Open Book is a charity which runs accessible shared reading and creative writing sessions across Scotland for a diverse range of community and public participants, and we’re looking to start some new groups to broaden our reach.
What we’re looking for
We would like to find new places to run groups, and new communities to serve with Open Book sessions. We have two kinds of sessions:
- Shared Reading – short pieces of fiction and poetry are read aloud then discussed during the session. Sessions are led by an Open Book facilitator.
There is no homework or prep for participants.
- Creative Writing – guided by the Lead Reader, the group will read short poems/stories together and use them as a springboard to create new pieces of their own (writing individually and sometimes as a group).
We’re looking for five new Lead Readers to pilot new Open Book groups based in Scotland with populations or in geographical locations we don’t currently serve. Some of these will be Shared Reading groups and others will involve Creative Writing. Each of the five pilot groups will run for five sessions in spring/early summer 2023. Where they are, and who they’re for…well, that’s up to you.
Open Book is looking to offer new communities the chance to enjoy the relaxed, inclusive space of a shared reading session. ‘Communities’ could mean your local area, or it could mean people with a shared identity, experience or interest. We want you to be connected to the community who will attend your group, and to have a good understanding of how shared reading and/or creative writing could work for them and you.
As an organisation Open Book is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. Specifically, we are looking for proposals to work with a population or in a location that we don’t currently support, and will give priority to groups which focus on under-served communities. You can find a list of groups that we’re currently running here.
As part of your application, we’re asking you to link up with a host organisation – the place where you’ll hold your sessions. This could be a library, a community centre, a theatre, a bookshop…you’ll know where your community will feel confident going.
We’re also open to one or two of these groups operating via Zoom, if that’s the right fit, although for this pilot our focus is likely to be on in-person sessions.
Being a Lead Reader
Although many of our Shared Reading groups are led by volunteers, funding is available to support these pilot sessions as we expect them to involve additional work in getting the groups off the ground, engaging with the communities and specific preparation work.
- Lead Reader (Shared Reading only): £100 per session
- Lead Reader (Shared Reading with Creative Writing): £175 per session
Open Book will support Lead Readers with the reading materials and supplies required to run sessions. You’ll receive training in running sessions to the Open Book model (which is also paid), and will have access to administrative support from the team. We’ll support you with posters and other things you need to let people know about your pilot group, and help advertise your session through our social media channels. Part of your role will be working with your host organisation to publicise the group within your community.
Shared Reading sessions are usually an hour, while Creative Writing groups meet for between 90 minutes and two hours. You can meet weekly or fortnightly for these pilot sessions – we can help with timetabling. At the end of the pilot, Open Book will meet with you to evaluate how it’s gone and discuss possible next steps.
Please note: to keep all participants safe, successful applicants will be required to complete an application to join the PVG scheme. The costs of this will be met by Open Book who will handle the application process. – https://www.mygov.scot/pvg-scheme
How to Apply
- Find a host organisation – this will be the venue where you hold your session, or in the case of an online group, an organisation that will pair with you to reach the right participants. Once you have a confirmed contact who’s happy for you to submit your application, get in touch with us. If you know the community would prefer to access the sessions via Zoom, you can put that in the application form.
- Get a CV ready which highlights your relevant experience. If you’re looking to be a Lead Reader for a Creative Writing group, please let us know about your professional writing experience. We’re looking for Creative Writing Lead Readers with an equivalent level of publication experience as Scottish Book
Trust Live Literature database authors.
- Complete this application form by Monday 27th February at 12 noon. Please note in the application how your proposal fills a gap in our current provisions – either in geography or in participant populations. The form will also include the chance to upload your CV. NB: if you’re a venue/organisation looking to host a group but don’t have a Lead Reader in mind, email us to discuss (contact details below).
What happens next?
After the closing date, the Open Book team will look at all the applications and contact the host organisations of the shortlisted candidates. We may also arrange a chat with you via Zoom to discuss the pilot and your ideas.
Successful candidates will be contacted to organise training, and to help work out the next steps for setting up your sessions. Ideally, we would like the first sessions to take place by the end of March, so we’ll be here to help make sure everything is underway quickly.
Closing Date: Monday 27th February at 12 noon
First sessions to take place by the end of March 2023.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org