Bring on 2017

Happy new year! We hope this finds you well rested and ready for 2017. Over the break the Unload team has taken the time to reflect on the past four years and ponder the future.
As an enterprise committed to encouraging and valuing creativity within our children and the broader community,  we feel it is time to take a short break from our workshop programme to work on some new projects and explore new ways to fulfil our mission.
We love what we do and are excited about what the future may bring – so please stay tuned!
Thank you for your patience and support. We look forward to seeing you soon.
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We were in the paper


The Unload Team (left to right) Suzie, Aleeta, Alex and Luke in one of our favourite planning spots “The Press”. Thanks to barista Michael for the photo!

Excitement at Unload central as we made the Newcastle Herald! Click here for an insight into what we love doing. Special thanks to Aleeta and journo Penny (although Suzie managed to get quoted!)


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Poet Janette Hoppe comes to visit

IMG_0054Unload was privileged to welcome Janette Hoppe to a special poetry masterclass at The Junction Public School this week. Pop over to the brag page for more news on this inspiring session.

Janette is a poet and educator who specialises in spoken word and is widely published in Tanka and Haiku. Her poetry is a reflection of her Australian and New Zealand heritage.  In 2014 Janette created Papatuanuku Press.  Papatuanuku Press organises poetry events and facilitates projects that promote social justice.

Janette Hoppe is a busy mother of five and an advocate for children’s rights to equal opportunities to Education.

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Special guest Stephanie Holm: Artist, Illustrator and Writer

13391198_496156090572925_510451933_aWe are so excited to be welcoming Stephanie Holm as our guest presenter this term. Stephanie is an illustrator, artist and writer who likes to ‘take reality and tinker with it’. She has recently been awarded a Children’s Literature Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria for 2016-2017 and was also Great Lakes’ Artist of the Year for 2016.

Stephanie is the author and illustrator of Wildscapes; an Australian art therapy colouring book. Her short story ‘Wake’ was a finalist in the Newcastle Short Story Award and included in the 2016 anthology and another story ‘The Witness’ won the 2015 Newcastle Herald Short Story Competition, and ‘The Fires Following’ was a finalist in the 2014 competition.

Stephanie studied Natural History Illustration at the University of Newcastle, Australia, graduating with Honours Class One and a Faculty Medal (2014). As a natural history illustrator she has completed commissions for clients including Mosman Council; has had her works feature in several publications and exhibited in numerous galleries and venues including the South Australian Museum, Maitland Regional Gallery and Manning Regional Gallery.

She is currently writing one picture book, one junior fiction novel, and her PhD exegesis. She plans to illustrate all of these.

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Big kids at the Sydney Story Factory

IMG_3895Alex, Luke and Suzie are feeling mega inspired following a ‘teaching creativity’ workshop at the Sydney Story Factory’s Martian Embassy during the July school holidays. The workshop covered some theories of creativity and honed in on practical ways to generate creative thinking and outcomes. It was a really great opportunity to reflect on our own creativity and our role as mentors. It was also just great fun to be big kids ourselves and get hands on with some fun and insightful workshop activities.

It confirmed our belief that creativity is very much a process, albeit an extremely fun, higgledy-piggledy one, and is therefore accessible to everyone. While there were many valuable learnings we also left feeling good about our approach at Unload. Plus we now have lots of fresh ideas to share with the kids this term.  See you all soon.

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Giving is the BEST

UnknownThe end of the financial year is one of our favourite times. We get to give away any funds we haven’t used to pay our teachers and special guests or to buy resources for our workshops.

This year we are again supporting the wonderful work of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. We also hope to get our Unloaders involved in the Big Book Swap on the 7 September.

We are also really proud to be supporting The National Young Writers Festival which happens right here in Newcastle. We love that it is about encouraging young people to be innovative and creative. We are sure many of our talented Unloaders will end up participating in future! Our funds will go towards deepening local involvement in this National Festival through pop up performances outside event venues.

A HUGE THANK YOU to all the families whose children have attended our classes. You made these donations possible!


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Special guest Jerry Ray

profileWe are bubbling with anticipation ahead of welcoming Jerry Ray to Unload next week. Jerry will be inspiring the kids with his journey as a writer, actor, illustrator, director and musician.

Jerry Ray has been working as an actor from a young age, but started writing for the stage in 2014 when he adapted and directed his first play “The Little Prince” to high acclaim. His second stage adaptation of the Italian classic “The Baron in the Trees” was produced in early 2015 in partnership with Hunter Drama and with a large youth cast.

Since restaging a return season of “The Little Prince” in April, Jerry is writing and illustrating his first book of fiction “The Lonely Beasts” to be published later this year. He is also constructing his third play “The Queen of Dark Blue Velvet” to be presented in 2017.

Stay tuned for a big week.


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Thanks for sharing

IMG_3608At Unload we always make time for the kids to share their work. We value sharing for lots of reasons. First and foremost, it’s a great way for the kids to express pride in their creation and set it free into the world! We encourage but never insist so we really love it when kids decide they want to share something for the first time.

Reading aloud provides us as mentors with an opportunity to highlight interesting aspects of each piece of writing for the benefit of the broader group.  This is important as we deliberately don’t ‘mark’ the kids books as we want them to feel relaxed and free to experiment in our workshops. More importantly, reading aloud often helps the kids identify how they might change or improve their work.  It also provides an opportunity for the born performers in our midst!

An added benefit of sharing is that it teaches the broader group patience and listening skills so we encourage questions and comments … if there’s time!


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In the Zone

13124950_556697694517722_7023198487536033107_nAt Unload we are always trying to teleport the kids into that special ‘playful-but-focussed’ zone where they are having fun while being fully engaged with creating something. We find this playfulness allows the kids to be uninhibited and take risks in their writing.

We are off to a great start this term starting with a workshop inspired by playing with icky, tickledy things like galactic ooze, kinetic sand, gack (stretchy, slimy) and feathery quills. We have also had fun with character development and conflict resolution by pairing up some Unlikely Friends and this week the ‘windows are spying’ on some awesome collaborations using personification.

We will post some examples over yonder on the brag page

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UNimaginary friends

IMG_2752Our Unloaders were recently inspired by the book BEEKLE to write about, or create, their own UNimaginary friends. The kids had to get to know their friend through answering a series of questions before writing a short story about their first meeting. Some great character development outcomes particularly as some of the kids had to rush off to meet their friends in the playground after the lesson!

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Posted in Blog, Brag