Tuesday, May 22, 2012

WEA Creative Writing Courses (From 1986 -1990) - Teesside

WEA Creative Writing Courses (From 1986 -1990) - Teesside

Creative Writing courses of one form or another in the Cleveland (Tees Valley Area) had been part of the
provision but from 1986 they became part of a wider strategy between Outlet Magazine, Community Arts Middlesbrough (CAM) and the Workers Educational Association (WEA) through which Trev Teasdel was the link - as tutor, co-editor / founder of Outlet and member of Community Arts Middlesbrough voluntary management committee.

Through this strategy, Outlet magazine went out free through libraries in the area attracting new and developing writers and the courses were established in some of the places where there was sufficient interest, which was most places in the Cleveland area although WEA Yorkshire (which Trevor was involved with as a tutor and Middlesbrough Branch committee member) could only provide south of the Tees. At that time the Northern WEA region provided North of the Tees. This formed an infrastructure of a central magazine, creative writing courses and a network of writers groups around the area which formed the basis for the establishment of Write Around in 1989.

Provision of Creative Writing courses around the area before 1986 was provided in the main by the WEA, Leeds University Adult Education and the local FE Colleges. 

WEA Northern District provided courses in 
Darlington (with Writer in Residence / poet John Mingay); the 
People's Centre, Hartlepool - with celebrated poet Charles Causley and established a long running Writers Group. 
Stockton - WEA ? University of Durham Centre in Hartington Rd. The popular Women's Writing Course with Mary Cooper.

WEA Yorkshire District provided courses in

Stokesley (at the Comprehensive School) 1983. This was both a course and a Writers group with a string Ray Brown (83) Peter Rushforth (84) Andy Croft (85) Trev Teasdel (86) - others included John Bond and Eugenie Summerfield.
of tutors between 1983 and 1989 including
Middlesbrough (on the Hemlington Estate) with literature tutor / poet Andy Croft in 1984, a one term course which produced an anthology.
From 1986 to 1990 - Courses tutored by Trev Teasdel as itemised below.

FE Creative Writing Courses -

Redcar Technical College - with East Cleveland poet / tutor Tim Beswick (long standing during the 80's)
Longlands College Middlesbrough / Billingham Tech / Kirby College Middlesbrough and Hartlepool Tech with novelist tutors such as Barbara Gamble, Eleanor Fairburn, Heather Bennett.
Cleveland County Adult Education ran some too.
Between 1986 and 1990 south of the Tees WEA ran between 3 to 5 courses a term with Tutor Trev Teasdel. These courses were part of a wider vision for the Cleveland Writing scene, to bring would be writers out of the woodwork, isolated housewives scribbling at the kitchen table, redundant workers, retired people often with little or no qualifications but stories to tell. With an Outlet in the form of Outlet Magazine and a growing network of informal writers groups (many of which came out of the classes) and negotiations in hand to develop an annual Writing festival (Write Around), the courses were essential to that development.

October 1987 - Outlet advertised - Darlington WEA Branch Poetry / Short Story competition - prizes totalling £250 - Closing date 20th November 1987. Entry details to Mrs Val Portass, Competition Secretary, Bennett House, 14 Horsemarket, Darlington DL1 5PT"

Trev Teasdel's WEA Creative Writing Courses 1986 - 1990 -

Writing For Fun - Organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Community Arts Middlesbrough. 6 week course held at Albert Hotel, Albert Rd. Middlesbrough. Intention to provide a workshop course for some of the members of Teesside Writers Workshop but open to others. 20 people enrolled. The Write Now (workshop group) (as a splinter of the Teesside Writers Workshop, was a result of this course and some Write Now members formed the Editorial board of Outlet Magazine including Pauline Plummer, Viv Harland, Mel McEvoy, Terry Lawson, Cath Mckenna, Vera Davies. Start date Jan 30th 7-9pm. 

Writing For Pleasure - Organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine. Venue Newport Neighbourhood Centre, Middlesbrough.Start date Monday September 22nd for 10 weeks 7 - 9pm. Some members would later join Margaret Weir's Phoenix Poetry Group in Middlesbrough and contribute to Outlet. Notably members of the class - Pauline Plummer and Vera Davies (both Outlet Editors).

Creative Writing - Organised by Stokesley WEA branch and Outlet Magazine.Venue - Stokesley Comprehensive School 7 - 9pm Start date Tuesday 23rd September 7 -9pm. The Stokesley Writers Group, by arrangement with WEA had a tutored course each year from 1983 with a different tutor each year. In 1986 Trev Teasdel was the tutor providing a one term course. Trevor introduced the group to The new Outlet Magazine and and some members got involved in the developing Write Around negotiations from 1987. Trevor also produced the groups first anthology, enabling the group to learn the production and editing skills involved and using the then state of the art - Amstrad Word Processors. The anthology was called Leven Lines with a cover designed by local historian Daphne Franks husband. Daphne Franks also gave Trevor a copy of her book Printing and Publishing in Stokesley which later led Trevor to develop the George Markham Tweddell Website with Paul Tweddell, the descendant of this 19thC influential Chartist, poet, printer and publisher. Tweddell also wrote a history of Writers in the Cleveland area from 500 AD to 1870 -The Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham - available as a pdf download here (It will take a while to load as it is a 300 page book!).


Autumn Term

Writing for Pleasure - Evening Course Tues 7.30 - 9.30 organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet at Middlesbrough Settlement for three terms during 1987.

