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The Project

During lockdown we have all spent more time at home, working from home, exercising from home and undertaking our hobbies from home. Our homes became our whole worlds and the idea for this project came about because I wanted to explore and celebrate the home through writing.Through my work in delivering writing for wellbeing workshops I have seen the benefits of creative writing as an aid to mental health and I wanted to bring and share these benefits to new audiences. I wanted to help reduce isolation, communicate and help develop creativity. I also sought connection with other writers and participants and wanted to be inspired. It has been all this and more.

I would like to thank the participants from across the Midlands and beyond for joining us on this project I hope you enjoyed it. I’m grateful to The Arts Council for funding this project – particular thanks to Pete Stones for his support. I would also like to thank my fellow artists – Helen, Sam and Thom for sharing their thoughts, their creativity and generally being brilliant.

Katie Sone – Project Manager and Artist

 

The project involved four artists Helen Foster, Sam Gray, Thom Seddon and Katie Sone who in February and March 2021 delivered a series of creative writing workshops on the theme of “Home” with workshops taking place via zoom (or remotely via post or via telephone conversations) in the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland. Each artist taking on a particular county, Thom worked with the Derbyshire participants, Sam with Nottinghamshire, Helen with Rutland and Katie with Leicestershire.

Over six weeks we explored what Home meant to us, we wrote about favourite objects and their association to our memories, to people and to places. We used the pantoum method to create poems of our objects and, drew maps when exploring our hometowns from past and present. We looked at a particular or favourite room in our home and our associations with it as well as writing about our gratitude for our Homes during lockdown.

The project offered people the opportunity to develop their creative writing skills, as a beginner, or returning to writing in a safe and supportive space, sharing experiences and building confidence. By connecting virtually, this project aimed to reduce isolation and be as an aid to mental health and wellbeing. The project culminated with group sharing on March 26th 2021 where all the participants shared their thoughts and read out the writing they had created. This project was also celebrated in a booklet for all participants.

"Thank you for the effort you and your team have given to bring such a joy to lockdown days."

Workshop Participant, Derbyshire

The Artists

Helen Foster

Helen is a writer, teacher and oral historian. She manages the East Midlands Oral History Archive at the University of Leicester where she develops engagement work around oral history. She is currently leading a National Lottery Heritage Funded project, ‘The Silent Archive; Oral Histories of Menopause’, bringing together women from Leicester and Nottingham to train and carry out interviewing around the theme of menopause and mid-life experiences of women. She is partnering with Writing East Midlands to deliver creative writing workshops to tie-in with the project.

As a writer, Helen delivers Creative Writing and Writing for Wellbeing workshops for Rutland Adult Learning Services, both face-to-face and online. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing. To develop her practice she is currently studying for an MSc in Mindfulness Studies with the University of Aberdeen.

Sam Gray

Sam Gray started life as a teacher and has recently gained credentials with the ‘International Federation of Biblio/Poetry Therapy’ to work in the field of poetry therapy – the interactive use of literature to promote healing. Sam studied Creative Writing with the Open University and became increasingly involved in therapeutic writing, facilitating workshops in a variety of community and healthcare settings. In 2011, she wrote an article about the ways in which writing can support us through the bereavement process (Gray, S, 2011, Routledge).

She has been working with the Nottingham Writers’ Studio since January 2017 delivering ‘Words for Wellbeing’ courses. Sam’s work in this field has been an exploration of the many ways in which creative words can help us to navigate life’s challenges - including loss, change, anxiety, depression and physical illness. It also has celebrated the magical, transformative power of words and the ways in which they can lead us to deeper self-understanding, balance and creativity. Sam finds comfort, inspiration and clarity in words – and loves working with others as they do the same. She is a member of Lapidus, the Writing for Wellbeing Organisation and a professional member of NAWE.

Thom Seddon

Thom Seddon is an all-round creative type based in Nottingham UK. He is mostly a writer working in fiction, script and poetry, as well as an entertainer, workshop facilitator, and event producer. As an MSc qualified Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes facilitator and an advocate for charity work and mental health, Thom appreciates first-hand how important services and experiences that promote wellbeing are.

Since 2017, Thom has worked on a number of projects which promoted wellbeing through the arts including the arts funded project Write Minds, Write Pride LGBTQ Writing Festival in 2018 & 2019, If The Trees Could Talk with Derbyshire LGBT+ and People Express, and Drag Me Up with Big White Shed.

Katie Sone

Katie is a skilled arts Project Manager with over 18 years’ experience in managing Arts and heritage events and projects across the Midlands. in 2013 she refocused her career to focus on her passion for therapeutic writing. Since she has delivered creative writing for wellbeing and community projects across the county. For the third year she has been funded by Time for Change to deliver workshops to help people with their mental health through writing.

In 2018 she joined the Comedy Asylum team, as associate artist assisting delivery of writing comedy workshops in psychiatric units and community mental health settings. She is one of the artists for Bright Sparks – Remote Art project delivering creative writing workshops for mental health service users, online and via the telephone. Katie was featured in the Christmas edition of Prima with an article on the importance of writing Christmas Cards. She is currently writing a middle grade children’s book.

"Taking part in these workshops has helped to build my confidence in being part of a group and has also contributed towards building my courage to share. I felt more connected and enjoyed being able to write and share in a supportive environment."

Workshop Participant, Leicestershire

The Shires - The Writings

Let's Chat

for more information on the writing from home project or other writing services for you or your organisation, then please contact:


Katie Sone

[email protected]
07966 947020