Why are we running this project?
Narrating, talking, writing or translating: Language is always both an access point to and an indicator of participation in society. Our project, “Weltenschreiber – Das Literaturvermittlungsprogramm für Kinder und Jugendliche” (Writers of Worlds – A Creative Writing Program for Children and Adolescents), aims to introduce young people to artistic forms of expression as a means to actively participate in society. The program focuses on methods of creative writing, which can strengthen linguistic abilities and self-expression, as well as (self-) reflection and empathy for different mindsets and behaviors. Furthermore, creative writing helps children and adolescents to develop their own opinions.
What are our goals?
Most importantly, we want to inspire children and adolescents to write. Our second goal is to establish this artistic practice in school lessons, at literature associations and universities as a method of cultural education that helps children and adolescents to discover and develop their own creative potential. At the same time, we want to give a wider audience insight into the worlds of young people. For this, we cooperate with literature associations in Göttingen, Rostock and Stuttgart. The four-year support enables the three literature institutions to present their offers for children and young people in a broader, more systematic and sustainable manner and to position themselves as central actors in the literary education for children and young people.
How does the project work?
From 2018 until 2022, the program will be run at the literature associations in Rostock and Stuttgart, and the Literary Center Göttingen. Each of these institutions, located in three different German federal states, cooperates closely with five schools of different levels in order to offer young people one- to two-year writing workshops. Well-known authors teach creative writing as an integral part of the regular German classes within the curriculum.
In addition, a cooperation with the Goethe-Institut – which took place in 2019/2020 - enabled seven schools abroad, in Belarus, Latvia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine, to participate in the program.
The 18-month teacher training, organized and hosted by the literature associations concurrently with the writing workshops, bases on the well-established model of the Literaturpädagogisches Zentrum Stuttgart (Center for Literature Education Stuttgart). The center’s program, “Literarisches Schreiben im Deutschunterricht” (Creative Writing in German Lessons), launched seven years ago and was developed in cooperation with Stuttgart’s literature association and the Department of German Language and Literature at the University of Bamberg. It has since become a widely recognized standard model in teaching methodology. As a first step, experienced authors guide teachers through the process of making their own creative writing experiences. A second phase focuses on methodological support to help teachers transfer their learnings to writing classes and guide students in their own creative writing endeavors. At this stage, the project partners cooperate with researchers from universities in Bamberg, Rostock, and Göttingen. Interested teachers who live in one of the three German states involved in the project can apply for the training at one of the literature associations or writing centers irrespective of their schools’ participation in the project.
In addition, a further need was identified and addressed in the course of the program: the implementation of the method of literary writing and related teaching skills in the qualification of professional authors at relevant universities. The cooperation between the Literary Center Göttingen and the Literaturhaus Stuttgart with the University of Hildesheim, the Deutsches Literaturinstitut Leipzig (German Institute for Literature in Leipzig) and the Universität der Künste Berlin (University of Arts) responds to this blank. By implementing relevant content in the studies - according to the "train the trainer" principle - we are once again strengthening the professionalization of literary writing and opening up new fields of practice and work for relevant students.
Results of this program will be presented at a big Weltenschreiber-conference in 2022.
Who are the target groups?
The program is targeted at children and adolescents between 10 and 18 years of age, authors, and teachers from all types of schools, as well as literature associations and universities.
Who organizes and supports the project?
The program will be implemented in the German federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Lower Saxony by the literature houses in Stuttgart and Rostock as well as the Literary Center Göttingen. In addition to the ministries of education of the three federal states, the Niedersachsen Foundation, the Klosterkammer Hannover and the VGH Foundation supported the program during the pilot phase 2018-2020. Further partners are the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, the University of Rostock and the Georg-August-University Göttingen, who support teacher training in the didactic field. Literary writing is anchored in the training of authors at the University of Hildesheim, the German Institute for Literature in Leipzig and the University of Arts in Berlin.