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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. Pre-pandemic we hosted face to face events, and during the restrictions developed our online offer.

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

Feedback from the face-face events was really positive with 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 

We are now promoting our Word Café online offer, offering schools a choice of four professionals, access to a film, resource and virtual encounters in the classroom.
We are currently delivering in Hastings secondary schools and Eastbourne primary schools and piloting a development of the model involving numbers and creative arts.

For more info contact: sarah@cultureshift.org.uk


Soundbites for students


We created a series of short films with 5 local artists during the lockdown.

In these short films, we meet with each artist over a 5 week period, giving young people ideas and inspiration to be creative with words. Students can create their own cartoon or graphic novel, write a song, make an illustrated book, or write a play.

The full series is available to schools or anyone who wants to participate simply by checking out our YouTube channel

Here are the films from week one: ​

SCRIPTWRITING with Christine

Songwriting with siddy

illustration with Ed

graphic novels with john

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 

Cartooning and graphics with andy