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Literature Wales and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales award £5,000 through digital commissions

Published Fri 12 Jun 2020 - By Literature Wales

Literature Wales, in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, are pleased to announce the names of the writers commissioned following the second call-out for engaging literary content and projects for audiences.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Literature Wales’ offices are closed, and much of our activity is postponed. However, our commitment to inspiring communities, developing writers, and celebrating Wales’ literary culture remains as strong as ever.

On 1 April, we announced a round of funding for freelance writers to devise and create original digital content and projects for audiences. The second round of funding for Writer Commissions in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales was launched on 4 May. The focus for this round was health and wellbeing. Literature is frequently used therapeutically, as preventative, palliative, and curative medicine for some illnesses and disabilities. Cumulatively, potential outcomes of literature and creative writing contribute to improved well-being for individuals, our society, economy, and culture and are crucial to the vibrancy of our national cultural narrative.

The scheme was strongly competitive, with many innovative proposals submitted. From these submissions, ten have been commissioned, and their proposed content and activities aim to benefit writers, readers, and creative audiences during this unsettling time.

The writers selected to develop their content are Fiona Collins, Siân Melangell Dafydd, Ffion Jones, Deborah Llewellyn, Sian Northey, Grace Quantock, Kerry Steed, David Thorpe, Amanda Wells and Paul Whittaker. The commissions include digital workshops for patients with chronic illnesses; digital collections of older people’s memories, a video about safe and effective therapeutic writing; webinars and exercises to build confidence and improve mental health; digital workshops for isolated Home Educated children and disabled groups; writing and yoga workshops and online courses and resources for artists interested in working within the health and well-being sector in both English and Welsh.

Information about each project is available below, with further details and author biographies to be published on the Literature Wales website soon.

 

The Projects:

Fiona Collins will digitally collect and share elders’ memories; create an opportunity for individuals to be heard and appreciated; and confirm that their personal stories are valued by others.

Siân Melangell Dafydd will devise a series of three web-based workshops on creative writing and yoga with a closed working group on Facebook for discussion and home exercises. This is a project for anyone suffering from mental problems, such as anxiety in this period, and are available in both Welsh and English.

Ffion Jones will develop and deliver an online art inspired creative writing course for two groups of home educated children and young people (i.e. 4 – 10 and 11-16) supported by Mountain Movers educational charity who are an inclusive community organisation providing opportunities to home educating families.

Deborah Llewellyn will create an online Poetry and Creative Writing Course for People Living with Chronic Pain. This course will provide a safe space to discuss thoughts and feelings whilst exploring varied writing styles and voices. It will offer a sense of purpose, a chance to connect with others.

Sian Northey will design a resource in Welsh for those who wish to lead creative writing workshops in a health well-being context. It would be aimed at two audiences:  writers new to health and well-being work and charities / support groups that want to hold creative writing sessions but lack confidence.

Grace Quantock will create a video of how to write about painful emotions or memories in a safe and effective way. She will also write and design a PDF of writing prompts to support carers and disabled people, as well as hosting a closed webinar.

Kerry Steed will devise an online course for Wales-based writers who are working with or interested in working with writing for health and wellbeing. It will be an online support group: a space for sharing, for accessing course-related materials, resources, inspiration and prompts, materials will be emailed prior to sessions where relevant.

David Thorpe will create a series of webinars with exercises in between to help writers express emotional and transformative effects of the lockdown and consequences of this. Using written forms, and experiments with humour these will help to build their confidence & improve mental health.

Amanda Wells will hold digital closed workshops for vulnerable groups such as disabled people, people with mental health issues or older people. They will combine visual poetry techniques and creative writing.

Paul Whittaker will pilot writing workshop with patients with a chronic illness who are currently self-isolating to create their own autobiographical collages that can be shared with staff and a wider audience at Cardiff and Vale Health Board.