A team of 5 student volunteers has partnered with the 91 Ways project to design a fun and interactive food-based creative writing project suitable for school children.

There are 91 different languages spoken in Bristol, which has provided inspiration for the title of the project; “91 Ways to Build A Global City”, or simply “91 Ways” is a new initiative founded by Kalpna Woolf. It is supported by a diverse group of individuals and organizations including the Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust whose aim is to engage people across Bristol to build a better, more united, sustainable city. The creative writing project volunteers are using the ideas and ethos of 91 Ways as a theme to teach children how to write a story using food as the starting point.

Our city is creative, vibrant and fast-growing and made up of many different communities; it’s this diversity that makes Bristol such a unique and exciting place to live. Language and food are both strong symbols of social identity, yet language can too often be a barrier between communities. Food can help us cross those divides. 91 Ways uses the different ways of eating, talking about, making and writing about food to bring people together and to help them communicate and be heard.

“Many older people in Bristol, brought up on traditional English meals, will vividly remember the first time they tried a pizza, curry or kebab – now staples of our diet – and remember how exotic it all seemed then to try foods from different countries. The food I eat now has changed significantly from when I was a small girl, when the ingredients of every meal were bought fresh every day from local shops.”
Kalpna Woolf, founder of 91 Ways

All of us, says Kalpna, make something of a “food journey” during our lives as we move from our family home and start to absorb other influences. By sharing recipes and food and having conversations with each other we can all gain something really valuable. By aggregating and sharing the knowledge and memories of the people of Bristol, 91 Ways hopes to create a modern social history through food as well as help all of us to better understand how different communities live in a more connected global city.

A small group of pupils from Fishponds Primary School were chosen to take part in the creative writing project this January. The pupils were selected across year groups largely because they were struggling with literacy. The diverse backgrounds of the children make this a really special project, allowing all the participants to explore each others’ backgrounds and use their particular interests as starting points, reinforcing the value inherent in sharing.

Each workshop examined a different element of the creative writing process, including sessions on language, senses, setting the scene and character development. The workshops encouraged the pupils to use their favourite foods as inspiration. During the final session the pupils’ parents and families were invited in to hear and read the children’s work, and were encouraged to bring along their favourite dishes to share with the other families too.

To find out more or get involved, please contact Sally.Greenwood@uwe.ac.uk