Get Hastings Reading Our passion for words goes viral

By Stephen Ratcliffe

Culture Shift, a key partner in the Get Hastings Reading campaign, has launched a series of short films to encourage young people to take up the art of creative writing. The films feature five local creative professionals.

A key aim of the Get Hastings Reading campaign is to share a passion for words and language.  With the help of journalists, scriptwriters and songwriters, the campaign was running a series of Word Café events in secondary schools across Hastings to showcase how words and language lie at the heart of their jobs.  This initiative was thwarted by Covid-19 restrictions.  Undaunted, the campaign decided to go viral. 

The five local professionals featured in the films are Ed Boxall, Chrissy Harmar-Brown, Andy Willard, Siddy Bennett and John Knowles, and their videos cover creative activities such as Graphic Design, Cartooning, Graphic Novels, Illustration and Script writing. Each video is highly interactive, and viewers are encouraged to share their work. 

Each artist has produced five short videos which have been shared with local secondary schools and are also freely available on Culture Shift’s YouTube channel. All 25 videos can be viewed at:
(Search Culture Shift Sound Bites)

Speaking about the project, Ed Boxall said: “I have really enjoyed the chance to find ways for young people to be creative with words and images.  The films are a brilliant toolkit that young people can go back to again and again, providing an amazing resource that empowers and enables them to be creative and have fun with words in a fantastic range of art forms.   The films will definitely help people to enjoy words and develop their literacy – but the best thing is none of the projects offered feel like work at all!”

Chrissy Harmar-Brown said: “I had no idea how the film of me suggesting some scriptwriting exercises would work and I was surprised and delighted by the results. The students responded with imagination and flair, creating compelling characters and coming up with wonderful plot ideas which I hope they develop. It’s always a joy when young writers are able to generate their own ideas.”

Catherine Orbach, Director at Culture Shift said: “The videos were a great way to reach out to young people during the lockdown. As films they are resources which will be there for years to come and we hope many more young people will access them. We are really grateful to the professionals who made this possible and were prepared to have a go at making films themselves – often for the first time.”

The SoundBite videos are part of the Read Your Way initiative, which is being led by Education Futures Trust, working in partnership with the NSMC, FSN, Hastings Storytelling Festival, Culture Shift and 18 Hours.  Read Your Way is funded by the Hastings Opportunity Area and aims to improve standards of literacy amongst children and young people in the town.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.