Creative writing facilitator for a workshop about an experimental psychiatric community. “a dreamer lives for reality”, On the Record

Full details  

Deadline: Mon 11 Jul 2022

On the Record is recognised nationally and internationally for our role in co-producing public art and history projects outside of museums and galleries. We are currently seeking a published author or poet to co-facilitate a creative writing session using source material from an experimental psychiatric community, called The Cassel Hospital.

Title: a dreamer lives for reality: social psychiatry at the science gallery
Venue: Science Gallery
Date: 2nd November 2022. 2.00pm-4.00pm
Who you’ll be working with: Laura Mitchison, an experienced oral historian, creative producer, currently undertaking a project at The Cassel Hospital in Richmond.

Theme for the workshop: The Cassel Hospital (1921- present) was established to deal with the psychological casualties of the first world war. It focused on women and families whose war trauma was neglected elsewhere. The Cassel pioneered a model of treatment called the ‘therapeutic community’ that has since been adopted all over the world. Instead of treating patients as passively sick, patients take active responsibility for running the hospital and supporting each other’s treatment in an open democratic atmosphere.

Laura and the past patients have uncovered some fascinating archival material. This includes: anonymised correspondence about patients by Dr Tom Main (an extraordinary writer) and by Maurice Craig (Virginia Woolf’s psychiatrist), creative writing and patients’ constitutions authored by former patients, archival film of patients and families undergoing treatment.

Person specification:
• A professionally published or recognised author / writer in any form.
• substantial and proven experience facilitating workshops with new writers and vulnerable participants
• Awareness of trauma-informed facilitation
• Experienced with mental health groups and / or themes
• Able to work creatively with archival sources and to facilitate others to do so
• Available on 2nd November 2022, or at least one other Wednesday afternoon or Saturday afternoon in November
• Able to provide testimonials or references.

We are keen to hear from applicants with lived experience of mental health difficulties, as service users and carers. We are also keen to hear from people from Black, Asian, LGBT+ and other groups who face healthcare inequalities.

Fee: £500 (set by the Science Gallery’s budget). Laura will take responsibility for publicising and administering workshop bookings.

To apply: Please send a CV and a brief covering email outlining how you would approach devising creative-writing workshops based on sensitive archive material to:

Please also address all the points in the person specification.

Beyond this, there is a chance to get involved on longer-term work in an exciting new project, working with The Cassel’s archives.

Deadline: July 11th 2022

Three shortlisted candidates will be asked to an informal discussion over an initial telephone call (up to 50 mins). The date for this interview is provisionally set for July 13th.

More about On the Record
We specialise in oral history and co-production, and we’re run on co-operative principles
Recent works include:
• Permanent public commissions for 47-49 Huntley Street, Speakers’ Corner and Brompton cemetery (co-produced with nurses, received mayoral recognition) (a youth led archive resource and sound art commission for Housmans Bookshop) 

Winners of the women’s community history prize (2020) and Sound Walk September (2020) – an international sound arts award. Winners of the London Community Story award (2021). Our work has been shown in numerous film festivals and international conferences on sound art, public art, and oral history.



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