Play on Words


Age group: Year 7 - 9

Available: Monday – Friday

Length: 120 minutes. Please allow more time after your workshop to explore the galleries and public spaces

Group size: minimum 10

Subjects and Key Skills

English, Creative Writing, Creative Thinking, Literacy

Workshop outline

Explore examples of writing on display in the British Library, try out experimental writing techniques and discuss how using these methods affect our writing.

The workshop aims to:

  • introduce participants to new techniques and tools in writing
  • increase confidence by using language playfully
  • explore the relationships between text and the textual object, text and performance and between image and text
  • gain an awareness of the tradition of creative writing

Using a quick ice-breaker and some brief drawing activities, we will begin to discuss how new approaches to function, system, rule and experiment can affect creative outcomes.

Drawing inspiration from the items on display and using prompts and writing exercises, participants will complete several pieces of writing that use experimental techniques. As a group, participants will use performance to examine and discuss what they have written.

Each individual will choose a piece of their writing and use a variety of materials including stencils, ink-stamps and letraset to illustrate it. All the work will be collected, copied and bound together in a booklet for participants to take away.

Pre-visit activities

  • Introduce the class to nonsense poetry and ask students to read some examples aloud in class.
  • Cut out different words from newspapers or magazines and splice them together to create poems. Repeat the exercise using magnetic poetry.
  • Reinforce the meaning of nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs.

Post-visit activities

  • Ask students to choose an object and use it to inspire a piece of creative writing, using some of the new techniques learnt during the workshop.
  • Make a cover for the book created during the workshop.
  • Change the order of the activity sheets to create new storylines.
  • Create a classroom/digital display of the work created.

Ready to book?

Watch a short video about your visit to the British Library   How to book