‘Writing for Wellbeing’ is a free online creative writing course designed for people to do whether they are self-isolating or social distancing during lockdown and to help support the wellbeing of key workers and the general public in the battle against Covid-19.
Contributors and participants have so far included NHS staff from Alder Hey, Great Ormond Street, Manchester, Sheffield and Edinburgh NHS hospitals and trusts, as well as those shielding for health reasons and generally social-distancing. Participants have reported a boost to their overall sense of wellbeing and said they felt less isolated as a result of being involved in the programme, in addition to learning new creative writing skills.
The Writing for Wellbeing programme is led by PhD candidate Bernadette McBride and Dr Sam Solnick, using research and featuring appearances from academics and writers connected to the University of Liverpool’s Literature and Science Hub and Centre for New and International Writing.
The project was based on a Writing for Wellbeing programme that McBride and Solnick were running at the ‘Life Rooms at the Playhouse Project’ (https://www.liferooms.org/centres/the-life-rooms-at-the-playhouse-theatre/): an initiative between NHS Mersey Care and Everyman and Playhouse Theatres. Once lockdown began, McBride and Solnick then began to make the ‘Writing for Wellbeing’ creative-writing videos online instead opening it up to key workers and those shielding and self-isolating. McBride has previously worked with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital leading a 12-week Writing for Wellbeing course for staff in 2019. She also won the Liverpool Guild award for the ‘Biggest Impact on the City of Liverpool’ for her work championing arts for health projects in the city.
And now, after three months of lockdown, the course organizers are working with all those who have sent in poetry and prose in response to the course to produce a ‘Writing for Wellbeing’ anthology, which will be published later this summer. All proceeds will go to NHS charities in the Merseyside area.
The anthology is still open for submissions until Friday 17th July 5pm. Anyone can submit as long as their writing responds in some way to one of the course videos on the Writing for Wellbeing website. All of the course materials are still available to view with guidelines on submitting to the anthology here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/literature-and-science/wellbeing/anthology/.
Each week of the course had a different theme producing creative writing from varied lockdown subjects from “Hope and Reimagined Futures” to “Voicing Vulnerability.” Participants send their writing in and get personalized feedback and tips from the University’s English department.
Work produced throughout the course has been shared via the Literature and Science Hub twitter account @LitSciHub