word cafÉ

young people + professional wordsters = iNSPIRATION and aspiration

The Word Café offers an informal space where young people can meet and be inspired by a range of professional wordsters who share something of their working lives and the ways they use language in their work.

Sixteen professionals have been involved across four secondary schools whose expertise spans songwriting, marketing, scriptwriting, cartooning, creative writing, law, podcasting, and journalism. 

The programme was commissioned as part of the Get Hastings Reading Campaign and the Read Your Way project. It builds on our Creative Café careers model with a mix of practical activities prompted by professionals and broader discussions and activity around the challenges young people encounter with reading and the things that might help. 

88% of young people rated the events very good or excellent. 

'...it has made me want to read more often and work at a radio station'


 'really powerful in terms of engaging students who struggle with engaging with the curriculum. A moment of success in the way it was designed. At the end of the 90 minutes, every young person had created something and was able to articulate that and carry that forward with pride. In terms of raising the self-esteem of our students, it was really powerful.'


'It’s so exciting to discover students’ hidden talents, like opening the floodgates and I’ve been delighted by how funny they are. Really witty.'

Literary Professional 


Word Cafe:



We have created a series of short films with 5 local artists during the lockdown. The full series is available to schools or anyone who wants to participate simply by checking out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we share weekly updates.

In these films, we meet with each artist weekly, where they give us ideas and inspiration to create something together over the 5 week period. You can create your own cartoon or graphic novel, write a song, make an illustrated book, or write your own play. The programme is designed to be interactive, so we encourage you to share your feedback, questions, and your projects with us either via your school or directly with us by emailing info@cultureshift.org.uk. We can then share your creations and questions with the artists involved, and you might feature in their next week's videos! 

Follow Read Your Way Hastings on Facebook for the weekly video release on Monday mornings, or subscribe to our YouTube playlist Word Cafe SoundBites. 


Here are the films from week one: ​

SCRIPTWRITING with Christine

Cartooning and graphics with andy

illustration with Ed

Songwriting with siddy

Read Your Way partners include Education Futures Trust, National Social Marketing Centre, FSN, 18 Hours and Hastings Storytelling Festival.  

If you would like to find out more about getting involved with the Get Hastings Reading Campaign, check out the Read Your Way Facebook page