As members of staff, we often feel on the perimeter when it comes to events taking place in our building. We direct students to rooms, let the catering folk in through the security gate with their urns of coffee and trays of biscuits, and help out when visiting lecturers need blank paper, pens or other ephemera. So when I saw an event advertised to staff as well as students, and realised that it was right up my street in its content, I just had to sign up.
Ink:Well is a series of workshops being run by Dr Alison Habens (Creative Writing) and Dr Clare Wilson (Psychology). It is open to all staff and students of the university, and will run from 12 – 2 pm on Wednesday afternoons in November – so you still have plenty of time to take part!
The workshops form part of Alison and Clare’s research collaboration into the benefits of personal storytelling. In them, you will be able to explore ‘the stories of your life’ in enjoyable and interesting creative writing activities. They’ll ask you to complete short questionnaires at the beginning and end of the session (all submitted anonymously), but there’s no compulsion to share what you write unless you want to.
Alison and Clare’s project aims to discover exactly how and why writing about memories in particular ways can increase well-being. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve written creatively before or not, or whether you have an unusual story to tell. In fact, the greater the mix of people they get to take part, the more interesting I imagine analysing the results will be for them!
Personally, I really enjoyed the session. The three writing exercises were preceded by an introduction from Alison which set the scene and discussed what we were going to do. Each of the exercises were explained as we went along, and flowed naturally from each other, meaning no-one sat there chewing the end of their biro for long. Then at the end, Clare offered the psychologists viewpoint, giving us an insight into the way this kind of work is being used and researched in the wider world.
It wasn’t a writing lesson, nor was it an opportunity for self-promotion, as some people reading “life story” might infer. It was a chance to step away from everyday tasks and take time out for yourself, whilst also helping two of our academics in their research. I’d highly recommend it!
For further information, and to express interest in participating, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with Ink:Well as the title of your message.
Photo by crdotx