It was during the height of lockdown that the idea for the Writing from Home project came to me. I was sat at the table in the dining room, sharing the space with the Harry Potter Christmas Lego, two cups of water, a cold cup of coffee, tablemats and one daughter on a tablet with headphones undertaking homeschooling lessons. I was relegated to a tiny square of this table, with just enough room for my laptop, my notebooks piled on the dining chairs beside me.
I spent a few moments thinking about the room I was in, and the table I was sat at. This room that in its time has hosted a christening, countless family meals, dinner parties for friends, buffets, games nights, Christmas dinners and meetings over coffee. The table in this room that has gone from a family Christmas table, to Lego display unit, to school room, to study in just a short space of time. I was utterly grateful. Grateful I had this space, grateful our home was keeping us safe. Just grateful.
It led me to the idea of a project exploring and celebrating our homes through writing. Through my work in delivering writing for wellbeing workshops I have seen the benefits of creative writing as an aid to mental health and I wanted to bring and share these benefits to new audiences. I wanted to help reduce isolation, communicate and help develop creativity. I also sought connection with other writers and participants and wanted to be inspired.
After securing funding from The Arts Council and support from three other tutors, starting in February 2021 we delivered 6 weeks of sessions across in the East Midlands, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Rutland. Through our writing we explored what our homes meant to us, our hometowns, we created maps and poems and shared reading of our work at the end of March. Feedback has included:
“Thank you for the effort you and your team have given to bring such a joy to lockdown days”
“Taking part in these workshops has helped to build my confidence in being part of a group and has also contributed towards building my courage to share. I felt more connected and enjoyed being able to write and share in a supportive environment. It has given me a lot to think about and reflect on in terms of the topic as well as my creativity and personal achievements, I’ve really enjoyed it”
“I so look forward to these inspirational sessions every week. I do hope we will have the chance to do something similar again in the future. Thank you to everyone who had made these workshops happen, they have been invaluable especially during these difficult days of Lockdown”
I would like to thank the participants from across the midlands and beyond for joining us on this project I hope you enjoyed it. I’m grateful to The Arts Council for funding this project – particular thanks to Pete Stones for his support. I would also like to thank my fellow artists – Helen, Sam and Thom for sharing their thoughts, their creativity and being generally brilliant.
I am very pleased to share the website with you all.