Telling Our Stories:
Finding stories in the meaning of life
Creative Writing Workshops at Royal Trinity Hospice
Throughout February and March 2018, Royal Trinity Hospice hosted a series of creative writing workshops that aimed to help patients, families, volunteers and staff explore feelings around life, death and dying.
Trinity has a range of groups and services that are designed to help those with life-limiting illnesses, and their families and friends, feel supported and cared for throughout their time with the hospice. However, this is the first time creative writing has been used help express the emotions that surround life-limiting illness.
The workshops encouraged writers of all abilities and were developed by poet, critic and creative writing lecturer at The Open University, Dr. Siobhan Campbell and fellow lecturer at Kingston University Dr. Meg Jensen, alongside Trinity colleagues.
The workshops ran over a series of three sessions and were tailored for three different groups: patients and their family and friends, bereaved people, and Trinity’s own staff and volunteers. Guidance and starter exercises were provided, but a focus was given to individual creativity and sharing the joy that comes from expressing thoughts about life, and what it means to be at the end of life.
Workshop leader Dr. Campbell said, “I have seen how writing workshops have given patients, family members and care-givers new ways of meeting the challenge to finding meaning in experiences of loss and death. In poetry, story and memoir we hope for those joining us at Trinity to explore how creative writing can help find a voice and access the unsaid.
“The support felt in workshops can have far reaching effects on well-being and capacity for resilience going forward. Some of the work produced by first-time writers has meant a huge amount when shared with their loved ones and some have gone on to publish in literary magazines as well.”
Following the completion of the workshops, there was an opportunity for writers to share their work with a small audience on 16 May in Trinity’s Mulberry Room. Participants were also invited to take part in a research study that explored the place of creative writing in palliative care, and how it can support creativity and agency during this most important period of life.
Writing to Remember
Patients, family and friends
How do you begin to express feelings or to write that story you recall and would like to record? This friendly workshop will help to get you going with writing prompts and exercises suitable to all, whether you’ve written before or not. We will do some life-writing and some imaginative writing so you can take your pick. Come on your own or with family or friends. Places limited to fifteen so sign up now!
People who are bereaved
Sometimes you may want to record your own thoughts and feelings or to tell stories from your cherished memories. This workshop will help you to begin writing from a set of prompts and exercises that anyone can do. No experience is necessary. Come along to see what you can discover - and capture your stories in vivid ways.
Staff and Volunteers
You are at the forefront of care-giving and your work is part of the ongoing story of Trinity Hospice. Many thoughts and feelings may go through your minds and this workshop will help you to express them in writing, whether telling directly from experience or working imaginatively. From prompts and exercises that are fun to do, you may be surprised at what you come up with in workshop!