For galleries

Museums and art galleries have enormous potential to inspire literacy and creative writing

The techniques, ideas and conversations we've had throughout this project will feed into our delivery of gallery workshops and our interpretation of work.

Vicky Sturrs, Head of Learning and Civic Engagement,
BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

"…the way that [the writer] unpicks an image is something that we've learned from, thinking about interpretation and the strategy for it, how we might start to use creative writing to support visitors to engage more, rather than at face value."

MaxLiteracy Award Venue representative
Evaluation interview 2017

"From my point of view, to be taking that step back and watching someone else's creative practice is really enriching and really useful. The way he (the writer) has approached things is very different to how I would have approached it, and that's the joy of a project like this. To make you think differently, and make you see things differently."

MaxLiteracy Award Venue representative
Evaluation interview 2017

"Small initiatives can have big and long lasting impact. The Gallery visit is now an annual event for the Head of English and the entire Year 9 of Tarporley High School."

Emma Carroll
Manchester Art Gallery

"From my point of view to be taking a step back and watching somebody else’s creative practice is really enriching. The joy of a project like this is to make you think differently"

Gaby Lees, Learning Manager
York Art Gallery

"Using images to stimulate writing is one thing, but we wanted to demonstrate the benefits of coming into the gallery and seeing the real artwork. Particularly as the new GCSE curriculum provided the perfect hook to encourage teachers to engage with the collections and make the gallery an extension of their classroom."

Emma Carroll, Senior Manager Schools and Colleges
Manchester Art Gallery

Supporting galleries and museums

Making an artwork, an exhibition or even an entire art collection the focus for a literacy or creative writing project can:

  • Extend the offer of a gallery to meet the core national curriculum and development needs of local schools
  • Inspire gallery learning teams with new cross-curricular skills and knowledge
  • Take a co-creative approach with schools, shaping learning activities that can also demonstrate progression and attainment
  • Grow cultural and educational partnerships and attract new funding


Thirteen-year-old Jessica has no vision other than light perception due to a rare genetic condition but was an active participant in the BALTIC’s literacy project about the Canadian artist Rodney Graham. Planning sessions placed Jessica at the centre from the outset and with the help of a ‘PenFriend’ audio labeller she was fully engaged in all the workshops.

View the case study

Plan your project


Get advice 

Get advice from a creative writing organisation such as NAWE who can help you find a creative writer.


Plan your project in partnership with a school

Think about the potential to work across the curriculum and with all Key Stages.


Work with a local school and creative writer to apply for funding

MaxLiteracy offers support for projects with schools, creative writers, galleries, museums and visual arts organisations. Find out more about applying.

Using our Resources and Case Studies you can devise your own project.

MaxLiteracy writers explain how they put their projects together

Watch video

Antony Dunn used a sculpture as a starting point for students writing a drama.

15 minutes

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Stevie Ronnie uses book making as a starting point in many projects.

4 minutes

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Watch video

Poetry and music performance with Helen Mort

5 minutes

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Try for yourself

The MaxLiteracy Awards are developing a growing bank of resources that teachers, creative writers and gallery educators can use to complement and develop their own art and literacy projects.

View the resources

Looking for funding?

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

Find out more