Sweatshop: Encouraging the West to write


There's a new movement in Western Sydney that is quickly gaining momentum and empowering scores of potential local writers.

Sweatshop is a literacy movement based at the Writing and Society Research Centre on the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney. Founded by Michael Mohammed Ahmad as part of his Doctorate of Creative Arts at UWS, Sweatshop is dedicated to achieving equality for Western Sydney communities through literacy and critical thinking.

"What we are interested in is empowering people through reading and writing so that we may be able to evoke some change in their life," Mr Ahmad says. "We want them to be critical of the things that they see on TV and the things that they read in books and newspapers."

Facilitated by local literacy artists, PhD candidates and UWS graduates, Sweatshop visits local schools to run workshops and activities, and also produces publications, literary events and performances to showcase the work of local writers and artists.

Mr Ahmad has been working with Western Sydney communities through literacy for the past 10 years and over this time has worked with more than 10,000 young people to develop reading, writing and communication skills in local schools.

Sweatshop has two major projects on the horizon, the first being a partnership with literary journal Seizure which will involve 10 writers from Western Sydney in a joint publication. During Term Four a series of writing workshops and residencies in schools will be held, with the aim of exploring difference across Sydney through storytelling.


07 August 2013

Contact: Hannah Guilfoyle, Media Assistant

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