I run a variety of creative writing projects – either focused on poetry/prose writing or collaborations with other artists. My work often involves working in health and healthcare environments to support co-production and collaboration between users and staff (see also www.inhealthassociates.co.uk). These programmes below can be adapted for different settings.
Get in touch if you want to run a programme or workshop based on the ideas below. Or, if you have ideas for collaborative initiatives.
ReWrite For Dialogue workshops bring together staff with service users and carers, to creatively share insights and learning about health and healthcare. By bringing people together in safe spaces, we are able to to nurture reflective dialogue and caring relationships between users and staff through poetry and spoken word, with a view to promoting inclusive partnerships. This creative approach enables unique insight into ourselves, others and our collective wellbeing, giving a voice to those who often feel that they are not heard.
ReWrite For Recovery is an opportunity for those who have been affected by life-changing illness, injury or disability to ‘re-write’ their own story. To reframe what has happened to them and to tell a different, perhaps more empowering narrative through creative writing.
About the workshops
All our workshops include:
What will you get out of it?
“Can I say how much I enjoyed the day. It was truly revelatory. I can’t believe that I actually wrote something in such a short time. You definitely sparked something in me. I’ve told countless people about the exercise and everyone would like to have a go! There’s obviously a big market out there for this type of experience”.Participant at ReWrite workshop in Manchester.
The Tale of The Jewel Merchants is a modern healthcare parable that illustrates how people with life-changing illness, injury or disability bring jewels of passion, insight and wisdom to conversations about health and healthcare. Originally designed to be used in creative writing workshops, I worked with composer Rose Miranda Hall and librettist and opera singer Lila Palmer to develop a day-long workshop and operatic performance.
The Jewel Merchants’ comprises a creative writing workshop facilitated by DG followed by a performance of an operatic song cycle ‘The Jewel Merchants’ composed by Rose Hall for soprano, cello and poet. Although developed for mental-health service users, it can be utilised by anyone with a journey and experiences to share.
The workshop invites participants to imagine themselves as fellow Jewel Merchants on the journey from the ‘caves of suffering’ where they discovered their jewels - their experiences. These jewels are invited to be shared round the campfire (the workshop) with time taken to craft a piece of writing. A performance of ‘The Jewel Merchants’ takes place (open to the public) following the workshop, a space is left open in the narrative where the workshop participants are invited to read their work, have their work read, or to just listen. They are the Jewel Merchants and the piece is not complete without them; the piece develops organically as it passes through different organisations.
Participants described it as: ‘overwhelmingly inspiring’, ‘a powerful experience to explore [my] journey’, ‘the workshop was intelligent, top standard and high quality’ and through participating ‘gained confidence’. After the inaugural performance one audience member said they had worked with service users on their ‘narratives’ for years but this had given him fresh insight into how people can voice their experiences.
For more details click here.
The connection between nature and wellbeing is critical. I have recently developed creative writing workshops and programmes for conservation agencies and environmental organisations. These involve bringing people together to reflect on inspirational nature writing, then going out on guided walks and supporting people – many of whom are beginners in terms of writing experience – to draft their own prose or poetic offering.
For example, I worked with Jennifer Gilbert, from the Back From The Brink conservation project in the Cotswolds on a day long writing course in June that focused on an exploration of the local limestone environment and local species.
One participant said: “It was a fabulous day despite the weather. I hope I didn’t make it too obvious that I have attended quite a few poetry workshops, but I have to say yours was one of the most enjoyable and productive, so many thanks for that”.
I am Writer In Residence for the Bethlem Gallery. As part of the residency I run workshops on creative writing and develop collaborations with visual artists. One example of the latter was a creative writing and visual arts celebration of the 70th anniversary of the NHS with Beth Hopkins.
We also produced a pamphlet for NHS 70 called ReCollections (see ‘publications’ page).