Eastside provides creative poetry residencies with a difference

Eastside Educational Trust is an award-winning arts education provider that supports children and young people from the most under-served communities across the country. Founded in 1994, Eastside’s mission is to inspire thousands of young people to fulfil their potential through participation in its creative programmes. They offer year-round creative workshops and fund artistic programmes and events across England for children and young people from 5-25 years old. 

How we work together

Eastside works closely with West London Zone to provide in-school programmes for secondary students in the form of spoken word poetry residencies. The ultimate goal of our residencies is to create an engaging and creative space to build students’ confidence and self-esteem both in and out of the classroom. 

Their expert spoken word facilitators work with students to formulate poetry skills, which vary from; idea generation, writing, editing and performing. The students are then welcomed to perform their group or individual poems at the end of the residency to an audience, and have the chance to become published poets in Eastside’s annual Spoken Word Power Anthology. 

What is so important about their work

Our spoken word poetry residencies are all about making poetry fun and accessible, working with students over the 10-week residency to build their literacy and oracy skills. We aim to empower young people to share and embrace their creativity and provide a platform for their voices to be heard. Across the residencies Eastside has run with West London Zone, they have seen students engage further in their creative abilities and grow in confidence.

For Haydn*, who took part in an Eastside spoken word poetry residency in Spring 2023, channelling their enthusiasm was a particular challenge when it came to written tasks. However, in the last session, Haydn attended the session early with a decorated notebook entitled ‘Haydn’s Book of Poems’ illustrated with words including: Emotions, Overwhelming, Movies, Political, Crème-de-la-crème, Touching and Outstanding. They had written a number of poems independently, and it was clear that Haydn had taken the concepts explored in the sessions and run with them in a completely autonomous way. 

“Haydn was writing poems for themselves, in their own time…as a poet and as an educator, there really is no more rewarding outcome than that!” Eastside facilitator

Plans for the future

2024 marks Eastside’s 30th Anniversary. During our rich three-decade history, Eastside has supported over 200,000 young people through outstanding creative programmes. Our upcoming 30th Anniversary year provides us with a unique chance to celebrate our impact and reconnect with our alumni, as well as to connect with and inspire a new generation of young people to pursue creative careers. 

Throughout our anniversary year and beyond, we are really looking forward to continuing to work with West London Zone to bring the power of creativity and spoken word to more students in schools across West London. 

Find out more about how to get involved in our 30th Anniversary Celebrations

As a small arts charity, any and all donations mean the world to us. You can find out more about how to support us on our website www.eastside.org.uk

*Name changed

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together, every child and young person can flourish.