We Are Here: unique school / HE project celebrates diversity

Hands of Fir Vale students writing in workshopThis ground-breaking programme aims to raise the aspirations of BME pupils, promote the study of the Arts and Humanities and encourage diversity in the higher education curriculum.  School pupils are given the opportunity to develop their personal interests in writing and culture and to hone interpersonal skills which they can take forward into their future studies and careers.

We Are Here, a widening participation programme based in the School of English at the University of Sheffield, will continue its work with young BME school pupils in the city of Sheffield for a second academic cycle. Since January 2012, students and staff have provided structured support to a young writers’ group at Fir Vale School and the Year 9 Black Pupils’ Achievement Programme at King Edward VII Lower School through a series of classroom workshops and campus visits.

The King Edward School group have created a documentary film featuring interviews with staff and students at the University and in May 2012, Year 9 pupils Yousif Hassan and Sosan Ismail shared their views on the project by delivering a presentation to a capacity audience at a community showcase in Firth Hall, Sheffield Together.

Inspired by the theme of ‘Being Unique’ and assisted by Project Officers Ruksana Majid and Dr Ingrid Hanson, the Fir Vale group developed an online creative writing magazine which they will now manage and develop themselves.

Lecturer Dr David Forrest and Project Officer Janine Bradbury will continue to expand the scope of the project over the next 12 months, developing further workshops on African American literature, creative writing, literary theory and Black British film. There will be a celebration of the inaugural cycle of We Are Here during Black History Month in October 2012.

For more information, please email Dr David Forrest, Lecturer in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics on d.forrest@sheffield.ac.uk

or Janine Bradbury, Project Officer on janinebradbury@sheffield.ac.uk