Writing East Midlands three-year project, The Elder Tree aims will empower groups of older people across the East Midlands to create new work stimulated by museums, archives, heritage spaces, and professional writers. Activity will include story-telling, reminiscence writing, poetry, group reading and role-play, and embody an ethos of celebration and fun. As part of Writing East Midlands wider interest in evidencing how literature can make social change, The Elder Tree, will evaluate ‘how participating in creative writing activity affect feelings of social isolation and wellbeing in older people’ and inform our, and our partner’s, future work.
The project aims to address issues of social isolation and wellbeing in older people, encouraging them to join in group activities focused around arts and culture. It will encourage participants across the region to take inspiration from museums, archives, heritage spaces and professional writers, and create new work in response to them. Elder Tree will consist of a total of 12 Writing Residencies throughout the region and will aim to embody an ethos of celebration, encouraging older people to join in group activities such as story-telling and reading.
There are 12 positions available in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, rural parts of Lincolnshire, Corby and Leicester.
Writing East Midlands seeks a number of ‘lead’ writers to work in residence at each Elder Tree residency location. The lead writer will:
• Plan and facilitate up to 10 two hour workshops with the chosen group of older people. The workshops are hoped to be playful, participatory and focus on creative writing, storytelling, poetry, memoir writing, reading and role play and other areas of interest as decided by the groups themselves. They will embody an ethos of celebration, inclusion, breaking down possible feelings of isolation and writing for health and wellbeing purposes and will also use paired museums / heritage properties as a springboard for creativity.
• Work with and accompany the group to a linked museum as a trip to be used as a spring board for creativity, ideas and reminiscence or used created ‘memory boxes’ loaned from linked museums.
• Be responsive and sensitive to the group and individual members interests and needs, and be open in their workshop and sharing approach
• Be instrumental in collating evaluative data on the group’s experience, and also track their own process through the creative project. The lead writer will support a uniform evaluative framework which they will be able to engage with and shape.
• Collate workshop examples and schemes of work to be included in a project toolkit.
• Work with a shadow writer and project partners to deliver the workshops and collate qualitive and quantitate data through the process
• Collate suitable work from the workshops into a creative output celebrating the work created throughout the project by chosen participants, such output could be an anthology, podcast or radio sharing etc, but is to be agreed with the group participants
• Potentially work with the group on performance skills or a public sharing of the work produced.
It is envisaged that this position will require a time commitment of one session per week (2 hours each) of up to 10 sessions, though these sessions could be taken fortnightly depending on the host venue’s needs. There is also the allowance for one Planning Day, and all successful applicants who have taken part in the Elder Tree associated training days will get this reimbursed upon project commencement. There is flexibility around timescales due to the requirements of the lead writer and the partner groups, but it is envisioned that the project will have a staggered start from 2019.
A fee of up to £2100 is available for the planning and delivery of residency workshops (£175 per workshop for up to 10 workshops, plus one planning day and one editing day).
Should the successful applicant have taken part in the Elder Tree associated training workshops, an extra fee of up to £350 is available, (£175 will be awarded per workshop attended, there are two workshops programmed in October 2018).
Additional travel expenses are available.