Dublin City University

Fighting Words Partnership with Dublin City University

In September 2019 a partnership between Fighting Words and Dublin City University's Institute of Education was launched. This formalises a longstanding connection between Fighting Words and Dublin City University, with whom we have collaborated on a number of projects already, including Dublin in the Coming Times. Building on an Evaluation of the Fighting Words Model, carried out by researchers at the Institute of Education, this partnership has been established to explore ways to integrate the Fighting Words model at all levels of teacher eduction. Funded by the Department of Education and Skills, there is a full-time Fighting Words Fellow based on the campus, working with academic staff across a variety of disciplines. 

Colm Ó Cuanacháin: Finding words with Fighting Words

Colm Ó Cuanacháin, Fighting Words’ Education Director at Dublin City University, based in the Institute of Education, explains the Fighting Words model – based on the idea of writing as a creative skill in its own right, a teaching tool and a force for social change – and how it can be deployed in education at all levels and in all disciplines to unlock the potential of creativity.

Fostering Creativity Through the Participatory Arts

In 2020, Dr Irene White of the Institute of Education at Dublin City University, published further research on the Fighting Words creative writing model as part of her PhD thesis.

The research finds that Fighting Words empowers children to learn creatively, with a multitude of positive impacts on wellbeing including the amplification of the teenage voice, as well as improving their efficacy, confidence, esteem and resilience.

It concludes that the Fighting Words model contributes additional, significant knowledge to three key dimensions of creativity, fostering climate(s) for creativity, processes for ‘being creative’ and enabling beneficial outcomes.

DCU Report on the Fighting Words Model

In 2014, School of Education at Dublin City University (DCU) completed an evaluation of the Fighting Words creative writing model for secondary school students, and an assessment of the potential for adaptation within the curriculum.

The purpose of the evaluation was twofold; firstly, to evaluate the pedagogical effectiveness and impact of the model in its current format on secondary school students, and secondly, to examine the potential transfer of the model to the second level formal curriculum.

Roddy Doyle: Fighting Words Lecture at Newcastle University

Fighting Words co-founder Roddy Doyle delivered the following lecture about Fighting Words at Newcastle University.


About a year ago, I sat on the floor in the back of a room called Fighting Words, and watched a class of 9-year-old girls as they wrote a story, together.  They sat on little beanbags, in front of a big screen. The screen was blank.

            -What do all good stories have? the adult standing in front of them asked.

            The answers flew at her.


            -Things that are funny!

The Art of Divergence

DCU's Neurodivergent Society Creative Collection

For eighteen months, Fighting Words mentors have worked with writers from the DCU Neurodivergent Society, engaging with them online at regular writing sessions. We are delighted to launch a collection of their work: The Art of Divergence - DCU's Neurodivergent Society Creative Collection.

The launch event on 25 March 2021 is the presentation of work created with the Neurodivergent Society as part of DCU’s autism friendly initiative.We are delighted to now share their writing - prose, poetry and songs - as part the Society's week long festival of activities at DCU.

Fighting Words and Early Years Drama Education

Fighting Words partnered with Dr Una McCabe and her third year Drama and Early Education student teachers from the Institute of Education to facilitate a workshop for Junior Infants from Grace Park Educate Together National School. The Junior Infants children spent the first park of the workshop working with Fighting Words volunteers to create their own characters for a picture book, The Dragon and the Witch

Intergenerational Workshops at DCU

Second year students from Gaelcholáiste Reachrann joined members of Dublin City Council's North Central Area Age Friendly Alliance for a variety of intergenerational workshops on the All Hallow's Campus at DCU. A partnership between DCU's Institute of EducationSilverthreadMaking Hay Reminiscence Theatre Company and Dublin City Council, intergenerational workshops in art, music and creative writing were held, with participants sharing their work at the end of the event.

Fighting Words at DCU's 'Anam Festival'

Fighting Words hosted a lunchtime reading as part of DCU's 2019 Anam Festival. The event took place on the All hallow's campus, and featured readings, performances and songs. 

Work created through the Fighting Words Young Playwrights programme in partnership with the Abbey Theatre was featured, along with songs written as part of a collaboration between students from St Aidan's CBS with DCU's Age Friendly University initiative.