoners, circulating 1,000 copies of a novel to book groups and creating DVDs to extend the reach of projects to over 240 young people. These and other events reached audiences amounting to an additional 1,500 people.

In total, English PEN’s Readers & Writers Programme (R&WP) reached just under 5,000 beneficiaries.

The breakdown of the 2012/13 R&WP was as follows:

 

Workshops

Writers

Participants

Audiences

Beneficiaries

Prisoners & Detainees

30

26

1,075

1,065

2,140

Young People & Older People

98

17

560

340

900

Refugees & Soldiers

114

19

1,777

120

1,897

Total

242

50

1

3,412

1,525

4,937

Table 2: Reach of the R&WP 2012/13

Overall, the programme reached well over its 3,000 target for participants in 2012/13 and was successful in attracting new partnerships that extended the reach of projects. (Although it was 100 people short of its 1,000 target of young people and older people.)

P ROFILE OF BENEFICIARIES

Equalities data was collected from 62 beneficiaries in 2012/13 suggesting that the process of monitoring is not yet embedded in the programme. In part, there are some difficulties in collecting equalities data directly from participants, particularly in secure settings

Data was only collected from young participants and only collected by the Head of Programmes. Within this cohort of young people:

26 were female and 36 were male

1 person identified as disabled (only 40 answered the question)

1 Note that some writers delivered more than one project so the total here is less than the number of writers in each strand.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

than one project so the total here is less than the number of writers in each

2012/13 Readers and Writers Programme 6

There were no white beneficiaries; all 62 selected either multiple identities or a BAME group: 12 people Mixed/multiple ethnic groups, 21 people Asian/Asian British, 11 people Black/Black British, 18 people Other ethnic group.

S HAPE OF THE PROGRAMME

The range of learning opportunities was in part informed by the diverse nature of the beneficiaries. Learning opportunities needed to meet the needs of each group, whether that adaptation needed to address language, literacy or dementia. The style of workshops was informal, with very few sessions accredited (the exception being where workshops could be integrated to an existing learning module at the host partner’s organisation). English PEN briefs every writer before their workshops in a meeting with the Head of Programmes or Programme Officer to give an overview of English PEN’s mission, the R&WP and the beneficiary group. Within the workshops, the emphasis is placed on the here and now, rather than on the past. During these induction meetings, it is stressed that the writers are not counselors and that they need to be very clear about the boundaries of their role: they are there to focus on writing, using objects or other non contentious stimuli to help steer discussions to the here and now. Additional advice is given to writers that go into prisons and other secure settings and a two page document containing guidelines on behaviour, what to wear and how to work with offenders is also given to writers. The writers then tailor a workshop to suit the group and environment and they are welcome to discuss their plans with PEN staff.

they are welcome to discuss their plans with PEN staff. Image 4: europolyglot workshops at Wapping

Image 4: europolyglot workshops at Wapping Jesuit Refugee Service (Photo: George Torode)

Melita Armitage, June 2013

4: europolyglot workshops at Wapping Jesuit Refugee Service (Photo: George Torode) Melita Armitage, June 2013

2012/13 Readers and Writers Programme 7

During 2012/13, English PEN piloted a new tier of support commissioning three writers to become mentors for other writers on the programme. In total, 48 writers took part in the programme in 2012/13 and were drawn from a variety of disciplines, including: novelists, poets, journalist, philosophers, academics and political writers. In the majority of instances, the writers delivered a single workshop or series of workshops. Ten writers delivered two or three workshops or series of workshops.

R ATING THE WORKSHOPS

Beneficiaries were asked to rate the style and delivery of the workshops in their feedback surveys. The feedback was all positive with few disagreements (fewer than three against each statement).

The beneficiaries were asked to indicate their agreement with seven statements and had the option of ticking “Strongly agree”, “Agree”, “Disagree” and “Strongly disagree”.

In the following figure, these ratings were given a numeric value and the average is presented here. “Strongly agree” was given a numeric value of 4 and “Strongly disagree” a numeric value of 1.

There was enough support for me 3.5 Language wasn't a problem in our workshop 3.5
There was enough support for me
3.5
Language wasn't a problem in our workshop
3.5
Tutor got the pitch just right (not too easy, not too hard)
3.5
I felt safe learning in this environment
3.6
The workshops were interesting
3.6
Our tutor was excellent
3.7
I enjoyed the workshops
3.6

1234

tutor was excellent 3.7 I enjoyed the workshops 3.6 1234 Strongly disagree Disagree A g r

Strongly

disagree

Disagree

Agree

Strongly

agree

Figure 1: Beneficiaries’ rating of the quality of their workshops (Base: 46)

These ratings were corroborated by the partners in their surveys, with all ratings between 3.5 and 3.6.

