In the future
            the lines on my hands
will be a river flowing to the ocean.

~Kyre, Year 8, Coreen School, Youth Unlocked

Red Room Poetry’s Youth Unlocked collaborates with students, teachers and educational communities in Behavioural Intervention Centres and Juvenile Justice Centres to deepen encounters with poetry.

Led by poet educators, Kirli Saunders and David Stavanger, the 2019 Youth Unlocked pilot programs at Coreen School and Green Square Behavioural Intervention School focussed on intensive poetic workshops with small groups of students.

Meeting these young poets and writers is a privilege. Getting to talk about their worlds somewhere near their terms is a gift. Much gratitude to the Green Square students and staff for allowing me into their space. Thank you for giving permission to create these lines as an aside to the main game.

~ David Stavanger, Poet, Youth Unlocked

Themes of community, belonging, futures and connection were explored through poetry, performance and art making. Multi-disciplinary Koori artist, David Cragg also collaborated to turn student poems into murals at Coreen School.

  • 259 Contact hours
  • 17 Students
  • 2 School communities
  • 2 Murals


  • Coreen Special Educational School, Blacktown
    In a series of four workshops across May and June, poet Kirli Saunders and artist David Cragg collaborated with students at Coreen School to create original poems both individually and in groups. These workshops focused on themes of community, family and belonging, as well as connection to the Earth with First Nations perspectives. Workshops were held on 21 May, 28 May 21, 4 June and 11 June 2019.
  • In seven workshops across August, November and December held at Nurragingy Reserve on Darug land, RR poet David Stavanger – occasionally accompanied by his rescue poetry dog Cookie – collaborated with students at Coreen School to create original poems both individually and in groups. These workshops focused on themes of identity, family, pop culture, nature, and dogs, as well as responding to both the bush fires and the flames within. 

    Explore Coreen student poems
    Read David Stavanger's reflection about Youth Unlocked

  • Green Square School 
    On 19 August 2019, poet David Stavanger visited Green Square School to explore placemaking, connection to community, and stories of growing up. This program, part of Red Room Poetry's Youth Unlocked project, saw participants create poetry for street publication with an artist. Poems were performed at The Social Corner in Green Square.

    Explore Green Square student poems
    Read David's poem 'Solitaire' 


"I just wanted to send a quick email praising David Stavanger and the brilliant work he did with our students. His nature, patience and professionalism with our students was outstanding. The students really loved him and produced some brilliant results."

Timothy Lorkin, Assistant Principal Coreen School

Poems | Solitaire

Partners & supporters

  • Australia Council for the Arts

  • Create NSW