Credit: Keith Jenkins

Scissors Paper Pen is excited to be partnering with the ACT committee of the Alternative Law Journal to present “Paper Weights” – an in-depth workshop and mentoring opportunity for writers under 35 (based in Canberra or region), in the field of writing on law reform and social justice issues. We’re giving you the chance to develop your skills and scope as a professional, capable of writing about law reform and social justice issues in original, nuanced and visionary ways.

Kicking off in late February 2014 and culminating in a public launch in mid-May 2014, Scissors Paper Pen are setting you up with mentors, a topic, and ongoing support to research and compose a piece of creative writing focusing on an area of social justice that is the most interesting to you. This project is incredibly important to us because we want you to become the kind of writer you and everyone else wants to read! The kind of writer that illuminates the dark and inspires thought, compassion and action.

Successful applicants receive:

  • 2 x 3 hour workshops focusing on creative writing skills and writing about law and social justice issues (in late February and mid-April);
  • planned opportunities to work with three mentors from different fields including academia, community sector, arts and culture community;
  • ongoing editorial support from the SPP team to develop a creative response to a law reform or social justice issue that speaks to you;
  • support to submit your work for consideration by the Alternative Law Journal (print and/or web), for the Scissors Paper Pen blogsite, for a range of other local and national print and web publications.

Should you apply?

Everyone has opinions, and there are a lot of people out there getting those thoughts down on paper, persuading, cajoling, considering, appraising, debating how they see the world, and the challenges we face in it — as individuals and as a community. This is your opportunity to grow and qualify your voice and experience as a writer and a researcher, and hopefully end up with a mean publication under your belt. We want you to use this opportunity to explore your ideas, your writing, the world around you and the people in it.

If you’re passionate about something, you should apply. If you have something to say, you should apply. If you want to find something to be passionate about, or you want to find your voice, you should apply. This project is about developing nuanced and intelligent ways of communicating ideas, issues in a creative and approachable way, and using what you’ve got to get others to sit up.

How to apply

Write to us! Tell us a bit about yourself: where you’re at, what area of law reform or social justice interests you, where you want to get to and why. If you have an idea for a field you’re passionate about, pitch us the beginnings of an article concept! We’d also love to see what you write, so make sure you send us a one page sample of your writing: it can come from anywhere — fan fiction, blog posts, reviews or prior essays. Fill your application with vision and zest, be brave, challenge us. Submit your application to writetoscissorspaperpen@gmail.com by midnight on Monday 3 February 2014!

Questions You Might Have:

  • What is the Alternative Law Journal? Take a look: http://www.altlj.org/
  • What is a law reform or social justice issue? This is the exciting part – it’s up to you to convince us what a law reform or social justice issue is for you. But here are a few ideas: the environment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, educational equity, gender recognition and equality, immigrant and refugee peoples, juvenile offenders, sex work.
  • How much time will I need? The hours you spend on the project is your call, but we recommend being prepare to put aside 3-5 hours per week for writing, reading, talking, editing, discussing and debating.
  • Do I have to pay for this? No. Scissors Paper Pen and the Alternative Law Journal will cover all the costs of the program.
  • What do my mentors do? Mentors help guide the topic and structure of your creative response. They can help you find resources, help you edit your work, and help you construct a finely crafted creative work you’ve enjoyed writing. For us, most importantly, mentors are there to make you feel supported while you write.
  • How do I get my mentors? We’re going to help you find them. Depending on your project, we are going to source your three mentors with you. What comes first is you thinking up the area or issue you’d like to research and write about.
  • How many places are available? We have five places available to writers under the age of 35
  • Do I have to live in the ACT? You don’t have to live in the ACT but you do have to be available to attend the 2 workshops in February and April. We will also be giving preference to applicants who live in the ACT and region as this is the focus of Scissors Paper Pen and you’ll also get more out of the project if you’re on the ground in the ACT. However we do plan to expand this project, so keep an eye out for the national version!

One thought on “Paper Weights: an SPP social justice project

  1. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website.
    I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts by you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now 😉

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