Comments from participants included:

“It was an excellent opportunity to meet wonderful people and be able to express myself. It was a window of hope.” (Beneficiary survey response)

“This programme of English PEN was very, very useful for me. I really enjoyed the 10 weeks and I would like to request this programme should be continued.” (Beneficiary survey response)

Where criticisms were made, they were about the amount of food provided during the workshop (this person felt that constant eating was distracting) and one beneficiary did not rate the writers in the middle of their series of workshops.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

and one beneficiary did not rate the writers in the middle of their series of workshops.

Impact of the learning opportunities 8

I MPACT OF THE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

The purpose of the learning opportunities was:

“To provide beneficiaries with the means to explore their creative self expression and free speech in a safe environment and to develop specific skills, knowledge and qualities linked to the vision for the programme.”

This objective expresses three important themes the Head of Programmes wished to see result from the programme: acquisition of skills, knowledge and qualities. These themes were broken down into a series of indicators that included:

Skills: engaged learning (self directed learning, critical skills), language acquisition, active listening and co construction.

Knowledge: stages of writing, literary forms, role of English PEN and (for longer series of workshops) learning linked to human rights and free speech legislation.

Qualities: confidence linked to reading, writing, listening and speaking, heightened sense of empathy, understanding of writing as an act of empowerment.

A further aspiration for the programme was that it would enable beneficiaries to accredit their learning.

would enable beneficiaries to accredit their learning. Image 5: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event

Image 5: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di stefano)

Melita Armitage, June 2013

Image 5: europolyglot and Speak for yourself! event (Photo: Jackie Di stefano) Melita Armitage, June 2013

Impact of the learning opportunities 9

T HE WORKSHOP ENVIRONMENT

Establishing a safe environment to learn was fundamental to the success of each learning opportunity.
Establishing a safe environment to learn was fundamental to the success of each learning opportunity.
Beneficiaries were asked to tick a series of words that they felt expressed how they felt during their
workshops. The majority selected the words “Welcome”, “Supported” and “Respected”:
40
35
30
36
32
25
30
27
20
26
23
15
10
5
11215
0

Figure 2: How beneficiaries felt during the workshops (Base: 44)

In a separate question, beneficiaries were asked to choose their own three words to express how they felt at the end of their workshop or series of workshops. The following wordle illustrates their choice of words. The more frequent a word was used the larger the size of the font. As is very clear from the following figure, the words “confident” and “happy” were most often used by the beneficiaries to describe their feelings at the end of the workshops.

to describe their feelings at the end of the workshops. Figure 3: Wordle of words chosen

Figure 3: Wordle of words chosen by beneficiaries to show how they felt at end of workshops (Base: 36)

Both of the preceding figures illustrate that within this sample of beneficiaries, the R&WP experience was a positive one for the participants.

The writers also picked up on this positivity in their reports, often quoting individual beneficiaries’ responses to their teaching. For example:

Melita Armitage, June 2013

often quoting individual beneficiaries’ responses to their teaching. For example: Melita Armitage, June 2013

Impact of the learning opportunities 10

“‘Really enjoyed the lesson. I’ve learnt I can do anything if I put my mind to it and that’s down to you.’ Danni” (From a writer’s report)

In a series of workshops with older people with dementia, the writer reported how the workshops enabled participants to find their voice, again quoting an individual’s response:

“In particular one person grasps my function and both one on one and in group speaks about what her internal experience is – saying ‘I’ve got to get it out, people don’t understand, think I’m stupid.’” (From a writer’s report)

This last quotation illustrates the value of the R&WP as a means to encourage self expression.

Turning to creativity, beneficiaries were also asked to choose the words that best expressed their
Turning to creativity, beneficiaries were also asked to choose the words that best expressed their creative
experience on the workshops. Again, within the sample of respondents, the majority of words chosen were
positive. “Stimulated”, “Motivated” and “Inspired” were most frequently selected:
35
30
31
25
29
27
20
22
15
20
18
10
15
14
5
7212
0

Figure 4: How beneficiaries felt about their creative experience (Base: 43)

The 600 prison beneficiaries were not given the new evaluation forms in 2012/13. Instead, they were given forms that English PEN has used in the past and around 125 were completed. The questions included a rating scale that focused on enjoyment (of the book, workshop and recommendation to other prisoners), usefulness for reading and writing and how memorable the event was in prison life, to which responses were largely positive. The open question at the end asked prisoners to document the best and worst thing about the workshops.

