Listening to love (2018)

This was a creative-writing project conducted by Michael Gratzke in conjunction with Hull author Joe Hakim and young people at The Warren Youth Centre in which we explored themes of love, relationships and intimacy through the creative processes of writing and putting together a love-themed zine. The aims were to develop the young people’s skills as creative writers, and to gain better understanding what it takes to hear marginalised voices. The latter was expressed in a dual emphasis on listening skills and practical skills in self-publishing.

Writing and talking about love and relationships (maybe the lack of them) can be emotionally involving. The group created a respectful and non-judgmental space for this. Young people were offered the option to participate in this project without sharing sensitive information, for example by concentrating on the practical side of producing a zine and organising an event. In the end all participants shared their experiences through writing. Prior experience with creative writing was not necessary. However, the eventual contributors were also involved in BOUNCE BACK .

We produced a zine which is available at Type Slowly in Hull. The launch event with live performances was well received.

Subsequently Michael ran a series of workshops with young LGBT+ people at The Warren in collaboration with Hannah Watson. The group dynamic was more fluid with young authors dropping in and out of the weekly sessions. The writing was powerful, creative and of a highly personal nature. We decided not to produce a zine or to have a public event in order to safeguard the young people, some of whom were going through difficult experiences with family and partners at the time.