Adventures in Time Travel  

Creative fieldwork for passionate young writers.

Imagining History UK sets up workshops in historical places, places where past lives come alive and where your inspiration can take you deep under the skin of what you see and experience. Since you began your learning journey in life by moving, touching, looking, and discovering, our workshops inspire not just your mind but your body to find the source of your inspiration.

Our workshops become a source of new ideas, genuine personal discovery and creative satisfaction for writers. We use techniques that guide your physical exploration of a place and add thought journeys that allow you to unfold and unpack the lives of the people who might have lived there.

An IHUK workshop is much more than a history lesson, much more than a creative writing workshop. It is a many-dimensional and multi-sensory adventure – an adventure in time travel. We respect and celebrate your passion for writing and we want to deepen the satisfaction you get from it.

Why write historical fiction?

…historical fiction is a close relative of history… We write historical fiction, and read it, not to learn about history so much as to live it.

It is the closest we can get to experiencing the past without having been there.

We finish a history and think “So that’s what happened!”

We finish a work of historical fiction and think “So that’s what it was like!”

H Scott Dalton, What is historical Fiction?

We are our history – it is the source of our identity and our sense of belonging. Out of our feeling for who we are comes our creativity, and in turn our creativity gives us a greater feeling for who we are and how we think. IHUK respects the sources of your creativity as a writer, your individual sense of belonging and your growing confidence in the way you chose to express yourself.

Imagining History UK has devised ways to make you completely comfortable in extending your creativity in ways you might not have expected, but which open new doors in the way you write. Our unique range of inspirational writing and exploring tasks take you effortlessly into new areas of thinking and doing.

I was surprised how much I could be influenced by these facts – that I was able to come up with my own story…

I had some great ideas about history which I don’t often get. I really wanted to finish my story…

participants on past workshops

The team at The Imagining History Programme UK (IHUK) is made up of arts educators, professional writer/educators, academic historians, art historians and internet content creators. IHUK grew out of The Young Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction (YWSP). The practical inspiration for our workshops grew out of the philosophy and practice of Arts Council England’s much-missed and highly successful Creative Partnerships programme, which introduced school and sixth-form students all over England and Wales to amazing new ways of learning through creativity. Artists worked in teams and across disciplines in partnership with school students and their teachers to explore an arts-based curriculum.

Imagining History UK during and post- COVID

Imagining History UK workshops have begun a tentative re-entry into the world of in-person workshops. However our response to the pandemic, as with so many other organisations, was to find new ways of exciting the creative imagination of young people online. Check out our ground-breaking project Times Shifting – which used the present world of COVID and lockdown as history and asked an international group of young writers to imaging writing from the future. Our writers and educators mentored 18 writers from across the globe and their writing is now available to read in an anthology Times Shifting – New Voices from a Changed World

We feel a great responsibility to young writers who find that they are inspired by history. IHUK is umbilically connected to The Young Walter Scott Prize, the UK’s only prize for young people who use history as a source for their thinking and writing. IHUK introduces young writers to this possibility through its programme of open workshops in association with schools and places of historical interest. We also seek to support those who already display a talent in their writing. We have developed the IHUK summerschool as a place that allows writers to make the next step in their writing.

Check out our facebook page – facebook.com/imagininghistoryUK – for more information as well as other interesting stuff to inspire you.

Contact us if you are interested in joining our online projects in the future, or in buying a copy of the Times Shifting anthology.

Just Write!

For now, head to our Just Write page. If you have never tried Historical Fiction, the thinking, writing and imagining exercises you find there will get you started on your Adventure in Time Travel. If you are already a Historical Fiction writer, then perhaps our ideas will give you new food for thought.

If you are a young writer, read on here for an introduction and a more detailed breakdown to what to expect from an Imagining History UK workshop.

If you are a teacher/educator or heritage venue manager and you would like to know more about our history, vision and programmes, start your journey here. 

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