Led by an award- winning poet, the The Art of Dispute introduces young people to the creative use of language and spoken word, with the aim of performing their work. Over a six-week period, students are guided though the development of their own creative and poetic material accompanied by impromptu live performances from the poet.

The project explores human rights, freedom of speech and assists young people to articulate their thoughts and feelings, while gaining confidence in the process. This is presented through the localised history of Lauderdale’s former resident and prominent Quaker William Mead and his right to practice Quakerism, without being persecuted. Mead’s trial, resulted in the ‘Independence of the Jury’ being established into English Law. This allowed jury members to come to their own decision, without influence, and is something that is still in practice today.

The project further explores Quaker links with the abolishment of Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, drawing parallels with current issues such as Black Lives Matter, social justice and decolonisation, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The six weeks culminates in a live performance of the student’s poetry at Lauderdale House, and publication of their work in a keepsake book.

Many thanks to John Lyon's Charity for funding this project.

 A girl reading a poem
A boy reading a poem
Students performing poetry
Parliament Hill students visiting Lauderdale House
Student performing a poem to their peers
Parliament Hill students
Students looking at Long Gallery ceiling
Parliament Hill students and Education Officer working on a mind map
Student performing their poem at Lauderdale House
Parliament Hill students at Lauderdale House
Students at Lauderdale House
John Lyon's Charity