For the last ten years Will Small has helped inspire and empower students and educators in a diverse range of contexts including public, private and independent schools as well as youth centres, youth justice centres and universities. He has presented for the NSW DET during Education Week and run countless youth workshops with a range of organisations including headspace, The Salvation Army, the Department of Family and Community Services and more. Will also has a background as a qualified Youth Worker and is able to speak on mental health, resilience and forming positive habits. Will specialises in helping students overcome barriers to creative writing and public speaking, empowering them to share their voice authentically in response to the issues they care about deeply.
Talks and Specialty Areas:
•How I accidentally became a poet and discovered poetry could change the world.” Will’s story and creative writing process.
•“Man;Kind” Challenging harmful gender stereotypes and supporting the next generation towards greater inclusion and justice in areas of gender and identity.
•“We Made it to Here” Disaster resilience and recovery presentation produced in collaboration with headspace.
•"Filling the Well" Professional Development sessions for educators.
Half-day visit (up to 3 hours)
Residency (3-5 days)
•Complement curriculum outcomes through high quality spoken word poetry workshops. Workshops can be tailored to focus on relevant outcomes in areas such as English, Performing Arts and Wellbeing.
• Collaborate with students to create original, high quality spoken word pieces that explore and promote a core value of the school. These could be shared across the broader school community through a spoken word video, podcast recording/s and/or an in-school poetry slam facilitated by Will!
• Present a living example of a creative career path integrating the arts with community leadership and using spoken word poetry to address significant societal issues.
“Teaching the art of poetry writing to a group of year 7s is no small feat, and yet, Will Small accomplished this with a professional and authentic manner that had the students actively engaged from start to finish. Through sharing his own works and challenging the students with a range of visual and verbal prompts, Will clearly demonstrated the reflective power that poetry evokes within not just the reader, but the writer as well. Despite not one single student putting their hand up when asked if they’d like to be a poet, by the end of the session, Will had managed to bring out the T.S Eliot in all of them. The final pieces of work were beautifully creative, unique, and vulnerable, as Will ensured they had a safe space in which to share their personal reflections. This session has truly sparked a new interest and appreciation for poetry, and not only those written by dead white men.“
Laura, English teacher, Queenwood School
"Will, thank you so much for coming in to do the workshops with primary and secondary students today! We were really amazed and proud of how the day went — all credits to you. The kids seemed so comfortable around you and it’s certainly your impact that allowed for everyone to be in their element today. Many of the students said they had never really thought about poetry that way before and/or had never shared their poetry with someone before. Students were very brave in sharing what they had written in your timed writing activities, and the energy seemed to become infectious! Everyone was just so excited to share their pieces! Even freestyle poetry on the spot became approachable with your guidance. I myself most definitely picked up some tips from your workshop about creating metaphors in a simple way—thanks for that."
Jo, English/Languages Educator, Lindfield Learning Village
"We’ve had Will in to do performance poetry workshops with Year 9 over the last couple of years. Each time I have been amazed by his ability to engage even the most recalcitrant and self-conscious students. It’s so exciting to see kids who have never loved poetry write their own meaningful pieces... and perform them in front of their peers! It’s why we keep asking Will to come back: he helps teenagers find their voices and use them powerfully. It’s an awesome thing to witness."
Hannah, Head of English, Wyong Christian Community School
"Will created a space for our Year 10s that was welcoming, safe, thought-provoking and authentic. He shares honestly, openly and with great skill and helped our students to think deeply about how their 'inner work connects to the outer world' - meaningful, refreshing and exactly what we all need more of. Thanks Will!"
Lia, Head of Christian Studies, Roseville College
Video: 'For Leo.' A poem performed by Will Small for his son Leo at 'Poetic Justice' produced by Lead by Story in collaboration with The Art House and She the Change.