Story Makers Company

Story Makers Festival | A new Kind of hero

Underpinned by creative pedagogies developed through our research, the second annual Story Makers Festival, Story Rebels: a new type of hero, took place in June 2019. The festival produced interdisciplinary work, reached new audiences and provided professional development to artist educators and teachers.

Story Makers Festival | A new Kind of hero

The Challenge

As a result of testing and a prescriptive and technical national curriculum, young people are alienated from learning. Story Makers Company (SMC) aims to provide a space for teachers, artist educators and young people to engage meaningfully in learning through the promotion and development of creative pedagogies.

Minority ethnic groups are currently underrepresented in curriculum, the Story Makers addresses this through creative pedagogy and use of story. Artists are provided with collaborative spaces to share and research creative practices.

The Approach

We were awarded £15k from The Arts Council for this project. The creative content for the festival was developed with artists in our Story Makers Hub over sessions.

The role of the Story Makers Hub is to support artists to develop professional development through shared practice and to identify funding opportunities in order to helps artist educators and teachers engage in research.

Funding was used to bring marginalized groups of children and families to the University and to support artists from a range of diverse communities and practices to share work. Teachers and educational professionals, as well as diverse authors were also invited to experience an immersive day of stories. Children from these communities ran opening panels with professionals to promote discussion around the importance of learning together through the creation and sharing of diverse stories.

The Festival was used to launch our first book with children. SMP publishes children’s books with associated teachers’ guides. For the young people directly involved, this has given them a voice; raised aspirations; given them an insight into publishing. For the young people and children working with the books and guides, this has: provided interesting fiction to read; lead to creative engagement; promoted positive wellbeing.

The Impact

Our internal Evaluation shows that 100% of delegates enjoyed the event and the majority (72%) had not been to a Festival like it before. In particular, the children were ‘inspired’ by the Festival, feeling their voices were valued, with one child saying it had ‘made me believe my dream’ and another saying they felt ‘really proud’ of themselves. Another child emphasised the way the activities had developed their empathy, saying that working with others had made them ‘learn that everyone has a different way of looking at the same thing’.


of delegates enjoyed the event and the majority (72%) had not been to a festival like it before.

Parents were also enthused saying the Festival had given them the ‘urge to write’ and that they had ‘loved’ the way the children took ‘ownership’ of the activities. Parents also valued the intergenerational work where they interacted with their children ‘equally’, ‘making connections’ in their ‘emerging narrative’.

The Festival evaluation demonstrates how 100% of Artist Educators benefitted from collaborating in this way and spoke of how they really valued the opportunity: ‘we want to do this all the time but rarely make time to do it!’ For others, their own practice had been transformed, both in terms of ‘creative ideas’ and the potential for research to ‘develop’ and ‘articulate their practice’.

The Festival achieved its core aims: producing interdisciplinary work; reaching new audiences; and provide professional development to artist educators and teachers.

Research outputs

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