November 7, 2012
Category: Department of Chalk and Brushes
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From Teletubbies to Trainers in 62 Words

A special report from our volunteer writing mentor, Sarah Farley, on our latest writing wheeze. Read on! “This summer I helped at four very special writing workshops. 15 children from Rushmore Primary School in Hackney brought their imaginations to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green and took part in a joint project with the Ministry of Stories and writers’ association 26.

Their task: to write about objects that represent childhood in the 21st century. The catch: they could only use 62 words – a sestude.

26 treasures image

The workshops were jam-packed with exercises designed to fuel the children’s imaginations, and they experimented with limericks, dialogue and six word stories. They were full of enthusiasm and there was much laughter along the way.

At the final workshop we paired each child with an object. Some were toys – the Teletubbies – but there were surprises too, including organic baby food and a pair of trainers. And I thought a few would be tricky: imagine asking a ten year old to write about the MMR vaccine. But they rose to the challenge admirably and everyone wrote exactly 62 words.

I always enjoy volunteering with the Ministry, but this project was particularly special, as the children’s sestudes are currently on display at the museum’s Modern British Childhood exhibition. A great reward for their hard work.

These pieces are as unique as the children who wrote them and include poems, monologues, opinion pieces and a news article. You should definitely visit the museum and check them out.”

Modern British Childhood runs until 14 April 2013.

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