In many instances the feedback from prisoners was that they had found the workshops enjoyable (24 prisoners), stimulating or interesting (22 prisoners), or that they had identified with the writer (19

Melita Armitage, June 2013

or interesting (22 prisoners), or that they had identified with the writer (19 Melita Armitage, June

Impact of the learning opportunities 11

prisoners). For some prisoners in particular, it was inspiring to hear that the writer had experienced difficulty, got into trouble and then turned their life around. Other feedback included enjoying the writer’s facilitation or reading their book, having space to reflect, discuss and listen to others, developing their literary skills and having space to write.

The following wordle illustrates the frequency of words the prisoners used to describe their likes and dislikes.

prisoners used to describe their likes and dislikes. Figure 5: Wordle illustrating what prisoners liked best

Figure 5: Wordle illustrating what prisoners liked best & least about workshops (Base: 123)

L EARNING OUTCOMES : SKILLS , QUALITIES AND KNOWLEDGE

S KILLS

As described above, an aspiration for the R&WP was that beneficiaries would acquire and develop their skills as a result of taking part in the workshops. In order to find out how far they felt that their ability to work independently and their critical skills had developed during their workshops, beneficiaries were given a series of statements to consider.

As in previous questions, they were invited to agree or disagree with these statements. Their responses were then given a numeric value where “Strongly agree” was given a numeric value of 4 and “Strongly disagree” a numeric value of 1. The average ratings for each statement is presented in the following figure:

Melita Armitage, June 2013

of 1. The average ratings for each statement is presented in the following figure: Melita Armitage,

Impact of the learning opportunities 12

take work away to work on alone 3.4 try something new 3.5 hear others' ideas
take work away to work on alone
3.4
try something new
3.5
hear others' ideas and opinions
3.5
present my ideas and opinions
3.5
ask the tutor questions
3.5
share my work with other people …
3.5
take part in group activities
3.5
support and encourage people in …
3.3

1234

3.5 support and encourage people in … 3.3 1234 Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly disagree
3.5 support and encourage people in … 3.3 1234 Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly disagree

Strongly

Disagree

Agree

Strongly

disagree

agree

Figure 6: Beneficiaries’ ability to fully engage in their learning (Base: 39)

In a further question, beneficiaries were asked to indicate their level of agreement with four other statements. This time the purpose of the question was to test the impact of the workshops on their ability to apply their learning and work independently. A similar scale of agreement was used compared to other questions.

Additionally, the question was posed to two other groups: past beneficiaries of the R&WP and project partners. The past beneficiaries were derived from a project run during 2011/12 that was funded by the London Development Agency. The 2012/13 project partners were asked to comment on their impressions of the beneficiaries that they brought to the R&W programme.

that they brought to the R&W programme. Deal with setbacks in writing Find people to help

Deal with setbacks in writing

Find people to help develop their writing

Express themselves better to others

Use skills developed at the workshops

project partners 2011/12 beneficiaries 2012/13 beneficiaries 3.2 3.3 3.2 3.1 2.9 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.4
project partners
2011/12 beneficiaries
2012/13 beneficiaries
3.2
3.3
3.2
3.1
2.9
3.2
3.3
3.5
3.4
3.3
3.4
3.4

1234

3.3 3.2 3.1 2.9 3.2 3.3 3.5 3.4 3.3 3.4 3.4 1234 Strongly Disagree disagree Figure

Strongly

Disagree

disagree

Figure 7: Impact of workshops on beneficiaries

Melita Armitage, June 2013

Agree

disagree Figure 7: Impact of workshops on beneficiaries Melita Armitage, June 2013 Agree S t r

Strongly

agree

disagree Figure 7: Impact of workshops on beneficiaries Melita Armitage, June 2013 Agree S t r

Impact of the learning opportunities 13

What is interesting about the preceding figure is the similarity between the average ratings for each of the three groups. The biggest discrepancy was in the statement about whether beneficiaries had found people to help develop their writing. However, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions about why this may have been the case, for example, it could be that the lead writers didn’t include progression advice or information about literature organisations as part of their teaching.

It will be useful to see how the 2012/13 rate this question next year to assess whether English PEN has a role in connecting beneficiaries to writers and writers organisations that can support beneficiaries in the future.

K NOWLEDGE

Both the current cohort of beneficiaries and past beneficiaries were asked to rate their agreement with statements linked to the knowledge that they had acquired as a result of the workshops. Specifically they were given seven statements linked to different stages of writing and literary forms.

A similar scale of agreement was used to the other questions in the survey and the average ratings are presented in the following table.

