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Poetry and Art Workshop – Tom Phillips

Key Stage 2 Creative Writing Workshop 

Tom Phillips – Rivers of white

This illustration workshop (making writing exciting) uses the subversion of the white spaces on the between lines and words to spark an interest in the words on the page to create a poem. Using well written texts, classic Penguin books are excellent, the students find their own statement or poem by joining the white spaces.

Details about this workshop

Rivers of White Poetry Workshop with key stage 2 pupils
Various Primary Schools in/around Estover, Plymouth
Tor Bridge High School, Miller Way, Plymouth PL6 8UN
50.411512, -4.099874 View on map
45 minute rolling sessions all day
20+ students

Creating short poems by joining the white spaces on a page using colour and collage.  Creative Writing project for Poetry and Art.

 For this exercise there was no particular guidance on what the students should find except that it it could be something which they “felt” they had found in the words. Using the white spaces to find connected words the range of subjects and emotions explored was broad.

Some interpreted the story they were reading,others found words that fitted what they were looking for; all of the participants found something new and exciting in the connecting white spaces on the page.

Interestingly, in some forms of visual stress, and often associated with reading difficulties, is the phenomena of the “white river” where the words become noticeably segregated by the white space around them. This can make it almost impossible to concentrate on the words but, conversely, as here, when used as a positive, this visuality can lead to some wonderful and entirely interesting creative writing studies. This was not Tom Phillips’ drive to create his wonderful work but adapted in this format it can bring to light the difficulties some people have when reading and , where appropriate, open discussion on the subject.

(n.b. Printing terms for these are: Leading and negative spaces.  For some people with visual stress these white areas can become overwhelming – see this article on Visual dyslexia, visual dyspraxia and other vision linked stress guide for teachers  written by Ian Jordan here)

The images here are taken from a key stage 2 workshop but this would also be an interesting and explorative workshop for key stage 3 students.

Drawing Together offers support for reluctant learners who can find creative approaches, and particularly visual cues, helpful when approaching creative writing projects.

Book Enquiry


Primary & secondary school workshops

I use a range of approaches designed to excite and energise your student’s creative writing projects and curriculum texts through visual connections. More details

Why Drawing Together works?

1 in 4 children struggle to read and write, educational research shows that learners motivated by interes and enjoyment want to achieve more; leading to positive outcomes. More details

What do the courses contain?

The courses contain Illustration and/or Printmaking, evey workshop is taylored to the classes needs. More details

When, where and how much?

I travel throughout West Devon, East Cornwall from Coast to Coast. I charge £140.00 for a half day and £230.00 for a full day. More details

How it works?

There are 6 easy steps from booking to course delivery, the first step is to get in touch. More details