WestWords, based in Parramatta, is dedicated to celebrating and championing the stories of the people, places and cultures that comprise the heart of Western Sydney. A guiding philosophy of WestWords is a belief in the power of literature and literacy (written, oral and visual), self-expression and creativity to change lives and the experience of communities. With a strategic focus on children and young people and through a comprehensive program of workshops, residencies, fellowships and support for writers we offer professional opportunities for the growth of distinctive voices.
Westwords’ defining principles
- Access: ensuring participation for all young people aged 0 to 24
- Diversity and inclusion: respecting cultural heritage and background as well as recent experience
- Excellence: the hallmark for programming and skill development
- Innovation: in programming to meet young people’s interests and aspirations
- Integrity: our commitment to accountability, transparency, collaboration and strategic thinking.
History of the project
Members of the children’s literature community in New South Wales campaigned over a long period of time for a children’s literature centre in New South Wales, similar to the resources and services available in Western Australia and Victoria.
The Western Sydney Young People’s Literature Development Project (WestWords) was established in 2007 to address the low level of literature development in Western Sydney. It was an initiative of the NSW Government and Blacktown City Council was invited to host the project in the initial stages.
In 2015 WestWords Pty Ltd came into being. The independent company was initially housed at Information and Cultural Exchange in Parramatta for 2.5 years. In December 2018 we opened the WestWords Centre for Writing in Parramatta as well as writers’ rooms in Katoomba and Wedderburn (Campbelltown. With funding from Create NSW, the Copyright Agency, the Crown Resorts Foundation, The Packer Family Foundation WestWords will continue to bring valuable programs to young people and contribute to sustainable career pathways for writers in Western Sydney.
The principal objective of the Company is to promote and encourage reading, writing and story-making by, and for, children and young people living in Western Sydney and beyond and in so doing to develop and enhance community sustainability through cultural vitality.
The particular objectives of the Company include:
- To develop and present a broad program of activities that promote reading, writing and storytelling by children and young people
- to offer a mix of fee-paying and free programs, and
- to prioritise the inclusion of local professional writers, illustrators and other artists in WestWords programs, and
- to support young and emerging writers, and
- to arrange programs that engage highly experienced writers, illustrators and other artists with schools and community and cultural organisations , and
- to collaborate and partner with other cultural groups having similar objectives, both within Australia and overseas, and
- to develop a range of resources and materials that support literature development capacity in schools, communities and cultural organisations
- to initiate or to participate in projects with other artforms, and
- to participate in community events and partner with local community organisations for the benefit of the community, and
- to influence decisions by the public and private sectors which result in additional financial resources to achieve Westwords’ Objectives