The responses to this question show more marked differences between the two cohorts of beneficiaries compared to other questions, suggesting that the content of the workshops in the R&WP have changed quite significantly between the two years.

changed quite significantly between the two years. 2011/12 beneficiaries 2012/13 beneficiaries 3.2 2.8 3.3

2011/12 beneficiaries

between the two years. 2011/12 beneficiaries 2012/13 beneficiaries 3.2 2.8 3.3 3.1 3.4 3.1 3.5

2012/13 beneficiaries

3.2 2.8 3.3 3.1 3.4 3.1 3.5 3.2 3.6 3.3 3.8 3.4 3.7 3.4
3.2
2.8
3.3
3.1
3.4
3.1
3.5
3.2
3.6
3.3
3.8
3.4
3.7
3.4

how to publish my work

editing my work

how to revise my work

different writers

different types of writing

a style of writing (for …

developing my ideas

1234

a style of writing (for … developing my ideas 1234 Strongly Disagree Agree Strongly Figure 8:

Strongly

Disagree

Agree

Strongly

Figure 8: 2011/12 and 2012/13 beneficiaries' knowledge as a result of the workshops

The figure shows clearly that the emphasis for the R&WP workshops is on the first stages of writing as opposed to the later stages (revision, editing and publishing).

Melita Armitage, June 2013

stages of writing as opposed to the later stages (revision, editing and publishing). Melita Armitage, June

Impact of the learning opportunities 14

Alongside knowledge linked to literary and creativity, the R&WP seeks to develop beneficiaries’ knowledge of human rights and free speech. Some projects, such as Speak for Yourself! and Faith in Free Speech had a direct focus on free speech, whereas others had more of a focus on self expression and finding a voice.

At the start of the evaluation, English PEN was interested in understanding how information about its work was being shared with beneficiaries and whether there was work to be done to brief writers more fully or develop a resource pack.

Each of English PEN’s activities were presented to the beneficiaries in their survey and they were asked to comment if they already knew about them, had learnt about them during the workshop or if they would like to find out more.

A magazine

Held events to showcase writers and writing

Presented prizes to writers of extraordinary books

Run creative writing and reading workshops

Promoted translated fiction

Led campaigns in the UK

Provided moral support for persecuted writers across the world

Campaigned for the release of imprisoned writers

4 15 16 5 13 18 6 15 15 8 21 8 9 13 14
4
15
16
5
13
18
6
15
15
8
21
8
9
13
14
9
15
11
9
10
14
9
13
13
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
15 11 9 10 14 9 13 13 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35

I knew about this already

0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 I knew about this already I learnt about

I learnt about this at the workshops

about this already I learnt about this at the workshops I'd like to find out more

I'd like to find out more

Figure 9: Beneficiaries knowledge of English PEN's activities (Base: 36)

While the number of respondents represented in the preceding figure is only a snapshot of the total beneficiaries, it suggests that there is scope for English PEN to think about the role writers should play in informing beneficiaries about the organisation’s activities. This is particularly important given that an aspiration of the R&WP is that beneficiaries will transition from participants to members and then onto other roles (such as volunteers or committee members). The Head of Programmes was not aware of any of the 2012/13 beneficiaries transitioning to members after taking part in the projects.

Project partners, by contrast, were more aware of English PEN’s work before the R&WP 2012/13 than beneficiaries. However, there was still interest from a number of them in finding out more about some elements of English PEN’s work, particularly the magazine, prizes and campaigning.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

elements of English PEN’s work, particularly the magazine, prizes and campaigning. Melita Armitage, June 2013

Impact of the learning opportunities 15

A magazine 6 9 10 Held events to showcase writers and writing 18 4 4
A magazine
6
9
10
Held events to showcase writers and writing
18
4
4
Presented prizes to writers of extraordinary books
15
4
8
Run creative writing and reading workshops
19
7
3
Promoted translated fiction
16
9
1
Led campaigns in the UK
17
7
3
Provided moral support for persecuted writers …
18
6
4
Campaigned for the release of imprisoned writers
20
3
6
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
I knew about this already
I learnt about this through the workshops
I'd like to find out more

Figure 10: Partners’ knowledge of English PEN's activities (Base: 28)

Q UALITIES

Improving English was identified by the Head of Programmes as important aspect of the R&WP. As one writer commented:

“From the many conversations that we have had, it’s my impression that most of the participants are really ambitious about what they want to do in the future. I think that they know that learning to speak, listen to, read and write English will go a very long way into helping them achieve their aims and empower them to move forward in life.” (From a writer’s report)

Beneficiaries were asked to rate their agreement with four statements linked to whether they felt their reading, speaking, writing and understanding of English had improved as a result of the programme.

