Pieces of paper with the words Artists Shipwrecked Witness on them

Year 7 student

MaxLiteracy develops new ways of teaching creative writing and literacy by bringing writers, schools, galleries and museums together.

Piece of writing paper with the statement 'I can see blood, bright as my mum's lipstick, on my stomach'.

Kate, Year 9

The idea of using the art as a starting point to make something creative is brilliant. It’s a whole new educational genre.

Tim Marvel, Head of Art
The Joseph Rowntree Secondary School, York

Piece of writing paper with the words 'If I was a work of art I would be a collage with wobbly spaghetti as my hair'

Emily Year 5

Engaging with writers and artists can have a transformative effect on the lives of young people.

Stevie Ronnie, Writer

What is MaxLiteracy?

MaxLiteracy offers funding for museums and galleries in England to work in partnership with schools and writers as part of a programme to stimulate literacy through the visual arts.

Using collections and displays as inspiration, these collaborations produce innovative resources that are available for anyone to download and use.

Watch our film to see how MaxLiteracy has helped young people.

Running time 2:46 mins

For teachers

Ideas to support writing and literacy across the curriculum for all ages using the visual arts as stimulus

For galleries

Take an individual artwork, an exhibition, your collection or building, as a prompt for writing

For writers

Learn from the experience of writers who have been part of MaxLiteracy projects and explore the resources created


Evaluation reports from the 2017 MaxLiteracy projects show:

  • 30% of year 7E pupils from Northumberland Church of England Academy, Ashington showed an increase in one literacy level or more
  • 74% showed an increase of one level or more in their behaviour
  • All teachers said that students became more confident, creative writers
  • All Gallery educators considered student speaking and listening skills had improved
Jodie Soanes

Behaviour has definitely improved. When they are in the classroom now I can teach and I can see that they are learning.

Jodie Soanes, Year 5 Teacher, Stanningley Primary School

Students of Stanningley Primary School

It’s inspired me to become more confident to read my work out.

Year 5 child, Stanningley Primary School

Mike and with pupils sitting at their desks

Mike got pupils to speak out in the Gallery who never contributed in class.

Emma Carroll, Senior Manager, Schools and Colleges, Manchester Art Gallery

Case studies of MaxLiteracy in action

Leeds Art Gallery

Key Stage 1 and 2 (ages 5 – 11)

An original painting, On the Move by Jack Butler Yeats, is loaned to a local primary school where it stimulates ideas for colour, poetry, music and public performance.

  • art on loan
  • families
  • poetry

Attenborough Arts Centre

SEN (ages 7 - 16)

A pioneering project supporting non-verbal students with profound learning difficulties from Ashmount School, to experience new language and produce visual poetry with creative writer John (Owen) Berkavitch.

  • developing vocabulary
  • non-verbal

BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 – 14)

A major exhibition is the stimulus for bookmaking, guided writing, printing and random poetry, and an alternative audio guide for the venue is voiced by year 7 students.

  • exhibition
  • mixed ability
  • visual impairment

Try for yourself

Develop your own creative literacy project inspired by art from your local gallery or museum.

Our resources give you useful tips for planning your project and making it happen.

View the resources

Looking for funding?

Check back here for an announcement on when the next funding round will open

Find out more