Stockton Library writing walks

In 2021 we received Arts Council England funding to run a series of six public writing walks from the six branch libraries of Stockton Borough – Norton, Thornaby, Ingleby Barwick, Billingham, Yarm and Stockton itself. These walks were led by trained walk guide Chrissie Petrie, a founder member of the TWP.

A small white woman with cropped hair under a beige peaked cap, wearing a uniform-like outfit of black trousers and a red waistcoat patched with words like 'challenge' and 'great'. She is standing next to a tress in a churchyard, you can see well-maintained grass and headstones behind her. She is using a stethoscope to listen to the tree, and is laughing.
Chrissie Petrie listening for a tree’s heartbeat in Norton

Participants were invited to take a simple walk with stopping places where they could write in response to prompts Chrissie created. They were also asked to take photos, which they sent to us with their poems to be made into graphics for social media.

A photo of the river Tees seen from a footbridge over a dual carriageway - both road and river are visible. The day is grey and misty. The poem reads: The horizon encircles above. twin serpents bend their way into the distance. Brother river lies engorged, waiting, leaden with foreboding, swelling the depths, Merging away to a clouded skyline. Brother Road sweeps around, a slate sheen swishing with relentless motion, threading home and away. Poem by Liz Cole
Graphic created from photo and poem by Liz Cole

Along the way, Chrissie also trained up four ‘shadow’ walk leaders from the TWP. Thanks to another small pot of money from ARC Stockton’s ‘Pizza & Pitches’ community-led funding panel, these shadows then went on to lead their own writing walk from ARC. For three of the fours shadows, this was their first time receiving a professional fee as a writing workshop leader.

A young woman in a black dress with white small pattern, black socks and white trainers. She is white, with short bobbed blonde-brown hair, glasses, and a black facemask. She is standing in front of ARC's box office, which is painted bright yellow. She holds a set of notes in one hand and with her other is gesturing, explaining the walking route to the group.
India Hunter at ARC explains the walking route

Poems by participants at the ARC writing walks were then hand-written on empty shop windows in Wellington Square by illustrator Lizzie Lovejoy in celebration of National Poetry Day.

A young white woman with pulled back hair and dramatic eye make-up, wearing a long grey jumper-dress with black vertical stripe pattern at cuffs and hem. She is inside a show window, holding a piece of paper flat against the window while she reaches up to write on the glass in bright green pen
Lizzie Lovejoy writing poems on windows at Wellington Square