An unconventional writers workshop challenges attitudes to education and creativity and forges new relationships when Writer-In-Residence Kevin Mc Dermott meets Calvin Folan and Abbie Campbell in "Write it Down Write it all Down.”
Kevin Mc Dermott grew up in Crumlin and attended the Marist national school in the parish of Saint Bernadette’s. A curate working there told a young Marist sister, who later became a family friend, that in coming to work in the parish she would be dealing with “the dregs of humanity.” That was in the early 1960s.
Kevin Mc Dermott is the current Writer-in-Residence with the City of Dublin Education & Training Board (the former CDVEC). The position is sponsored by the CDETB and the Junior Cycle Schools Programme (JCSP), and supported by Poetry Ireland. As writer in residence, he works with students in twelve post-primary schools, in some of Dublin’s oldest, working class areas: Crumlin, Ringsend, Ballyfermot, Marino, Whitehall, Cabra, Coolock, Finglas and the North Inner City. Apart from the traditional ‘Techs’, there is one Educate Together school and a former convent secondary school under the patronage of the CDETB.
In the academic year, 2017/2018, Kevin was back in Clogher Road, among ‘the dregs of humanity’ in the local Tech, alongside working all across the city in similar schools with young students such as Abbie Campbell and Calvin Folan who joined Kevins’ writers workshops initially out of curiosity but stayed as they developed a love for writing.
The aim of the residency was to promote a culture of writing in each school and to support individual writers. ‘This is Who I Am’ and ‘Write it All Down’ were the twin themes of the residency. Young writers like Abbie and Calvin were encouraged to explore their own lives through a fictionalised self, writing in a variety of forms.
It was through these workshops that we meet Abbie and Calvin and explore their lives and how writing works for them as they navigate very different worlds. Equally Kevin, through the workshops, is taken back to his youth as a boy from Crumlin who was never expected to make anything of himself and used this as motivation to go to college, become a teacher and change young working class students’ lives. The residency concluded with a showcase of the work of the young writers, which was held in the National Library towards the end of April 2018.
BROADCAST: Write It Down. Write It All Down will be broadcast on Newstalk 106-108fm on Sunday 23rd September at 7am, with a repeat broadcast on Saturday 29th September at 9pm
CREDITS: Produced and Recorded by Brian Kenny and Kevin Mc Dermott. Edited by Brian Kenny. Made with support from the BAI Sound and Vision Scheme