Where on Earth do I do these things?
I’m based in South-West England, where I work in education, museums, retirement communities, and other settings. But I can and do travel…Here are some examples of projects:
with Cheltenham Literature Festival
In 2019 and 2020 I’m working with Cheltenham Literature Festival, on the writing for wellbeing project ‘Beyond Words’. With a group of young people from the Gloucester Hospital Education Service, we’re writing in inspiring locations and producing an anthology together. There’s more information about the project here and a film of a previous year’s project below:
Writer-in-Residence and Lead Writer
During its time working in the South-West, I was fortunate enough to work with the First Story team. I delivered residencies in four schools, was Lead Writer in 2018-19, and worked in various other schools on teacher CPDs and student workshops. In 2019 I have been producing an LGBTQ+ writing resource, which should go live on their site later in the year (watch this space). They’re a fantastic organisation with whom I’m glad to have worked (and will be missed in Bristol and the SW!). There’s more about them on their website here and the video below:
with Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
It was great fun working with the year two and five classes in the school. Writing creatively about art and objects is such a brilliant, nourishing thing to do – I hope they’ll feel confident and excited to go into more museums and galleries, equipped with pen(cil) and paper, to explore with their senses and imaginations.
There’s an article about the project here and the resource we’ve produced will be up on the Max Literacy website.
People, Places, Life:
Creative Writing at M Shed Museum
From February – April 2017, I ran creative writing sessions through WEA which encourage the group to encounter and be inspired by the objects and themes arising in M Shed’s exhibits. We’re looking at themes like Beliefs & Boycotts, music and musicality, journeys, and more…Here’s my promo film for the course:
Lapidus Day Conference, 2016
In May 2016, I was conference manager for the Lapidus Day: a gathering of those interested in Writing for Wellbeing, held at the University of Chester. I also made this video to document the day:
I ran a series of four intergenerational sessions with Wyldwood Arts at Monica Wills House, themed around the elements: Earth; Water; Fire; Air. They made this delightful film about it, too, which I think really captures some of energy, kindness and openness which characterised the group:
A couple of films I’ve made for Bristol Ageing Better projects. The first for the Growing Bolder group, which helps people over 55 reconnect with life, hope and creativity. Funded by Bristol Ageing Better, members of the group gave a performance of their own writing (and I went along to film and give a warm-up):
Be Brave Bimble
Evidence that you can do wonderfully creative things using household objects and a dining table (!) on afternoon, to tell a DIY story of social isolation and the role of creativity in addressing it. With the brilliant Barbara Bloomfield, here’s our tabletop epic, Be Brave Bimble:
Sing me the song of your laundry
The cycles of this cylinder
Its bright voltaic hum.
As one of the Lead Artists, alongside Paul Hurley, we worked with Knowle West Media Centre on this project: co-facilitating two large community engagement workshops, exploring the ways in which groups of citizens can understand, develop, deploy & utilise sensors and their data in order to address damp in rented and social housing.
In September 2016, we performed our artistic response to the project, #SmartCityDampDataCitizenSpectaculecture in the at-Bristol ‘Data Dome’ or planetarium. The final ‘spectaculecture’ performance involved 360-degree videopoetry I created using a GoPro – you can read more about that process on the Literary Platform, here.
Chainmail (for Nicky Morgan)
“The submariner presented his mate…
risks language of nuclear expectation…”
A Lo! and behold microcommission for The Poetry School, Chainmail (for Nicky Morgan) was a STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths) collaborative email project, aiming to challenge and bridge perceived gaps between disciplines, and generate work in the fertile spaces in between. The online publication is available here.
How Was Your Day?
“OTHER PLUSH PHYLOGENETIC
Scientific researchers from across disciplines at the University of Bristol were invited to attend a morning’s workshop to get creative and generate interesting work to engage the public at Bristol Bright Night. With our Found Poetry Science-Diction Bunting, collaborative sensory poems of the workplace, and writing to or ‘as’ research tools, it was certainly an unusual approach to talking about scientific research. (And when asked if the workshop was well designed and facilitated, 10 out of 10 participants surveyed responded ‘Definitely’ in their feedback.)
Buzz Words and the Bee Ceilidh
“Have you moved gardens lately?
I am all over the place: I have cousins in every field and paddy, up and down the country.”
I invited schools and festivals (Einstein’s Garden at Green Man and with The Sculpture Village, Towersey Festival) to explore and celebrate the awesomeness of our pollinator pals, through anarchic writing games – leading to a collective Ode to the Bee. And once we’d been a collective bee-bard, we bopped like bees too. The BEE CEILIDH got families wiggling, giggling and do-si-di-ing, just like they do in a hive. Sort of.
“Buy the £440,000 art cakes
inside the new blue red carpet,
as accidental tech-scents hit
the flawless box triumphs.”
As part of The Fabulous Recycling and Discourse on the Environment Exhibition (alongside an exhibition by artists Donna Bramall and Rachel Hinds) in Leeds, we created found (and concrete) poems using old newspapers and packaging.
Found poetry is a great way of working with form and enjoying words for their sound, as objects, and in their arbitrary (but often intriguing and beautiful) collisions with other words. That’s the fun of found poetry of this kind: it’s all about collecting, curating and creating something new with them.
The Vermin Cycle
“There’s a vast globe to cover in our poo,
and when we’re gone, who’ll see that through?”
As part of Bristol BioBlitz at Tyntesfield near Bristol and at Green Man Festival Einstein’s Garden 2011, I presented my series of Vermin poems (some of which have been published in online journals such as Mgversion2 Datura) – seven first-person pieces that give voice to our least favourite and most ubiquitous species, through the archaic lens of the Seven Deadly Sins. And with epic costume, including fishing-rod cockroach-antennae…
Cyclogeographic & Ride The Lights
“Like a fish with a bicycle, you’ll have no legs…”
A series of (so far) three participatory cycling arts projects:
First, for the SusTrans MicroFest, Caerphilly.
Then for the Juliana’s Bike cycling arts festival in Leeds.
And most recently as Ride the Lights, with The Hepworth, Wakefield.