Take to your typewriters! Post a photo of your typewriter with a line of protest poetry.
On National Writing Day, 26th June, students from secondary schools across Hull will form a picket line of poetry. Led by writer Russ Litten and literacy charity First Story and funded by Back to Ours, the event will commemorate a ‘sit-in’ that took place in 1974 as a result of industrial action at the Imperial Typewriters factory.
A number of typewriter stations will be set up around Hull, and picketing students will visit each location in turn, typing a line of protest poetry at each. Picket line stations include Hull Central Library, BBC Centre and Hull History Centre amongst other stations across the city. The sit-in in 1974 had a strong message to it, and Russ was inspired to create the National Writing Day event in response to this. The workers were protesting the closure of the factory, and the sit-in served to demonstrate the factory’s productivity, whilst prompting talks about creating a workers’ cooperative to continue British typewriter production.
Recent reports demonstrate that children and young people are having less access to creative writing at school, and the students involved in the picket line are amplifying their manifesto that writing is their right.
The event will culminate with students holding a mass Picket Line Poetry reading at the bandstand in Queens Gardens and members of the public are invited to join!
On National Writing Day, First Story and partners are calling on everyone, everywhere to take part in a freewriting exercise. The seven minute ‘Write Away’ is on the theme of ‘place’. This can be a physical place, a place in time or an imaginary place. The objective is to inspire people everywhere to discover the pleasure and power of writing by taking part in a classroom, at home or in the office. It can be done by hand, using a phone or tablet, making a recording or even better, typing on a typewriter!
Russ Litten is calling out for anyone involved in the Imperial Typewriters sit-in to get in touch with him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This event is funded by Back to Ours, an arts organisation that puts local communities at the heart of choosing, creating and participating in incredible arts activities and experiences.