My name is Gareth Morgan and I’m an education specialist and writer, born and raised in Nottingham. I work as a freelance education project manager for Nottingham City Council and am an associate artist at Nottingham Playhouse.
I’ll be travelling in the United States in October and November looking at how primary-aged children in the South-West US learn English in school and, hopefully, develop a love of reading, especially focussing on supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or from families with English as a second language. I also have a secondary focus on promoting Nottingham as a newly crowned UNESCO City of Literature and an ambitious county of literacy. I am very proud that both Nottingham City of Literature and culture magazine LeftLion will also be helping me in this!
To put some flesh onto the bare-bones of the map, I’ll be having my initial stop in New York City where I’ll visit the Roosevelt Library, in Hyde Park, Upstate New York, before heading by train to Baltimore – Washington, DC area. In DC I’ll visit the 2 FDR memorials (9th Street Archives memorial and the FDR and Eleanor presidential memorial) and also hopefully link up with national policy makers linked to elementary education policy and/or representing areas where I will be travelling.
I’ll then fly to Chicago and meet with academics and associates at Roosevelt University – and maybe pop to a blues club in the evening to make my dad jealous! I’ll then get a bus to Iowa City and meet with their City of Literature team and Playwriting and Dramaturgy faculty from the Drama Department of the university – hopefully giving a workshop to students.
I’ll then fly to San Diego, which is where my engagement with schools begins. Over the next 4 weeks, I will spend a week in each of San Diego, Tucson, Albuquerque and El Paso, working in schools. Also in these towns (or neighbouring Santa Fe in New Mexico) will again meet the Playwriting and Dramaturgy faculty from the Drama Department of the university and speak to students. Also in New Mexico, I will visit the DH Lawrence ranch, where he lived toward the end of his life, as an ambassador from Nottingham City of Literature. Finally, I’ll catch the AmTrack from El Paso to Austin for my final Drama Department and round off my trip.
On my return to Nottingham, I’ll be trying to implement what I’ve learnt and seen in the schools as a toolkit for schools and teachers, developing new events and rewards that encourage literacy engagement in children and, working with the city and county cultural education partnerships, ensure that this practice is shared with other agencies too.
It is a huge honour to have been selected as a scholar and to join its illustrious club. I am more than a bit, probably painfully over-enthusiastically, proud of Nottingham – a place that has been my home for 25 of my 29 years. It’s where I grew up, it’s where my family are from and it’s where I discovered who wanted to be when I grow up (I still don’t really consider myself a grownup – that’s probably why I work in primary schools). Hopefully, I’ll be a worthy ambassador and bring back worthwhile ideas on literacy from the US to the UK. You can follow what I’m doing on Twitter, Facebook and my blog: http://garethnottmroosevelt.blogspot.co.uk/