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Our High Rise project, kindly funded by Manchester Adult Education Service, has come to a close. Over the course of three weeks, participants have been supported through a journey of creative writing, in progression towards creating a radio drama piece, surrounding themes of gentrification and life in high rise buildings. You can listen back to the final radio drama pieces on the show below.

The group were also visited by Louise Wallwein MBE, award-winning Manchester poet, playwright and performer, who delivered a poetry session to the participants and aided them with their creative process.

Following the participants debuting their radio dramas on Reform Radio, we caught up with Joanna & Emma to chat about their experiences on the course and where they’re heading from here.

Please can you introduce yourselves, some of your hobbies and what you’re up to at the moment

J: Hey I’m Joanna, my pronouns are she/her, and outside the course I take part in amateur dramatics and I’m a massive fan of wild camping.

E: I’m Emma and my pronouns are she/her. I love creative writing in my free time. I also do a lot of drawing which I’m hoping to start doing some commissioned work with.

Describe yourself in three words

J: This is so difficult. I would have to say bubbly, personable and creative

E: Resilient, friendly and creative

What prompted you to get involved in the High Rise course?

J: I was already interested in Radio anyway so coming along to Reform was really appealing. I also thought it would be a great opportunity to put pen to paper on some of my creative ideas I had been having but not cracking on with.

E: After a series of personal struggles, I was ready to get back out there and kickstart my creativity again. I was ready to meet some new people too.

Did you have much experience in creative writing prior to the course? What is your favourite thing about it?

J: My favourite thing about creative writing would be how much you get to learn in the process which allows you to put a piece of work together that exist outside of your previous realm of knowledge.

E: I love the spectrum of things you can address through creative writing; it is completely boundless.

What is your favourite book or poem you have ever read?

J: I think everyone has a book from when they were a child that they still feel attached to and remember as their favourite. In this case, for me, my favourite book is ‘The Voyage of the Arctic Tern’ by Hugh Montgomery.

E: The only one I can think of is ‘Blood Ties’ by Sophie McKenzie.

If you throw it back to your first day at Reform, verus now, how have your feelings and first impressions changed?

J: I’m really impressed that these courses even exist, to be honest. I think as I’ve progressed through the project I’ve been continuously surprised at the quality of its delivery and the amount of care and well-being support you guys offer to participants too. It’s an incredible initiative which encourages young people to really create something they are proud of .

E: I got in touch with Reform months ago regarding their courses and I didn’t realise the longevity of support I was going to receive. The lovely team still keep in touch with things I may want to get involved with, but I also know I will always have someone to turn to if I need a chat or assistance.

Where do you guys find inspiration for your writing or creativity generally?

J: I am really inspired by continental philosophy. It provides a lot of inspiration for the the things I end up creating, writing and painting.

E: I listen to a lot of music whilst I create, which usually leads my creative process. Mitski is a personal favourite of mine.

What will you take from the High Rise course moving forward?

J: Hopefully some great friends as we’ve all really enjoyed meeting each other and hanging out. I’ve also found that the course has really helped me with breaking my writers block, alongside my struggle with bringing ideas to fruition, so I hope to use the tasks that aided this in my everyday practice.

E: I also hope to take some incredible friends from the course, but also potential collaborators to utilise in the future. I have also learnt how to prioritise workload well and manage timings better so I hope to take this skill with me moving forward.

To find out more about our future free creative courses, get in touch with our lovely Engagement team on

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