Leyla Josephine has been working with the young people at Spartans Alternative School to produce a Zine which gives a snapshot of their lives through original writing and photographs.
Readers based in Edinburgh might be familiar with Spartans Academy from a football and coaching perspective, but a perhaps lesser-known part of Spartans’ community activity is the Alternative School, which provides a nurturing environment for 14-16 year olds to learn, grow and develop.
The young people who attend the Alternative School might be at risk of exclusion from mainstream education, or might find the intensity of school a challenge. As Emma Easton, Alternative School Manager, explained in last year’s Stories & Scran event, the learning environment at Spartans puts the individual learner’s needs at its heart: “We try to empower the young people and help them find their voice. We spend a lot of time listening to them and letting them know that they are properly heard and seen.”
In 2020 Edinburgh International Book Festival’s Schools Writer in Residence, Leyla Josephine, began delivering weekly sessions with young people at Spartans. Our partnership with The Alternative School is part of our Citizen project, a long-term creative programme which offers local people a platform to explore identity, connection and place. Often working with the young people in a one-to-one setting, Leyla explored different routes to creativity, writing and self-expression through rap, games, discussion and photography.
This Zine, designed by Emily Wylde, is the result of the project, combining images, captured using disposable cameras, with poetry, rap, drawings and collages. From selfies and football action-shots to reflections on lockdown and dreams for the future, the Zine gives us a snapshot of the young people’s lives, a sense of their world and their community.
View and download the Spartans Zine
The project is a celebration of creativity, which has offered the young people at Spartans a platform for their voices to be heard. We will be showcasing the Zine at this year’s August Festival and are looking forward to beginning a new project with Spartans Alternative School in the next academic year. You can find out more about Spartans and their work in the North Edinburgh community here.
Citizen is our long-term creative programme working in partnership with organisations, schools and community groups across Edinburgh and Musselburgh. The project is part of Edinburgh International Book Festival On The Road, and is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and through the PLACE Programme (funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, and the Edinburgh Festivals, and supported and administered by Creative Scotland).