Pop Up Projects, in association with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), has presented a series of workshops for teachers and authors to explore, engage and experiment with ways to bring books to life. 

Pop Up Lab took the form of a one-day practice-sharing conference, held in Swansea’s Village Hotel, enabling participants to discover new and imaginative ways to nurture a love of reading and writing in the classroom.

The Pop Up Lab focused on cross-curricular creativity through children’s literature in the classroom. The practice shared by authors and teachers has been tried and tested during Pop Up Festival, a national children’s literature festival bringing books to life in schools across the UK, including for the last three years in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot with support from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. The participating schools were:

  • Gwyrosydd Primary School, Swansea
  • Awel y Môr Primary School, Port Talbot
  • Coedffranc Primary School, Neath
  • Trallwn Primary School, Swansea
  • Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tirdeunaw, Swansea

Pop Up Lab was presented in association with UWTSD’s Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, which has been evaluating Pop Up’s work in Wales.

Dr Alex Southern, from Yr Athrofa, said: “Pop Up Lab is an exciting opportunity for educators and creative practitioners to share ideas for inspiring a love of reading and writing in the classroom, that’s packed with practical, hands on activities. Yr Athrofa is delighted to be working with Pop Up to support the event. It was great to hear from inspirational teachers and writers, and we hope that creativity continues to thrive in classrooms across Wales.”

The workshops were intended to help participants learn from teachers’ experience of working with authors in the classroom as well as developing new, practical ideas for reading, writing and creativity within Wales’ new Areas of Learning and Experience (AoLEs) to be launched as part of the new curriculum in 2022.

Participants also had the opportunity to make, draw, or write creatively themselves. The day ended with keynote speech “A poet’s guide to not paying attention in class” by Jay Hulme, performer, public speaker, and author of a number of poetry collections for adults, young children and teenagers.

Franziska Liebig, from Pop Up Projects, said: “Pop Up Projects are excited to be able to share learning and best practice that has emerged from authors and teachers collaborating imaginatively in five South Wales schools over three years, empowering teachers to teach more creatively and improving pupils’ reading and writing skills.

“Through our national children’s literature festival we enabled 5,500 pupils to experience 180 creative workshops and meet authors as writer-role models, also replenishing school libraries with 1,750 books. We thank Yr Athrofa at UWTSD for their invaluable support in making this Pop Up Lab possible.”

For more information about Pop Up Projects, please visit https://pop-up.org.uk