Andy has been studying written and spoken English for a long time. He studied English and Philosophy at the University of Leeds and is now doing a PhD in Creative Writing at University of Leicester. However, the greater part of his training is through practice.
Writing and performing poetry took Andy from open mic nights, to booked gigs, to festival slots, and slam wins, to bookings abroad, British Council trips and commissions to write new work. The largest part of Andy’s creative training is now reading both fiction and creative writing theory.
Andy has been delivering workshops in schools since 2008 and thoroughly enjoys it!
“Part of the joy of working in schools is that every day, even after having taught 20,000 young people, somebody writes something that surprises me. Young people are generally better lateral thinkers than adults, so it can be because the idea or image is unexpected or surprising, but it can also be because the writing is honest and brave, or because it is beautifully phrased.”
More than technical expertise, Andy’s job is about enabling young people to take risks in their writing and performance by diminishing self consciousness and embarrassment. Andy encourages young people grow in confidence and own their creativity. Nothing comes out right first time, and Andy is happy to show how his first drafts of work prove this. But through discussion and facing difficulties, powerful poetry can emerge even from the most reluctant of learners.
Andy believes art and creativity is vital to human well-being. Countless studies show it, and Andy himself feels happiest when he has been making something. “It’s a chance for people to play, to question, to put forward a personal point of view. With seemingly less and less freedom in teaching and with less focus on the arts and more on business and enterprise, it’s imperative that artists go into schools.” In Andy’s eyes, young people get to see that, whether it is poetry, painting or music, an art can be learnt and practiced; it is not some form of magic performed by art-creatures, but a learnable craft done by people like them.
To see more about Andy’s work, please visit his website: andypoetry.com