Teaching

In addition to writing I sometimes run creative writing and script-editing workshops for adults and children, exploring everything from storm scenes and Symbolists to book surgeries and Beckett. I like to teach in a hands-on, practical way with lots of quick writing tasks before building up to more considered pieces of work. I often use objects, artefacts or other works of art for inspiration and stimulation.

I have taught for a number of organisations including the Skriva Writing School, National Galleries of Scotland, the Edinburgh International Festival and the University of Edinburgh Open Studies Department.

Writing A TV Pilot, Skriva Writing School
A six-month course providing script-editor input for adults creating a pilot TV script.

Royal High School, Edinburgh – Monsters!
6 sessions between Nov-Dec 2015, working with S1 pupils to complement work they were doing on A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. Culminated in a mini (monster) Book Festival .

Illustration and Text, National Galleries of Scotland
Two half day sessions for 2015 exploring the delights and frustrations of putting together illustration with text. With artist Audrey Grant on our collaborative project about an existential Jack Russell dog and Jonathan Gibbs, Head of Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art.

An Introduction to Art Criticism, National Galleries of Scotland
A four-week course looking at the skills and techniques used in writing reviews and art criticism. Inspired by the GENERATION exhibition, with contributions from writer and journalist, Susan Mansfield of The Scotsman.

Writer in Residence, Royal High School Edinburgh
Creative writing courses for S4, S5 and S6 pupils as part of the Edinburgh International Festival year-round education programme:-
2013/14 – the theme of war using Guillaume Apollinaire’s calligrammes
2012/13 – Samuel Beckett and the creative use of technology in writing
2011/12 – experiments with form through the lens of writers from Asia and the Far East
2010/11 – short fiction with a post-colonial theme, culminating in two publications of student work, Triangle 1 and Triangle 2 and a festival exhibition at The Hub in Edinburgh.

Writing from Artefacts: the Power of Objects to Inspire
A short course for adults as part of the Edinburgh University Open Studies Summer Programme 2013 exploring creative responses to exotic and everyday objects. The Course is a poem written by participant Gill Green about her experience of the sessions.

Inspired! Get Writing, National Galleries of Scotland
Creative writing workshops for school groups (primary and secondary) to accompany the annual Inspired! Get Writing competition.

Biggar Museums Open Day
A literary tour and treasure hunt to accompany my residency at Brownsbank Cottage near Biggar in 2012 – the last home of poet Hugh MacDiarmid and his wife Valda.

The Art of Writing, National Galleries of Scotland
One-day creative writing courses for adults to accompany exhibitions including: ‘John Bellany: A Passion for Life’; ‘Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Symbolist Landscape in Europe 1880-1910’; and ‘Edvard Munch: Graphic Works from the Gundersen Collection’.

Book Doctor, Wigtown Book Festival
Book Doctor ‘surgeries’ at the Wigtown International Book Festival for readers and writers on any book related topic.

Writers in Schools, Scottish Book Trust
A three-week course on creating and improving short fiction for S3 pupils at Inveralmond High School, Livingston alongside writer/mentor Linda Cracknell and teacher Michael Stephenson. Culminated in a Book Festival, a publication, Outbreak! and a presentation to teachers at the conference, ‘Artists and A Curriculum for Excellence’ in Glasgow.

Folding Words, Edinburgh International Festival
A letter writing project for primary schools culminating in an exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh.