Workshop Structures

Imagining History UK develops creative partnerships with and between:

  • venues in the historical and heritage environment
  • young adult writers
  • teachers and schools
  • festivals and arts organisations
  • museums

All structures are based on working with small groups of writers – either self-selecting, or nominated by teachers – coming out of a regular school day, accompanied by their teacher(s).

Our thematic and practical content is under constant review and development, informed by discussions with teachers, parents (in the case of home-schooled students) and the young writers themselves.

Each workshop or programme is given a title inspired by the venue or the material which has inspired the workshop in the first place.

One-Day Immersive

Our core structure has to date been most frequently programmed.  It lasts from approx 10.30am until approx 2.30pm. During the workshop the writers are:

  • introduced to the venue/historical site
  • guided in a pattern of discovery
  • invited to create their own impressions of the place
  • given time to write on their own, guided by occasional writing tasks and narrative provocations
  • invited to share their writings/ideas/discoveries
  • given an introduction to the Young Walter Scott Prize

This structure has been taken up by schools who are interested in using our skills-base and the field-visit aspect to complement in-school learning in History, English Literacy and Communication Skills.

Multi-Day Integrated programme

Over several days, in a structure that integrates engagement with the historical environment and a slower, more intensive process of writing mentoring, we are able to point young writers more clearly in the direction of a finished product.

  • Day 1  In-school writing workshop led by a writer-educator
  • Day 2  Field visit #1, co-led by writer- and arts-educator
  • Day 3  Field visit #2, co-led by writer- and arts-educator
  • Day 4  In-school writing and presentation preparation, co-led by writer- and arts-educator

Each workshop looks at a different aspect of the researching, developing and writing of a piece of historical fiction

This programme was initially developed in collaboration with two schools, one of which acted as a ‘hub’ to which the other school group could travel.

A partnership with a local Book Festival has allowed the possibility of a performance event at which work has been read to a public audience by the young writers themselves. We recognise the value of an event like this to focus the writers’ activity.

Read a blog entry about this project in North Cornwall here.


We were invited by Norwich Castle and the Young Norfolk Arts Festival to develop a residency model around two special exhibitions in 2017 and 2018 and at the Museum of Norwich in 2019.

Taking place as part of a festival, the structure was aimed at Sixth-Form College and home-schooled students. Four two-hour workshops, one per day, looked at different aspects of writing using the visual material to generate stories. Where possible, attendees are given take-home writing tasks.

We replicated this structure also at the invitation of the management at the National Trust site at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk.

Extension Projects

We are committed to developing ways to extend the opportunity to explore and write within the historical environment to as wide a group of potential young writers as possible. Our extension projects are partnerships targeting a particular group of young writers, or a particular subject area.

Our recent extension projects include:

  • working with MA Creative Writing students at the University of East Anglia, at the invitation of the British Archive of Contemporary Writing. We created a one-day immersive project centred around artefacts of the Annie Kenny Suffragette Archive. The students then worked with school students across Norfolk to produce Sufragette Stories. This project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Check it out here: https://suffragettestories.omeka.net/
  • developing a creative writing and exploration programme for students outwith standard schooling. On this project we worked together with the Norfolk Museum Service’s HLF-funded Kick The Dust project. https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/cy/node/110300. This project sadly didn’t take place due to the loss of funding and closure at the Host school.
  • we have an ongoing collaboration with Sir James Smith’s Community School in Camelford, Cornwall, developing ideas for field-working, extending out from our successful summer/autumn term projects that have been running since 2017.

Online Projects

The onset of the Covid19 crisis, presented us with the challenge of develop an online equivalent of our physically immersive IRL (In Real Life) workshops.

Times Shifting, is a collaboration with our Historical Adviser, Dr Dina Gusejnova (Asst Prof of International History, LSE, University of London). It explores the researching and building of the collective archive collection of the experiences, observations, reflections, philosophical writings and fictional responses of small groups of writers between the ages of 15 and 24. Read more here

Boughton Immersion, (working title) is a collaboration with the Buccleuch Living Heritage Trust, the management of Boughton House and our Arts Historical adviser Roxanne Matthews to create an inspirational environment for the writing of Historical Fiction based around an online audio-visual exploration of Boughton House in Northamptonshire. More than just a tour, it places the young writer in the house, in physical action, and gives them a series of writers’ ‘lenses’ through which to see their surroundings.

Boughton Immersion will be released in early July

Read more about our partners and collaborators here.

Read more about our team of educators here

Read more about our current programme  here.

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