School & Uni Visits

I’ve been doing these interactive talks around the UK and abroad for over a year now.

Safa Scs Conference

They engage young people in key issues most relevant to them, six of which feature strongly in my YA novel ‘Home’ my life in the universe.

In the main presentation, I use a series of original and fun exercises, asking all the students which of the above themes they want to focus on. That enables them to see the educational value in all of the themes, whilst enabling me to focus on the ones which they see as most relevant to them, their age, their school and their location.

Then follows some live readings, exercises, and a little theatre of one of the pivotal scenes from the book in which some students volunteer to read the different parts.

The Q & A session at the end is always a very lively one and I endeavour to facilitate them in finding their own answers to what are often really insightful and important questions.

The Workshops

As part of my school or university visits, I’m usually asked to do one or more of the workshops below (approx. 1 hour sessions). These are usually for smaller groupings of 15 to 50 students.
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Creative Writing

This workshop is based around concepts, styles and key writing techniques used in ‘Home: My Life in the Universe’. This includes skills from the teacher’s resource pack (TES).

Every student has a whole treasure chest of unexplored potential in being able to express themselves with rich creativity and versatile skills. This workshop begins uniquely with the encouragement to try, to be bold, to imagine, to explore and delight in things you thought you’d never be able to do, but actually can!

It inspires students to not only discover new skills and technical abilities, but to fire up their own deep imagination and learn how to put into words, sentences and concepts, their own original stories.

“Yesterday we had a visit from environmentalist and author Mark Ballabon. Our Y7s and Y8s loved his assemblies and some of them were lucky enough to have a creative writing workshop with him! The pupils who attended the creative writing classes, in particular my high achiever’s book club, have had so many new ideas and inspiration following their sessions with Mark.”
Ingleby Manor Free School

Climate Positive

Having researched climate science for almost half my life and been active in movements and campaigns, I’ve discovered that there is a positive and effective approach to climate change. This approach also reduces climate anxiety.

This workshop covers :

• The difference between weather and climate

• Explanation of key terms – climate positive, net zero, the Keeling curve, Albedo effect, greenhouse effect

• Activism and self-leadership

• How to find your own way to express your conviction

• Dealing with climate anxiety

“Mark ran a wonderful workshop on climate and climate positivity. Students found Mark engaging and relatable and could relate to the book as it was about a young girl's journey. He was knowledgeable and quickly got on board with our school values and used them throughout his session. It was great that he could attend assembly and really see the link of what we are doing in school and Earth Day and the significance of that.”
Cardinal Heenan School


Understanding people and developing lasting relationships

This begins with an exploration into what empathy really means, enabling students to find their own examples from experience or films or from characters in stories they love. With further interaction, we look at the important difference between empathy and sympathy. Students then get an opportunity to read from and act out a scene in ‘Home’ where one of the protagonists tells their story of how they became a refugee and eventually escaped to England. They witness how the two other protagonists with him demonstrate a deep empathy and how this leads to a lasting friendship. In the Q & A session at the end, students get to see how nurturing empathy can not only bring positive changes in understanding others, but how it also improves one’s relationship with oneself and builds inner confidence and tolerance.

“We truly loved the special workshops. Thank you Mark for four wonderful sessions with our students; so much to learn!”
JESS Secondary, Dubai

Transforming Conflict

Understanding and dealing with conflict in oneself, and with others

This is an interactive, role-playing workshop based around the core principles of mediation and conflict resolution which are used by professionals in the field. It will enable students to better understand the conflicts and anxieties that confront them, often on a daily basis, and to discover how this affects their behaviour. From these understandings, some very practical ways of dealing with and resolving conflict peacefully are offered.


This workshop presents a toolkit of ways and means to becoming more effective and successful in leading your life, true to yourself. It’s all about leading by example.

Leadership is an exact and timely response to a real need. Every person can become a leader in any situation, by the way in which they lead themselves. This workshop enables students to rediscover and look afresh at the things in life which they are most passionate about, most interested in and potentially most capable in.

With encouragement and practical exercises, students find they no longer have to keep looking outside themselves for the latest cool role model, but they can look inside themselves to becoming their own role model.