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Story Valley comes to Nottingham

In May 2023, Story Valley partners from Edinburgh, Leeuwarden and Ljubljana came to Nottingham for four days of project planning, presentations, sightseeing and story sharing.

This was Story Valley’s fourth transnational partner meeting and a chance for partners from around Europe to share and reflect on the project’s progress, explore Nottingham’s literary scene and centres for education and, excitingly, find out about how Nottingham College has been using the Story Valley teaching resources as part of their recent project pilot.

After reuniting and catching up over dinner, the first stop was Metronome for the wonderful

Writing, Reading and Pleasure (WRAP) Live! event. Staff and students from Nottingham Trent University (NTU) shared some moving pieces of work from their recently published Notes to Self anthology. A new photographic exhibition of Women Writers of Nottingham, produced in collaboration between Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature and Nottingham School of Art and Design, was also on display.

The next day, we got down to business at the University of Nottingham. The meeting began with updates from Story Valley’s three Intellectual Outputs: the teaching resource pack, website, and policy framework, which are all now nearing completion. Academics from the University of Nottingham then shared some fascinating research related to social integration of young migrants, translation and language learning. This included Professor Jo McIntyre’s Art of Belonging project, Dr Olivia Hellewell’s Less Translated Languages Network and Professor Nicola McLelland’s work with the Multilingualism: Empowering Individuals, Transforming Societies (MEITS) project.

After that, Matt from Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature led the partners on a guided walking tour of the city. Along the way, we learnt a lot about Nottingham’s unique literary history, visited Five Leaves independent bookshop and even saw the legendary Robin Hood, before, in true Story Valley style, rounding the tour off at (arguably) the oldest pub in England, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem.

Thursday was an opportunity to visit and find out about two of Nottingham’s largest further and higher education providers: Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies (part of NTU) and Nottingham College.

Nottingham College put on a truly excellent Story Valley launch event, with students and teachers showcasing some of the incredible work they have produced during their Story Valley pilot over the past few months. Students from a whole range of courses, including Foundation Learning, ICT, Creative Writing, Hairdressing and Travel and Tourism, all got involved and put their own spin on the project, producing work that was both inspiring and deeply personal. A diverse audience made up of schools, colleges, universities, libraries, and cultural education organisations all came to learn more about Story Valley and Nottingham College’s experience of the project.

Nottingham College teachers were also presented with Story Valley Hero t-shirts, a small token of our appreciation for all the hard work they have put into delivering the project, particularly during such a busy time in the academic year.

On the final day of the meeting, we were very fortunate to have an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Nottingham’s brand-new Central Library. After fitting in one last photo op, we said our goodbyes and looked forward to our next (and final) transnational partner meeting, which is set to take place in Leeuwarden at the end of August 2023.

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