a-n has published an open call for its Writer Development Programme 2017/18 and invites artists and arts organisers who hold a current a-n membership to apply.

Taking place between August 2017 and March 2018, the programme consists of writing tasks and at least three daytime workshop sessions. The cost of travel will be covered and an additional £300 bursary is available for each participant to support attendance at these sessions.

Led by a-n News editor Chris Sharratt, who has over 20 years experience of newspaper, magazine and online arts journalism, the 10-month programme will encourage each writer to develop their skills in arts journalism and critical writing. Sessions will cover interviewing, feature writing, reviewing, writing for an audience and working with an editor. It will culminate with a series of paid commissions for the a-n website.

This is the second time that a-n will run the Writer Development Programme, following its success in 2015/16. The inaugural cohort attended workshops in London, Manchester and Birmingham, receiving guidance and support from Chris Sharratt and hearing from invited experts including critic and art writer Fisun Güner and Amy Sherlock of Frieze.

As well as a number of commissioned pieces for a-n News, an a-n Blog captured the features and reviews produced by Lydia Ashman, Sunny Cheung, Anneka French, Manjinder Sidhu and James Steventon over the 10-month period.

“The Writer Development Programme gave me the chance to fine tune my writing skills by way of advice, guidance and lots of practice through the tasks and workshops,” says French.

“This improved my confidence and particularly widened the range of writing forms within my skillset. I enjoyed the sessions led by other writers very much and this was made more valuable by being within a small group of other writers from whom I was also able to learn.”

Since the programme she has continued to write for a-n News, most recently contributing A Q&A with… Alex Hartley and Tom James, artists with a blueprint for the future.

“The programme gave me the essential space and time to develop my practice. Being accepted was a crucial endorsement of my skills as a writer, and has given me the confidence to pursue journalism more seriously,” says Ashman, whose most recent article for a-n News Revisiting Walthamstow: “This is what you can do with art education – let’s value it” was published this June.

“The input from industry professionals provided invaluable insights into the reality of freelance writing. Accessing ongoing guidance from Chris has helped me continue to improve and be more ambitious.”

The deadline for application for the a-n Writer Development Programme 2017/18 is 12 noon, Thursday 27 July 2017. Full details of how to apply 

1. a-n Writer Development Programme workshop led by Amy Sherlock, Reviews Editor at Frieze magazine, taking place in the events space at Home, Manchester.
2. Anneka French and James Steventon reviewing Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s exhibition ‘I must first apologise…’ at Home, Manchester as part of a-n Writer Development Programme workshop.