Their average rating against each statement is presented in the following figure:

3.3 3.1 3.3 3.4
3.3
3.1
3.3
3.4

read English better

speak English better

understand spoken …

write better English

1234

better understand spoken … write better English 1234 Strongly disagree D i s a g r

Strongly

disagree

spoken … write better English 1234 Strongly disagree D i s a g r e e

Disagree

Agree

Figure 11: Improvements to English as a result of workshops (Base: 40)

Melita Armitage, June 2013

e Figure 11: Improvements to English as a result of workshops (Base: 40) Melita Armitage, June

Strongly

Agree

e Figure 11: Improvements to English as a result of workshops (Base: 40) Melita Armitage, June

Impact of the learning opportunities 16

The impact of the workshops on some beneficiaries is profound and goes beyond these four areas of language attainment. One writer captured this wider impact in the following quote:

“[One person] grew in confidence most in Speaking. He was so pleased when he was able to read in front of a group of strangers – and they understood him! He walked and talked differently after that, participated more in subsequent course he was on. He grew before my eyes.” (From a writer’s report)

He grew before my eyes.” (From a writer’s report) Image 6: Brave New Voices workshop at

Image 6: Brave New Voices workshop at MRC forum (Photo: George Torode)

A further quality that it is hoped that the R&WP will develop in beneficiaries is the sense of theirs and others’ writing as an act of empowerment. Figure 6 (above) gives some examples of how strongly beneficiaries agreed that their voices had been heard in the group and how they had been able to hear the voices of their peers. Indeed, one writer was impressed by the support that they observed between participants in a prison:

“[The prisoners] were noticeably supportive of each others’ work. The guards and helpers on the day commented on how supportive the offenders were of each other by the end of the sessions and one said, ‘I’ve never seen them that quiet and all working.’” (From a writer’s report)

Melita Armitage, June 2013

never seen them that quiet and all working.’” (From a writer’s report) Melita Armitage, June 2013

Impact of the learning opportunities 17

However, as one writer attests, the message of writing as an act of empowerment is not always the focus

of teaching in the R&WP workshops:

“I think they understood the concept in a sub conscious way. Although, every single one of them recognised that they had been on a positive journey that each one had grown in confidence in a different way. This ranged from writing a single sentence independently to speaking in front of a 100 strong audience. Every single one of them recognises that writing is power, it is only now that some of them are beginning to believe that they have this power in their hands.” (From a writer’s report)

This change of emphasis for each project is both an asset in terms of partnership development and a

challenge in terms of evidencing the value of the programme in relation to writing as an act of

empowerment. At the moment, from the evidence collected through the evaluation, it seems that the

emphasis on the empowerment message is very much in the hands of each individual writer and their

judgment of how readily a group of beneficiaries might be able to hear it.

All partners and beneficiaries were asked to comment on what the expression “Freedom to read, freedom

to write” meant to them and some of these comments are captured overleaf.

Melita Armitage, June 2013

freedom to write” meant to them and some of these comments are captured overleaf. Melita Armitage,

“Freedom to write, freedom to read” 18

“F REEDOM TO WRITE , FREEDOM TO READ

“Freedom with words is an internal 'allowing' that goes beyond environment and often allows people who access such a freedom to also transcend their environment, even if for a short time. The barriers to this in prison are not held behind bars but are tied up in educational and emotional injuries. We need to help people stretch past the memories of those scars in order to free them from the restrictions and discover their own freedom with words.” (R&WP partner)

“The ability to write what you want and read what you want, where you want and when you want without being persecuted or harmed or even judged. FREEDOM!!!!” (R&WP beneficiary)

“Often asylum seekers have experienced and

experience in their every day life huge restrictions

to their freedom[.]

unique space for them to dream, think and feel

alive and free.” (R&WP partner)

Reading and writing is a

“It is a basic right, nothing in the world can avoid this right.” (R&WP beneficiary)

Melita Armitage, June 2013

“Having a voice. Being heard. Providing access to the tools and skills needed to express yourself. Overcoming barriers.” (R&WP partner)

“To me, the expression is about removing potential barriers that may stand in the way. Inspiring, enabling and equipping individuals to express themselves and benefit from the expression of others.” (R&WP partner)

“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right. It is a very powerful tool. Freedom to write and read gives people the opportunity to tell a 'different story'. It also allows us to discuss and challenge information and opinions. It allows people to breathe and thrive (and be heard).” (R&WP partner)

“Releasing yourself