11 February 2008

Welcome to westword


This blog is attached to a new project supported by the NSW Department of Education and Training and Arts NSW. The purpose of the project is to develop programs to engage the children and youth of the greater western Sydney region with literature, both as audience and as creators.

Your (primary) blogger is me, Judith Ridge. I was appointed to direct this new project late last year—my title is Western Sydney Young People’s Literature Officer. I work three days a week (Mon-Wed) out of the arts and cultural development unit at Blacktown City Council. I will be working with community and arts organisations, schools and libraries and anyone else with bright ideas, energy and a commitment to bringing innovative children’s/young adult literature-based programs to the region. You might like to read my report from my 2001 Churchill Fellowship, which gave me the opportunity to study community-based literature programs for young people, and which has provided an enormous amount of inspiration for this position.

My brief is wide—from early childhood to school leavers and, perhaps, beyond. I also plan to develop professional development opportunities for teachers and librarians, information sessions and resources for parents and carers, and support for adults wanting to write for children and young adults.

My definition of literature, for the purposes of the position, is broad—I’ll be working with traditional and contemporary forms of the book (including graphic novels and manga), and also with technology, Web 2.0, zines, writing for performance and so on.

I’ve set this blog up for a few reasons. First of all, there are a lot of people interested in how the project develops, and this will be a way of documenting and communicating progress. I will also be listing opportunities and events for young writers and readers, and other arts- and literature-related news. I’m also going to leave it open for my colleagues in arts and community projects in western Sydney to become fellow wordwest bloggers and add their own entries.

I hope that westword will become a communication and resource hub for the project, and that lots of people will get involved. In time, the plan is for a website with many opportunities for interaction, especially by children and young adults. westword is not exactly an interim measure, as I hope it will take on a life of its own, but there will be plenty more to come.

So, join me! (And bear with me as I explore the Word Press blogware.)

Finally, thanks to Jennie K for suggesting the name of the blog.



  1. It’s great to have a way of keeping up with the project – the blog looks great!

    Comment by Mylee — 12 February 2008 @ 7:44 am | Reply

  2. Just found the link to the new blog! Looks great so far. Your memo re your new position was tabled at a recent T-L regional committee meeting, so many educators are realising that you’re around. hope to see you at one of our meetings soon.

    Regards, Ian

    Comment by Ian McLean — 15 February 2008 @ 10:22 pm | Reply

  3. Thanks, Ian! I’ve added the Booked Inn blog to my sidebar blogroll and will look forward to keeping up with news from the world of teacher-librarians!

    Comment by westword — 15 February 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  4. Hello. I wasn’t able to find an email to contact you so I thought I would just leave a comment here.

    Food Not Bombs is holding a MASSIVE fund raising show / zine fair / eating party at Jura Books on Sunday 27 July. It’ll start about 1pm, with the outside stuff packing up at sundown.

    If you could pass it on, we’d like zine makers to drop us a line if they want to bring their stuff along and have a little table. Tables are free, but a small donation would be nice if you sell lots of stuff.

    Contact us here: sydfoodnotbombs (at) gmail (dot) com


    Comment by Luke — 29 June 2008 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

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