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Category Archives: Schools and Groups

An experience with Arvon means discovery

By Shakira Irfan, student at Wembley High Technology College

By the end of my experience, I realised that five days in a remote location without internet connection was far from enough. When I think back to Totleigh Barton now, I know that there’s no other place on earth that could ever capture what it really means to feel at one with yourself and the world around you.

Afternoon walks. Cows running down hills. Endless fields upon fields. Nature simply has you in its hold and for the first time in a long time, I was able to think. I was able to see the world for what it was and appreciate more. I took inspiration from a drop of dew on the grass and before I knew it, the drop was called Toby and he had jelly-like arms and legs.

My experience helped open my eyes up to the very concrete details around me that make life so beautiful.

For any young person, Arvon is an extended hand asking you to step out of yourself, leave behind your troubles and stresses and live a little.

By the end of the week, I went from being a stranger among strangers to being a part of a family and I know now that I wouldn’t have wanted to go my whole life without meeting the people that I did.

With the expertise of two talented writers, I learnt so much about being true to my writing and finding the best ways to express myself. I gained skills and techniques to experiment with and allow my ability to write to flourish, to wander a bit more.

But most importantly, I got the chance to discover how to write using my heart and mind and learn that there is nothing or nobody that I should let silence my voice. Young people have voices. You have a voice. I will forever be grateful to First Story and Arvon for giving me the opportunity to find that voice and for whoever is next, you’re in for an experience of a lifetime.


Shakira attended the First Story-Arvon residential course in July 2016.

If you are interested in bringing a school or group to Arvon contact Joe at joe.bibby@arvon.org or read more about what happens on an Arvon week.

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A Beautiful Collaboration of Spirits and Words

Young writers Stacey and Tito talk about their Arvon Lumb Bank experience in partnership with Reform Radio. Having not known much…

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SLAMbassadors at Arvon

SLAMbassadors UK is a national competition that finds and celebrates the best spoken word produced by young people in the…

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Russell Thompson’s Arvon Experience

In 1987 I attempted to enrol on an Arvon course, but it was full up. I decided to…

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The Fire in the Mind – Jacob Sam-La Rose on being a poet in the classrooom

We made a short film with the inspiring poet and Arvon tutor Jacob Sam-La Rose. Jacob will be talking…

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“Teachers as Writers” research project to evaluate the impact of teachers’ development as writers on the writing of their students

Arvon is delighted to announce it has been awarded £159,188 from Arts Council England’s new Research Grant for a two…

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Pass it on

Virginia Macgregor, novelist and English Teacher at Wellington College, blogs about a school week at The Hurst, Monday 30th…

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Lochend School at Lumb Bank

Gordon Fisher blogs about his experience of bringing a school group to Arvon. On Monday, 13th of January…

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Write to Unite – competition for young writers

Arvon has teamed up with Kick it Out – football’s equality and inclusion campaign, currently marking its 20…

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Coming home to Arvon – Starting to Write in E17

  By Becky Swain, Head of Learning and Participation, Arvon This month I was delighted to host a…

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Mother Tongues: Leeds Co-operative Academy at Lumb Bank

Mother Tongues is an Arvon project funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation, which encourages young people to write in…

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In 2011 I was still driving a cab – Ishy Din’s Arvon Story

In 2011 I was still driving a cab, although my first full length play, Snookered was yet to…

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