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On Tuesday, the 18th of February, 2014, I shall be working with young writers at  Birmingham Museum’s Dollman Street Collection.

This is a warehouse full of items that the museum is unable to exhibit permanently; picture the huge warehouse at the end of Indiana Jones’ Raiders of the Lost Ark, now bring the scale down a tad and instead of sealed crates imagine engine parts, huge, ornate clock brackets, antique computers and old prototype cars that never saw production.

Giddy up

Giddy up

Dollman street triangleYou get a very rough idea from these pictures of the type of thing you can elect to discover there.

This workshop is open to children aged 13-16 and will allow the children to explore this great space and then to handle objects from the collection.

I’ve been sent some pictures of the objects and they’re rather marvellous: kipper ties, weird hats, strange cats and other stuff I can’t identify. I’ll be putting the kids through a series of warm up exercises and focused tasks that lead up to them writing about the objects in no more than 140 characters (that includes spaces, punctuation etc.) just like a tweet, hence the title.

I’m really looking forward to this. I think it’s a great idea and will help them to think about editing and getting to the heart of writing: make every word count.

Here’s a rough outline for the session:

12.00 Arrive at MCC
12.15-12.30- Tour of the stores
12.30- 1.00- Lunch
1.00- 1.30- Introduction to the objects by a curator
1.30- 3.30- Facilitated session to create the interpretive material 4.00- Collection by parents

Here’s the brief:


  • This project will utilise the interpretation device of creating ‘Twitter Labels’. This means producing a piece of creative writing about an object using a max- imum of 140 characters, i.e. the method of delivery on the microblogging, so- cial media site ‘Twitter’. This challenging method of interpretation is inspired by modern tends in twitter story writing where authors are using a single tweet or series of tweets to tell a story. We would like the participants to create a story or piece of creative writing using an object as inspiration, in the format of a tweet. We are not looking for historical information about the object, i.e. its date, name etc. that information will also be displayed alongside.

Participants will be working with objects from the ‘Patterns and Textures’ sec- tion of the exhibition including examples of textile, glass, carved wood and more.

dollman_street_racks2-300x225I’m not sure who you contact if you have a young one who’d be interested in this project but you could try Dollman Street, just click on this link for details Dollman Street.