I believe in the power of using creativity as a healing tool. I was Writer in Residence at Lime Art (part of Central Manchester Hospitals) from 2008- 2011. I have also worked with the Manchester Museum, the Whitworth Art Gallery and the Harris Art Gallery and museum in Preston on their arts and health programmes. Through these organisations I have delivered a series of creative writing courses and workshops for young people and adults with mental health problems. I am a poet, performer and playwright, and through working with galleries and visual artists I have devised a way of using visual arts as inspiration for creative writing.
The creative writing and poetry workshops I offer give participants the chance to experience art in a totally different way. I am a nationally acclaimed performance poet and I always perform for participants as part of the session, which gives them a unique experience of live art. I also enable them to work as a group, and individually, to respond to visual stimulus, or work in a more abstract way in order to allow them to express their hopes, their dreams, their desires and their opinions, in a creative way, using poetry. They also have the opportunity to represent themselves and give voice to their experiences.
In addition to this, I give them examples of inspiring and uplifting poetry to help shift their perspectives to more positive and affirming thoughts.
The participants will have fun watching live art performances and being creative themselves. Writing poetry and prose that they are proud of will boost their confidence in their cognitive abilities, improve their literacy and communication skills, and also give them first-hand experience of the power of the written and spoken word.