Aimee Wilkinson is Writer Development Manager of Writing East Midlands C.I.C, a literature development agency which works to enhance the region’s reputation for the quality and diversity of its writers, and as a place which values writing as an art and for its social impact. Before joining WEM up in 2009, Aimee worked in copywriting and marketing and was instrumental in setting up the developmental writing consortium Hello Hubmarine in Derby, which ran spoken word events and toured work throughout the UK. Aimee is a published writer, experienced performer and workshop leader and holds a First Class Degree in Creative Writing.
Summary of work
As the Writer Development Manager at Writing East Midlands, I am responsible for managing the creative & career development programme, Routes to Writing, which includes the very popular annual Writers’ Conference aimed at the career development of emerging and established writers. The programme also includes an extensive mentoring and peer mentoring scheme, critical read support for low-income writers and strategic developmental events throughout the year and region. I established and manage the highly regarded Write Here: Writer’ in Residence scheme, which places writers in culturally and socially significant venues throughout the East Midlands with the aim of creating new work and engaging new audiences. Since 2009 we’ve worked with primary and secondary schools, as well as with a range of organisations and institutions including Nottingham Contemporary, HMP Sudbury and New Walk Museum Leicester and refugees and new arrivals in Derby, Leicester and Nottingham. I am also the manager of Writing School East Midlands, which runs creative writing courses across Nottingham, Leicester and Derby.
Summary of work to develop
At the heart of what we do is a belief that writing and reading enriches the global community. The projects WEM delivers and the partnerships we make support a growing internationalism in a region populated by a rich mix of cultures. We are keen to link the East Midlands, and its many diaspora communities to international contexts and issues through literature. By doing this our aim is to continually explore the extent to which literature can positively affect lives and the way we live. Personally, I am interested in how this can be quantified and in how dialogues sharing learning in this area can be facilitated for mutual benefit and across boundaries; the physical, socio-political, cultural, or digital, wherever they exist. I believe that this will lead to greater investment in literature as an agent of change and more opportunities for writers.
At present I am interested in how literature can contribute to issues around migration - our Write Here Sanctuary residencies with Asylum Seekers and Refugees work to uplift subjective feelings of well-being, cohesion with settled communities and confidence in expression in a second language. The project engages refugees from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in bespoke writer-led spoken word, storytelling and creative writing activities to enable them to tell their stories, articulate their identities and provide a platform for their creative self-expression.
I would also like to work with other Development Organisations to explore further residency ideas, connections and international collaborations and cultural exchanges, and also develop new ways of producing literature and engaging with existing and new technologies.