Creative writing workshops

George Pirie’s hands

First, the blind absorption in a gripping task – those months and years of searing hours accrued in early assays with the X-ray tube and plate, inventing the paranormal, or a kind of second sight: dense flesh transformed to unobscuring cloud, a wisp-shroud to the clean lines of the bones; explicit fractures conjured from enigmatic pains. Then, in the late accoutrements – the glass-eyed mask, the sticking-plaster gloves – a ghost of tardy scry, a prescience, perhaps, of this: his own sight halved then quartered to one failing eye; the doubled cleave at wrist and wrist; these phantoms rote still prophesies in fruitless reach for mustard oil when he awakes – their perfect finger-bones, their clear, unbroken ache.

A series of creative writing workshops are available at each of the venues. The workshop includes a curator lead tour of the exhibition followed by a creative writing workshop based around the objects and themes of the Human Race exhibition. The workshops will be facilitated by the poet Kona Macphee.


P5- P7 Workshop

In this interactive workshop, we’ll be discovering how to see the world with the “secret vision” of Martian eyes.  Using this newfound secret vision, we’ll work as a group to build up our own unique collection of Thing/Action pairs and use them to write some tiny “Martian snapshot” poems.  Then we’ll set off in small groups to explore the Human Race exhibition and create some more Thing/Action pairs inspired by the exhibits.  We’ll come together again to share our pairs, then pool them to help each group create its own poem-sequence of Martian snapshots.


S6 Higher / Adv. Higher / A-Level English Workshop

In this playful and intensive workshop, we’ll begin with a favourite “loosening-up” exercise to get us over our blank page anxieties and in the mood for writing. We’ll talk about how creative inspiration often arises when two apparently different things suddenly come together, and we’ll use the objects we’ve brought along to help us in a “two things” writing game. We’ll also talk about how constraints and “given material” can be surprisingly liberating – and we’ll prove it to ourselves with a writing challenge involving the exhibits from the Human Race exhibition. Everyone should bring an object (preferably a small one!) that reminds them strongly of something else (e.g. a person, a place, an event). The object and its personal connection need to be something you’re comfortable sharing with the group.

Next workshop

P5- P7
City Art Centre, Edinburgh
30 – 40 pupils per session
Monday 3 September

10am – 12.30am


Please email Kitty Chilcott or call her on 0131 527 1607 about these workshops or for information about the Human Race schools programme.

More information about Kona Macphee and her work can be found at

Creative writing workshops
Creative writing workshops

Creative writing workshops
Creative writing workshops

Creative writing workshops