WoW sat down with Laura Robertson, Co-Founder of the Double Negative and Write to Work tutor on how valuable Write to Work is. Read on to find out further detail about the course and how to apply.
What was your speciality that you were tutoring on the course?
Arts criticism: telling stories about contemporary art and culture. I set up my own online arts magazine platform, The Double Negative, with writer Mike Pinnington in 2011. It's still going strong, and I'm now Editor-in-Chief. Since then, I've written for various international art magazines, like Frieze, ArtReview, and Art Monthly, and most recently US journal hyperallergic, and I'm a part time lecturer in Visual Arts at The University of Salford. I love my job!
What was the reaction you got from the group when you talked about The Double Negative?
I think people are always surprised and encouraged to hear that we were actually on Jobseekers Allowance in the run up to launching TDN. We made the most out of a difficult situation, and we responded to a gap in the market. Six months prior, Mike and I were volunteering a lot and also doing 'money jobs'; juggling our love for the arts (which didn't yet pay) and full time employment outside of the sector. When we were both made redundant in the same month (!), we sought help through the Jobseekers team to gain self-employment training. We used our time to research a business that would combine our degrees (BA Visual Arts, and Media and Cultural Studies) with our joint voluntary experience across art galleries, studios, arts education and freelance writing. The business needed to fill a void in Liverpool's otherwise healthy art scene -- there wasn't yet a dedicated platform for contemporary art reviews and features. Luckily, all our hard work paid off, TDN was a huge success, and it helped us gain more writing and teaching work across the UK and Europe.
What did you find engaging about tutoring on the course?
The students. I was thrilled to find out how talented they were; all of the writers were at a higher level than I originally expected. They came from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences -- some had been published before, and had worked in radio -- and they were keen to boost/refresh their skills. We had fantastic discussions about the importance of clearly communicating cultural experiences to others, debating, sharing ideas, and analysing the people, projects and places around us that mattered... All of which are key to understanding arts criticism.
Is there anything you would say to people who were unsure if this course was for them?
Sign up. You'll meet a diverse peer group who will be important supporters (maybe even collaborators) for years to come. You'll be encouraged to write in brand new ways; perhaps, like me, you'll be familiar with non-fiction writing (like criticism, or writing for news outlets or PR), but will learn how to write poetry and short stories. You'll come away with an exciting and significant portfolio (hard copy and online) that you can then use to pitch for paid writing commissions. Write to Work really is an engaging, comprehensive, practical and welcoming course for any writer looking to enrich their skills, boost confidence and get some much-needed support and mentoring. Being a part of the Writing on the Wall festival is also integral -- you'll hear about and be able to take part in all their associated writing events, competitions and opportunites. It can lead onto great things.
Applications are open for the first course, with dates of the second course soon to be announced.
Dates: Tuesday 7th August - Tuesday 9th October.
Deadline for applications is midnight 30th July and successful applicants will be notified by the 31st July
You can Download An Application Form by clicking here
To find out more information email or call Lauren;