Community Writing Course
- Rachel Zolf
- School of Arts & Sciences, The Netter Center
- Arts Course Development Grant
Community Writing, offered for the first time in spring 2019 in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania, is an innovative, interdisciplinary and Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) Creative Writing course that combines theory with practice: Penn students first study creative writing pedagogy, and then visit a range of Philadelphia communities (Sayre High School, Lea Middle School, and the FreeWrite Prison Writing Program) to write creatively together and form new kinds of community through writing. Penn students study nonhierarchical creative writing teaching techniques, such as spoken word and hip-hop pedagogy, and learn how to develop community-appropriate creative writing prompts that inspire people to write. They also study a number of classic texts in radical pedagogy (by authors such as bell hooks and Paolo Freire) to help them generate ideas about how to harness the power of education – and creative writing in particular – for personal and social change.