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8 minutes reading time (1622 words)

Lapidus Day 2015

Lapidus Day 2015

The national Lapidus day conference took place in Cardiff on Saturday 14 March 2015.  

Cardiff University

Cardiff Metropolitan University, Llandaff Campus


Click here for the Lapidus Day Programme

Our keynote speakers were Professor Jeff Wallace, Professor of English and Creative Writing, at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Fiona Hamilton. Jeff talked about the journey leading to his interest in therapeutic writing; Fiona explored the writing process that led to her book Bite Sized - a story in verse, about a mother's perspective on her child's eating disorder. 

Jeff Wallace is Professor of English at Cardiff Metropolitan University. He is the author of Beginning Modernism (2011) and D. H. Lawrence, Science and the Posthuman (2005), and the editor of books on Darwin's Origin of Species, Raymond Williams and Gothic Modernism. He is a specialist in the study of literature and science. 


Workshop Sessions

Creativity and Wellbeing in Wales

An interactive presentation and practical workshop session with Louise Richards, outreach manager Literature Wales; Sarah Goodey, Arts Development Manager Gwent Arts in Health and poet, Mike Church. The session explores how creativity engages and supports individuals to express themselves and celebrate their unique presence in society. 

Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes: Work or Play? led by Kate Pawsey

An opportunity for adults to play, while remaining clothed and sober. Kate will examine the conditions creative writing for therapeutic purposes provides for adults to enter a creative play state and why this is important, both for those of us who may have missed out on opportunities to develop through play in childhood, and for those who are play-deprived as adults. 

As a writer, former Forest School Practitioner, and intermittent musician, Kate's interest in play and creative writing for therapeutic purposes has developed through her appreciation of the play state in children, while improvising music with others, and when writing alone. 

I am the Horizon: Women's Voices from Inside led by Angela France

This will be an interactive presentation reflecting on the process the women embarked upon as part of the Forgiveness Project and Infobuzz collaboration with women serving at HMP Eastwood Park. Angela will be joined in the presentation by Forgiveness Project facilitators/speakers: Marian Partington, Ruth Chitty and Sandra Barefoot. 

The Truth and Lies of Writing led by Monica Suswin

Monica will read from her book ms: Truth, Shadows, Reflections - Creative Therapeutic Writing on her experiences of serious mental illnesses.  She will explain how she has explored the aftermath of clinical depressive episodes with many different forms of writing, which helped to heal and transform the memories.  Yet in her last illness (2009), she felt her writing had lied to her. This reading will uncover the truth and lies of Monica’s writing and she will be happy to take questions and enter discussion.

Monica Suswin has contributed to the Jessica Kingsley Anthologies on therapeutic writing and runs creative therapeutic writing workshops in her Cabin on the Hill ( She writes a blog on the many ways she has used explorative and expressive writing based on her book Monica lives in Sussex where she offers a studio retreat for women writers.

Lapidus Research Group led by Victoria Field & Kate McBarron

This workshop is intended for anyone who is currently engaged in research into any aspect of expressive writing, poetry therapy or bibliotherapy and would like to explore the possibilities for using Lapidus as an umbrella for bringing people and ideas together. Participants will be invited to talk about their work and to share any research or evaluation they have undertaken. We will look at areas of common ground and the kinds of questions that are being asked. Finally, we will make suggestions for how Lapidus can support the development of research, its dissemination and use as an evidence base. 

Victoria Field is currently Treasurer of Lapidus.  She trained as a poetry therapist with the International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy and has a long-standing interest in evaluation and research questions. She blogs at

Kate McBarron is currently co-coordinator for Lapidus London. Having spent the last ten years working in the world of marketing, she has been retraining recently as a writing for wellbeing practitioner. She is now in her dissertation year on the Metanoia Institute Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes MSc.

Playdough, Drawing and the Six-Part Story led by Barbara Bloomfield

This workshop will show you how to extend your repertoire in writing for health, using other media in conjunction with writing. Because we THINK and DRAW faster than we can WRITE, I've noticed that drawing can fool the limiting and gatekeeping effects of our frontal lobes on our writing (if this sounds technical, it's not! I'll explain a little more on the day). Using drawing and then reflecting on our drawings by taking time and space for free writing can be a rich experience. I also believe that using all our senses, especially touch, adds a new dimension to our personal development.