Writing For Pleasure - Day Course for two terms at the Middlesbrough Settlement and the autumn term at Acklam Library.

The result of the 1987 courses were two anthologies - Little Acorns (from the Day classes) and Reflections (from the evening classes) both published by Outlet Magazine. Some of the students joined the Phoenix Poetry Group in 1988 and contributed to Outlet.

Although the courses were run in Middlesbrough, because Outlet was Cleveland wide and so was the press publicity, the student were from all over Cleveland.

Spring Term
Creative Writing - 18th Jan, Sunnyfield House, Guisborough. Organised by WEA Guisborough Branch and Outlet

 Magazine. 10 week course 2 - 4.

Creative Writing - 19th Jan - 7.30 - 9.30 The Settlement - Organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine.

Creative Writing -21st Jan - 1.45 - 3.45 The Settlement -WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine.

Summer Term

Creative Writing - For Age Concern,St Mary's Centre, Middlesbrough 10 - Noon, organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch, Outlet Magazine and Age Concern. Start April 20th, 9 meetings.

Creative Writing, Sunnyfield House, Guisborough. Organised by WEA Guisborough Branch and Outlet Magazine

Creative Writing - The Middlesbrough Settlement, 7.30 - 9.30 WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine.

Creative Writing - The Middlesbrough Settlement -Day class, WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine.


Autumn Term

Creative Writing - Sunnyfield House, Guisborough - WEA Guisborough Branch and Outlet Magazine. Day Class

Becoming a Poet - Venue Teesside Poly Humanites Dept - evening class open to all comers. Organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine.

Creative Writing - Berwick Hill Library Middlesbrough - Organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine and Berwick Hills Library. Afternoon class.

Creative Writing - Saltburn Women's Institute, Diamond Street. Organised by WEA and Outlet Magazine. Afternoon course.

Creative Writing - Yarm Library - morning course.Organised by WEA and Outlet Magazine. (in sufficient students this time). Course eventually got off the ground and produced two wrtiters  groups.

Highlights of 1988 - Margaret Weir formed the Phoenix Poetry group which many students joined. The Guisborugh Writers Group formed and Trev helped Joan Dalton form the Redcar Writers Group. 


Spring Term

Creative Writing - Sunnyfield House, Guisborough. Organised by WEA Guisborough Branch and Outlet magazine. Day course

Becoming a Poet - Teesside Polytech Humanities Dept. Organised by WEA Middlesbrough Branch and Outlet Magazine. Evening course

Creative Writing - Saltburn- WEA and Outlet magazine. Day course - Saltburn Community Centre.

Creative Writing - Yarm Library - day class. WEA and Outlet organised.

Creative Writing - Berwick Hills Library - day class. Outlet and WEA.

Summer Term

Creative Writing - Sunnyfield House, Guisborugh - WEA and Outlet. - day course

Creative Writing - Saltburn Community Centre - WEA and Outlet - Day course

Creative Writing - Ryedale School - evening course - WEA and Outlet

Becoming a Poet - Teesside Poly Humanities Dept. WEA and Outlet. Evening course

Creative Writing  - Yarn Library - Outlet and WEA - day course.

Autumn Term

Becoming a Poet - North Ormesby Library - WEA and Outlet- Evening course

Creative Writing - Guisborough Unemployed Workers Centre - WEA and Outlet - day course

Creative Writing - Saltburn Community Centre - WEA and Outlet Magazine. Day Course

Creative Writing - Yarm Library - Outlet and WEA day course

Creative Writing - Redcar Library - Outlet and WEA

Writing for Pleasure and Profit - at and for Leeds University Adult Education Centre, Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough Book Week - East Middlesbrough Coalition - Trev Teasdel did a series of writing workshops in East Middlesbrough schools during Book Week.

Highlights of 1989. Write Around finally happened in May 1989 taking the development work up many notches. Two groups formed from the Yarm course - and evening and day group, run by Doris Pearly and playwright Graham Farrow. Richard Briddon,Trev Teasdel and Margaret Weir formed a federation of Cleveland Writers Groups to pool resources and have exchange visits.


During 1990 Andy Croft,seeing the success of the WEA Creative Writing Programme managed to pull in some funding to run an expanded and free programme of Creative Writing Courses in the area with more tutors -many from Trevor's Classes. The funding came from the Leeds University Community fund.More on this in another post but 1990 saw the tail of the Outlet WEA course development and the start of the Leeds University Provision for which Trev went on to teach for.

Spring Term

Creative Writing - Brambles Farm School - day course for Parents. WEA Middlesbrough Branch / Outlet.

Creative Writing - Guisborough,  Unemployed Centre, WEA / Outlet.

Creative Writing  - Saltburn Community Centre -WEA / Outlet

Creative Writing  - Yarm Library - WEA / Outlet.

Extract WEA Report 1989 - 90

Anthology of the WEA Middlesbrough Creative Writing Course at the Settlement.

Some photos of the Newport Settlement - Middlesbrough

And the Newport Neighbourhood Centre, Middlesbrough

Community Arts Middlesbrough Creative Writing Course for Special needs with
tutor Trevor Teasdel 1991

Evening Gazette 1987

Often we set up a Writers Group from the initial course in each place in the Tees Valley we ran a Creative Writing Course. This is the Guisborough Writers Group.

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