Freehouse of the Imagination

Tutor Development Short Course

Friday January 17th - Sunday January 19th 2020

Lumb Bank


My heart is falling asleep

And it wants to wake up.

– Mary Oliver

We know that writing workshops fuel creativity in the participants, but what about the tutor? How can articulating your process simultaneously revitalise it? Stretch it? Challenge it? How can we unlearn our practice in order to encounter it afresh?  On this residential short course, for Arvon tutors and other experienced creative writing tutors, we’ll explore how both planning and delivering a workshop can be as just as adventurous and individual as the writing itself.

These three days are an opportunity to focus on your own creativity as well as developing your teaching practice. The course is suitable for writers of all genres and is heavily subsidised as part of our commitment to providing professional development opportunities to writers.

Bring your experience of leading workshops and courses with writers across a range of ages and abilities, and a willingness to learn something new. You’ll leave inspired, energised and equipped with a range of new tools, techniques and insights to refresh your work as a tutor.

Location: Lumb Bank, The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

Dates: Friday 17th – Sunday 19th January 2020

Cost: £300

Tutors: Caroline Bird, Jacob Ross


This course is aimed at Arvon tutors, so you can apply if you have acted as a tutor for Arvon in the past 6 years (2014 onwards). If you have not tutored for Arvon in that period but have at least 5 years of experience teaching creative writing in a professional capacity elsewhere, your application will also be considered – see application guidelines below and please contact us if you have any questions about eligibility. In this case, as with our tutor recruitment process, your writing experience and publication/performance record will be taken into account.

How to apply

To apply for this course you are invited to provide a brief statement about what you hope to achieve from the course and areas of tutoring you might like to focus on. Your statement should answer the following questions:

  1. What do you hope to get from the course in terms of benefit to your own writing and developing your skills as a creative writing workshop leader or tutor? (Max 500 words)
  2. Are there any specific aspects of tutoring a creative writing course that you would like to cover during the residential (for example leading workshops, sharing texts to generate material, leading tutorials, editing writing, working with young people and vulnerable adults or any other aspect of tutoring or leading creative writing communities)? (Max 250 words)

Please send your statement by email to Joe Bibby on by 5pm on Monday 9th December 2019. If you have not tutored for Arvon between 2014-2019, please also include a CV indicating both your writing career and publication/performance record, and your experience teaching creative writing. We use this selection process to ensure this is the right opportunity for applicants to take part in, and if not we may be able to suggest a suitable alternative.


“From the outset it was the founders of Arvon’s belief that an Arvon Centre was a ‘Freehouse of the Imagination’, and as such.. was owned by anyone and everyone who opened themselves to being part of its life.” John Moat, Co-founder of Arvon



Some feedback from Arvon tutors who participated in previous Tutor Development courses:

“This course has given me far more confidence and expanded my writing tutor toolbox significantly. Formal and informal skill-sharing have been fantastic. I will take so much good practice back home with me.”

“It was a wonderfully supportive, nurturing, creative and enjoyable experience. I go away more centred as a writer and more confident and inventive as a teacher.”

“I came to the week feeling stuck, with a serious dip/low in confidence that had been with me for a few months. I’m leaving unstuck, with some new work, new ideas and a renewed confidence and inspiration.”

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Lumb Bank house

Lumb Bank

The Ted Hughes Arvon Centre, Lumb Bank is an 18th-century millowners house in West Yorkshire, which once belonged to Ted Hughes. It’s set in 20 acres of steep woodland with breathtaking views to the valley below.


Writing course tutor delivering a workshop at Lumb Bank


Arrive at lunchtime, afternoon workshop, after dinner the tutors read from their own work.

Course participants working collaboratively during a radio course at Lumb Bank


Morning workshop, one to one tutorials and time to write in the afternoon, after dinner evening workshop or group session.

Course participants eating at The Hurst


One to one tutorials and time to write in the morning, lunch and celebratory readings. Departures by 3.30pm.



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