LYA @ IALIC conference, Barcelona

cygswfgxaaacaqeLYA poet Gina Tavares and LYA volunteer/University of Leeds educational researcher Emilee Moore presented on 25th November at the 2016 conference of the International Association of Language and Intercultural Communication in Barcelona, Spain. Their presentation was called ‘Telling the stories of youth: co-producing knowledge across social worlds’. They discussed what counts as knowledge production in academic research and who is entitled to tell the stories and use the words of youth. Their presentation is a first step in developing collaborative spaces, crossing boundaries of poetry, research and education, that allow youth voices to be heard in novel ways. Gina performed two of her poems as part of the presentation: Bleach and Two Minds. The second is a poem she wrote especially for the conference to reflect on research, as a practice engaged in by both the young poets and by academics. The presentation was extremely well received by a very interested audience, who commended Gina on the quality of her performance and her thoughtful responses in the discussion that followed.


November 22, Spanish rapper El Chojín at LYA

On November 22nd, from 6-8pm at the Mandela Centre in Chapeltown, LYA will be visited by El Chojín.

El Chojín is one of Spain’s best-known hip-hop artists, especially on account of his use of rap to raise awareness about racism and other social injustices, such as gender violence and political corruption. On his visit to Leeds, he would like to hear from young writers in the city about their lives and work, and to exchange ideas and opinions with you about these and other issues in the UK and Leeds in particular.

Don’t miss it! All welcome!

This is his website:

Image sources:,

Leeds Young Authors at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

L. Smith Imaging blogged about Voices of a New Generation 2016.

L. Smith Imaging

Recently,  I was approached by Leeds Young Authors, asking if I could take some photographs of their upcoming event at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Having never done any sort of event photography before, I immediately accepted and then, almost simultaneously in fact, regretted it. Panic ensued.

In my mind, I had everything that I needed for an event- a camera that was good in low light (my Nikon D3300), a decent zoom lens (the Sigma 18-300mm), and a flash gun (a Nissin DI600). I reassured myself with “at least you’re not doing a wedding for your first event”, because doing weddings was always enough to induce some feeling of dread in my gut.

So, once I’d talked myself out of chickening out, I was actually quite looking forwards to it, was happily taking photos of the rehearsal using my flash and bouncing light off of the ceiling- everything was…

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Thank you Chapeltown!



On May 3rd, an open mic fundraising event was hosted by Anne-Marie Atkinson and Akeim Buck to help raise funds for LYA’s Brave New Voices team to go to Washington DC. The event was held at Union 105 East St Arts, as part of Anne-Marie’s and Akeim’s amazing project, ‘What didn’t you do to bury me? But you forgot that I was a seed’.

Almost £200 was raised! The room was packed from start to finish, and performances of people of all ages were fabulous!

An enormous THANKS to Akeim and Anne-Marie for getting behind the local youth! Thank you Chapeltown and people from across Leeds for coming out and supporting us!

Leeds gets behind our BNV team

thank_you_text_by_cleandesu-d9f9csxWe would like to update you on the BNV team’s activities of late. As we have previously mentioned, LYA is currently fundraising to take a team of youth poets to represent Leeds, Yorkshire and the UK at the Brave New Voices festival in Washington DC in July.

We would like to publicly thank two organisations for their support so far. Firstly, Leeds Inspired has been amazing in featuring LYA on their own blog. See what has been written about us here.

Secondly, Waitrose has accepted our cause for their Community Matters fund. If you happen to shop at Waitrose in Meanwood in May, be sure to place your token in LYA’s box!

Meanwhile, the team continues to meet regularly to write, share and rehearse! We now have one finished duet, another almost-finished duet and plenty more poems in the making.


*Image by Cleandesu:


At tonight’s LYA workshop we kept developing the poems begun last week on the topic of ‘invisibility’. After sharing the draft poems, we spoke about how to use lines and stanzas to improve poem structure, and about metaphor and other literary devices to strengthen our writing. Drafting and re-drafting are a fundamental part of the artistic process of transforming an idea into a piece that’s ready for publication or performance.

After sharing our second drafts and exchanging feedback on the product and the process, we ended with a free-write on the theme of ‘visibility’. We wrote about confidence, being in the spotlight, being on the spot, popularity, … To be continued next week…