This exercise is one I have used with groups, couples and families as well as in counsellor training and it is always lively and popular as well as fun and enlightening. It calls on theories of 'externalising the problem' that originate with systemic family therapy and, in particular, with the Dulwich School of narrative therapy in Adelaide, Australia.

Barbara Bloomfield is Counselling Supervisor at Relate Avon and is a national spokesperson for Relate. She used to teach creative writing at Bath Spa University where she took her Master's in creative writing. She has written several books including The Relate Guide to Finding Love, The Enemy Within, The Mature Guide to Love, Sex and Relationships and a graphic novel, Couple Therapy: Dramas of Love and Sex.

Applied Therapeutic Hip Hop led by Kiz

We will explore Hip Hop as a healing tool by experiencing a range of tried-and-tested therapeutic creative writing techniques for application within: mental health, youth and prison services.

A whistle-stop tour pitching Hip Hop within the Social Sciences, you will leave with a Post-Modern theoretical framework within which to hinge your work in and a detailed Bibliography for you to conduct further research of your own.


1) briefly explore the therapeutic potential of Hip Hop

2) make links between Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes (CWFTP), Hip Hop Therapy and work in the community.

Kiran (Kiz) Bangerh's sister died in 2001 and following her death, Kiz experienced a writer's block that lasted 10 years, ending with her father's death. A final year student on Metanoia's MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, she currently works as poet in residence for 300 Voices; a mental health project in Birmingham.

Soul making:  the poetic image emerging led by Steve Thorp

Soul Making is a new way of thinking about therapy, healing and adult development - an imaginative and creative process by which we make ourselves whole. In this workshop and conversation, Steve will introduce some ideas and practices of soul making. He will highlight ways his conversation partners and clients use creative writing – through blogs, poetry and journalling – to touch on the poetic images that act as symbols of individual, collective and ecological soul.

Steve Thorp is an independent integral practioner and poet. He trained as a psychotherapist at Metanoia Institute and more recently, with the Spiritual Companions Trust. He runs the Soul Makers Network, and is the author of a number of poetry pamphlets and a new book - ‘Soul Manifestos and Pieces of Joy’. His website is

Readings and Open Mic

Poets and long-standing Lapidus members and practitioners, Graham Hartill and Sylvia Perry will read from their work and host an open mic for delegates to share a poem, story or song.  Time will be limited to a strict maximum of 5 minutes – so please rehearse!  You are welcome to sign up in advance or, if space allows on the day, by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with Open Mic in the subject line.

Graham Hartill teaches on the MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes for the Metanoia Institute, is a writer in residence at HMP Parc and was the first writer in residence in Swansea College of Medicine. With Victoria Field he has co-hosted the popular Writing in Health and Social Care course at Ty Newydd for eight years. His latest collection is called Chroma, of which Giles Goodland wrote in Poetry Wales: (his poetry is) companionable. tentative, inviting dialogue…a gentle probing honesty …carefully claused, mindful, interested in resistances. Poems to re-read many times. 

Sylvia Perry is a poet of the over-looked moment - of the delicacy and nuance in the ordinary and everyday. She writes with clarity, her words chiming small events, understanding and marking beauty or emotional response. Her hospital sequence is unguarded and utterly plain - and should be on the syllabus of every medical student and NHS manager - offering a heartfelt and accurate account of life in a ward (Rose Flint).  She is Director of Brecon Mind which runs an open door centre that is open every day of the year, and she has an interest in mental health issues in particular. 

Book Raffle

All delegates will be entered into a raffle for donated books relevant to writing for health and wellbeing.  

Rachel Kelly has kindly donated a few copies of her memoir 'Black Rainbow' to us in which she describes how poetry helped her recover from depression. All Rachel's author proceeds go to the mental health charities SANE and United Response.

Lapidus Research Day, July 2015
Review – Crown of Thorns by Bethany W Pope
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