Words Workshops

Ideas for workshops using ‘words’


Unroll a big piece of paper and gather the group around it. On the floor, or on a few tables. I write A to G on it.

  • A is for ARRIVAL. We gather ways we arrived at the room in the most simple form and words. Someone from the group can transcribe for all. EG I walked in with Chris. Then we put these statements in more interesting language eg I strolled in late / At my side my best mate. That’s all poetry is: finding special ways of putting things.
  • B is for BELIEFS We collect beliefs. Can be big ones – I believe in God, can be personal or small ‘I believe in chocolate’ etc see ‘Ballads of Reading Gaol’ I believe in the Devil, and I believe in God / I believe in fluffy sheep and I believe in cod’
  • C is for Colourful words – choices here, favourite words, or words to do with a theme you may be working on
  • D is for differences eg good and bad, heaven and hell etc. Not opposites. Eg Cats and dogs, then play with these and what we expect eg cats and frogs. At our workshop we found money and change. Eg Banksy’s picture of a beggar with a sign: ‘I don’t want your money, I want change’
  • E is rhymes with ee, so either rhymes with flea or rhymes with cheese. Keep going there are loads
  • F is for footstep. Each person puts a foot down on the paper and draws around it. (If you need to take your shoe off you can). Inside the footprint you write some words about a step you have made in your life, about a time when things changed. This has been the inspiration for a number of poems.
  • G can be goodbye. Start the next session with H for Hello and keep working through the alphabet. H can also be hand – you can draw round your hand and write your qualities as a person in each finger. Or you can draw your hand upwards and write something precious in the palm of your hand. As you go the whole thing can get freer and you can jump about a bit on the letters. But it is nice to keep unrolling the paper and finish the alphabet. The group will suggest things for different letters.

Words Exercises Download

Download the documents below for more Word and writing based workshops
A selection of Word and writing based workshops [DOC 786KB]
Ballads of Reading Jail [PDF 2.1MB]