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News story

Birmingham residents invited to My Commonwealth Story Festival

17 Jun 2022

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My Commonwealth Story was a four-day celebration created by Birmingham Stories, the National Literacy Trust’s campaign in partnership with the University of Birmingham. The campaign aims to raise literacy levels and change the life stories of young people and adults across the city.

The celebration was also part of the Connecting Stories campaign – in partnership with Arts Council England.

Taking place at the University of Birmingham Arts Building from 5-8 July, My Commonwealth Story festival used the excitement and passion surrounding the Commonwealth Games to motivate and inspire people of all ages to engage with literacy.

Through a packed agenda of talks, workshops and panel discussions, attendees had the opportunity to engage with high-profile speakers including children’s author Manjeet Man, England’s most decorated blind footballer, Darren Harris, and performer and writer Hannah Kumari. Those in attendance were also invited to showcase their literacy skills and think about what the Commonwealth Games mean to them.

Full programme of events:

One City, Many Cultures: Tuesday 5 July 2022

  • 9.30 – 10.30 My Commonwealth Story: Project Celebration
  • 13.30 – 14.30 Young Birmingham Poets: Project Celebration
  • 17.30 – 19.00 Literacy and the Commonwealth Games: Get Connected

Birmingham, A Host City: Wednesday 6 July

  • 9.30 – 11.30 Storytelling and Research: Interdisciplinary Academic Workshop
  • 17.30 – 19.00 Volunteering as a Literacy Champion: Panel Discussion

Read On, Game On: Thursday 7 July

  • 9.30 – 10.30 Darren Harris: Birmingham Adult Education Service Author Event
  • 11.00 – 12.00 Hannah Kumari: Key Stage 3 Author Event
  • 14.00 – 15.00 Sport and Literacy: Project Celebration with Manjeet Mann
  • 17.30 – 18.30 Team Readers: Project Launch

Additional activities: Friday 8 July

  • 9.30 – 15.00 Young Readers: Programme Celebration

The festival was open to anyone based in the city and all sessions were completely free.

“The success of Birmingham Stories has continued to grow over the past year and I’m delighted to bring together so many people involved in our campaign to celebrate both the Commonwealth Games and our ongoing literacy activity. “Incorporating sports and physical activity into core subjects such as English can be a great way to motivate young people, instil a range of positive values within students and improve cognitive outcomes, including reading skills.”

Kyle Turakhia, Birmingham Stories Hub Manager

“My Commonwealth Story celebrates the success of the literacy projects delivered by Birmingham Stories in the city this year, and launches exciting new ones. “Above all – in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games – it brings together people from the many different communities that make up the host city, and of all ages from school pupils to adult learners and veterans. Their voices and their experiences are what guide the work of Birmingham Stories, and make it worthwhile.”

Dr Kate Rumbold, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Birmingham

To get involved with other activities or to find out more about Birmingham Stories, young people and families can visit or follow Birmingham Stories on Instagram.

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