For writers

A creative writing workshop in a gallery or museum can bring writing alive

To be able to hold a conversation about a sculpture in the room where the sculpture is, is a matchless experience… As a resource, the art gallery is fantastic.

Antony Dunn, Writer,
York Museum and Art Gallery

"I was able to encourage children's innate ability to respond to art, and to help them use this to generate their own creative writing. These resources are fundamentally about giving permission."

Clare Collinson, Writer
MaxLiteracy Award, Kettles Yard

"Contemporary art is a rich source of inspiration and ideas for creative writing that I have turned to many times in my own practice as a writer."

Stevie Ronnie, Writer
MaxLiteracy Award, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

"Gallery educators have certain skills that I learned from, things like different ways to look at the artwork, different techniques that I wouldn't have thought of before."

Mike Garry, Writer
MaxLiteracy Award, Manchester Art Gallery

"Engaging with writers and artists can have a transformative effect on the lives of young people. When I see that transformation take place it is a deeply rewarding and moving experience."

Stevie Ronnie, Writer
MaxLiteracy Award, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

"This residency has proven to me that contemporary art is a powerful tool for engaging young people in literacy and creative thinking."

Antony Dunn, Writer
MaxLiteracy Award, York Museum and Art Gallery

Developing your practice

Working with schools in a gallery setting can create new opportunities to challenge and extend your workshop practice. It can also help you to:

  • Extend the professional range of skills and experience you offer
  • Grow your skills as an educator through working co-creatively with gallery and school educators
  • Create opportunities to work across disciplines, learning from gallery educators and extending your knowledge of visual arts
  • Inspire your own creative practice


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


Contact the education department of your local art gallery or museum

Museum and gallery education staff are keen to build new relationships with writers and educational practitioners.


Talk to them about your work and experience and your interest in their collection

Ask them about applying with you for the next round of MaxLiteracy.


The art gallery or museum will need to submit the application and find the right school, but you might have good links to an existing school, or know an art or English teacher who is keen to try new approaches.

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

Not sure about applying just yet? Devise your own project using our resources.

Explore a variety of techniques used by MaxLiteracy writers in galleries

Watch video

Performance art with Antony Dunn

It's a moment in time that's captured forever. There's a story running up to it and a story that emerges from that moment. We're going to explore in both directions and see what kind of story we can tell.

Antony Dunn, Writer, MaxLiteracy Award, York Museum and Art Gallery

15 minutes

Watch video
Watch video

Audio guide and poetry with Stevie Ronnie

The purpose of the MaxLiteracy Awards is to explore the connection between literacy and visual art. Rodney Graham's work, thick with literary reference and peppered with the act of reading, has proved to be a powerful muse.

Stevie Ronnie, MaxLiteracy Award writer, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art

4 minutes

Watch video
Watch video

Poetry and music performance with Helen Mort

Bringing the painting into the school felt completely right - radical and necessary. It wasn't a case of taking the students to a gallery, it was a case of suggesting there are interesting and remarkable things to see everywhere, that art was already part of their lives.

Helen Mort, Writer, Leeds Art Gallery

5 minutes

Watch video

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