About Sydney Story Factory

IGNITING THE SPARK of creativity

The Sydney Story Factory is a not-for-profit creative writing centre for young people . It was founded in Redfern (Sydney) in 2012 by Cath Keenan and Tim Dick.

Cath leads the Sydney Story Factory as executive director, and in 2016 she was named Australian of the Year Local Hero - a wonderful acknowledgement of the  amazing creative community hub that her hard work and vision have created.

At the Sydney Story Factory we want to see an Australia where all young people have the skills and confidence to tell their stories.

Our priority is marginalised young people - those most at risk of losing confidence in their writing and switching off at school. We light the spark of creativity and help them find their voice. 

Programs are for young people aged 7 to 17 and are designed by creative writing and literacy experts to:

  • increase enjoyment of writing and storytelling; 
  • improve creative and critical thinking; 
  • develop skills in writing and storytelling;
  • build confidence; 
  • deepen engagement with learning;
  • increase a sense of belonging and connection to community; and
  • nurture aspirations.

To find out more about the many creative writing and storytelling programs we run, please go to our workshops page.

Why we Do What we Do

Strong writing skills are one of the foundations of a successful life, yet marginalised young people, particularly those from Indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds, have significantly - often catastrophically - lower literacy levels than their peers.

Meanwhile, in a rapidly changing world, a crucial part of any child’s education  should be learning to think flexibly and adapt to new situations. Creativity becomes vital. 

All Sydney Story Factory programs are designed by our expert storytelling team to develop young people's writing and communication skills and enhance their creativity. We maximise this impact by using our large corps of trained volunteer tutors to give young people the one-on-one attention that even the best teachers struggle to provide. Our storytelling team lead all workshops, and within that structured framework volunteer tutors give young people the personal attention to their writing that we believe can be truly transformative.

Creativity in Education

A growing body of international research demonstrates that quality arts-based learning experiences can significantly improve both literacy rates and academic engagement and attainment, while also providing many other social and emotional benefits.

Our programs are created with reference to the work of James Catterall, and others, in this area. We also respond to work by Tony Vinson et al showing education to be the single biggest factor in alleviating disadvantage.

For more on the benefits of quality arts programs in education, read a paper by former Sydney Story Factory vice president Professor Robyn Ewing: "The Arts and Australian Education: Realising Potential".

To read our most recent Not-Boring Annual Report click here.


Our Status

The Sydney Story Factory is registered as an incorporated entity. We are a public benevolent institution with DGR1 tax status. All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible.

The Sydney Story Factory acknowledges and pays respect to the traditional owners of the land on which the SSF is built, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. As we share our own knowledge, teaching, and learning practices within this space may we also pay respect to the knowledge embedded forever
within the Aboriginal Custodianship of this Country.