The John Hewitt International Summer School 2016
The aim of the Summer School is to explore political and cultural issues through literature and the arts, and to encourage residents of Northern Ireland to think critically about the world around them.
Through lectures, discussions and debate, the Summer School raises issues of relevance to the divided society in Northern Ireland, providing a platform for audiences to engage with speakers from different backgrounds, experiences, and points of view.
The Society encourages the use of the arts as a means to explore sensitive issues, and offers opportunities for engagement with high-profile, high-quality artists and writers; our creative writing classes develop the confidence of individuals and help aid their contributions within their own communities.
Community Bursary Scheme
The bursary scheme is a key element of the Summer School that increases access and is a core element of the Summer School. The bursary scheme creates opportunities for those who would not otherwise be able to attend the Summer School to participate in discussions and debates around building a stronger shred community in post-conflict NI.
The main beneficiaries of all bursaries are people of socio-economic disadvantage from throughout Northern Ireland. Applicants often would not otherwise be in a position to attend due to variety of reasons including financial hardship, socio-economic background, perceived societal obstacles etc.
The bursary scheme provides residential accommodation for participants to engage in a six-day opportunity for learning and sharing in a creative environment. Places are allocated following advertisement and awarded to those who demonstrate how they will use the experience of the event to benefit their local community as well as personal development. Preference is given to those who have not previously secured a bursary. This criteria tends to benefit a more diverse economically deprived demographic, e.g. this has seen an increase in a younger age profile of attendees in recent years.
All residential bursary recipients take part in a creative writing workshop, with seven workshops available to choose from. The workshops cover a wide range of genres and writing styles, including short stories, poetry, crime, children’s fiction and playwriting.
The Society successfully made available more non-residential bursaries, to give flexible options for those whose lifestyles do not allow them to reside from home for five nights (e.g. carers, those with dependents, etc).