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Lapidus News

Words, wellness and writing!

Therapeutic Writing with the Five Senses

Therapeutic Writing with the Five Senses

 Saturday, July 11th, 11.00am – 12.30pm



Our awareness seems to have been heightened in recent months and a hyper-sensitivity to our encounter with our environment has been described by many. 

As we seek to hold a fragile balance in uncertain times, the use of our five senses may be significant and supportive. This online workshop is designed to for enjoyment, using verbal expression and writing as we focus on our interaction with the world and explore our emotions in relation to our sensory experiences.

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The Importance of Nature Time


*Look up*

A few years ago, on a trip to London, I met a woman named Clare. She runs a project called Urban Curiosity. We ordered lattes and deliciously buttery breakfast treats, and I asked her, “What’s this project all about?”

It’s pretty simple. Mainly, she leads people on walking tours throughout the city of London. People wander through different neighborhoods, and through beautiful green parks, noticing the trees, noticing the sky, the clouds, the pets, the people. The only rule is that you have to put away your phone. No photos. No videos. No texting. Just walk.

“I want to inspire people to look up, not down,” Clare told me.

I remember feeling a rush of energy in my body, almost like my skin was tingling, when Clare said those words. I remember thinking, Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes.

I watched a short film about a man who set up a high-powered telescope on a random sidewalk in Los Angeles and invited strangers to peek inside and look at the moon. It’s incredible how each person—all ages, all kinds of people—react in the same way. “Oh my god. Wow. Just…oh my God.” The filmmaker concludes this tiny, 3-minute film by saying:

“We should look up more often.”

Imagine if we looked up into the sky, and into people’s eyes, as often as we look down at our phones. Imagine the difference it would make. We would all walk around shimmering, awestruck, grateful, just one big collective WOW.

At least once a week, I have one of those weary, frazzled moments when my to-do list feels never-ending…when my inbox feels frighteningly full…when the quarterly reports come in and the book sales aren’t as high as I thought they would be…when I feel very small and very insignificant. Those are the moments when I feel tempted to dive into a digital device to escape and numb out. Instead, next time, I will try to remind myself:

Look up.

The answer I’m seeking is not down on my laptop screen, or my phone. It’s up. It’s out there. It’s above and beyond. In the trees, the sky, and the stars.

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The Lapidus International Research and Innovation Community Journal is a scholarly, peer-reviewed journal.

Our aim is to foster debate that can support the growing acknowledgement of the written and spoken word in supporting mental and physical health and wellbeing.

We publish articles, essays and reviews by academics, writers and clinical and cultural practitioners from diverse perspectives who use writing in any number of different contexts to this effect.

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Lapidus International to announce change of name


With the start if this new month, we are happy to announce our plans to change Lapidus International's name to a new, improved name: Writey Alrighty.

"We think it's a really cool name," says the chair of Lapidus, Barbara Bloomfield. "It really says what we believe in: that if you write, you'll feel alright." 

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On behalf of the Lapidus Board, and all our colleagues, we would like to wish our members and their families a safe and healthy passage through the coming months. Though Covid19 is putting so many strains on our lives, it is now, more than ever, essential that we share and connect. 
Lapidus will be offering online opportunities to do just that over the spring and summer as we work up online courses to share with you. Any meetings planned in person have been postponed but we will continue to support our members by offering creative ideas for wellness via our Facebook pages (Lapidus Members and Lapidus International) and our website,
We encourage each of you to take the time to write a record of your experiences of this unique historical moment. 
With best wishes,
The Lapidus International Board
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Lapidus Australia has wings!

An inaugural meeting to gauge interest in Brisbane recently resulted in a commitment to form a group currently known as Lapidus Australia. It’s early days for us, with our next meeting to consolidate our plans to be held on 19 March 2020

What can be said so far is that all of us are inspired by our colleagues in the distant north - that would be you Lapidus International, with your spidery connectivity and peer support for practitioners of words for wellbeing in our myriad forms.
In Australia, writing for wellbeing practitioners have tended to be solo operators, with clusters forming friendship/support groups here and there. One such cluster is in Brisbane, the other in Perth. Bridging distances in our vast land will be a challenge for the group, so it is our intention to inspire more localised groups. One step at a time!
We look forward to engaging with our peers on the Lapidus Facebook group - stand by for a rush of antipodean interest.
Anyone interested in attending our next meeting is welcome to get in touch with Stephanie Dale from The Write Road - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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A Words and Wellbeing Retreat – working with ‘the journey’ 2nd - 4th September 2020

Make self-care a priority in your practice. Come to Shropshire for a little magic over three days in a luxurious country house and have the chance to experience the delights of Deborah Alma’s new shop and centre, the Poetry Pharmacy.

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A two-year study into words for wellbeing has concluded that practitioners need new structures for training and supervision in order to work with vulnerable people. The study, commissioned by Lapidus International, suggests that training opportunities are needed in the areas of safety, safeguarding and supervision.

The report, written by Prof. Tony Wall of Chester University and Richard Axtell from Lapidus, argues that ‘transition spaces’ should be created to educate and raise awareness and reflection among practitioners. Prof. Wall said at the launch today (Saturday, 18th January): “There are gaps in knowledge that can be filled in a positive and gradual way. We can put structures in place such as CPD, supervision and recognition of skills and all this will build credibility among leaders of creative groups.”

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Lapidus Links: Pam Blamey

Every month we have a chat with a Lapidus member, and get them to share their words and wellness journey. First up, it’s Pam Blamey.

Tell us about yourself:

I’m a British Colonial Empire girl by birth but not by political persuasion. My father was a New Zealander, my mother was born in Kenya to British parents. I migrated from Kenya to South Africa as a teen and then to Australia with my husband and children in 1981 to escape apartheid. We settled in Brisbane and when my children went to university I did too. I studied Social Science, where I was introduced to Joseph Campbell and Carl Gustav Jung, and later did a Masters in Art Therapy. Before that I had been a nurse and a teacher of English as a second language. At some point my childhood love of fairy tales was re-ignited into a full-blown passion when I read an anthology of tales with a Jungian commentary and I knew I had found my vocation. 


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The Kindergarten Teacher (2018) - A Film Review by A. Hurford

 written & directed: Sara Colangelo - based on a Screenplay by Nadav Lapid

Nadav Lapid, directed a 2014 original, Haganenet. A prizewinner at Cannes. I'd very much like to see that version now. I loved this. A film made with wonderful understanding, beautifully paced, shot, acted - a gem.

Middle aged kindergarten teacher, Mrs Lisa Spinelli (Maggie Gyllenhaal), has a husband and two teenage children. She attends an adult education class on writing poetry. She seems good, practised, and caring at her job. Perhaps so good it's somewhat automatic, even when listening to care and not pushing children too far. She comes alive when playing with them, in a golden light.  In exploring poetry maybe she's reaching for something she needs. We see her write a poem as she goes to class.  But it's judged as dull. She feels snubbed. Though she doesn't work that through fully.  She may be more in tune with her class than this teacher his.

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Connecting Communities

Wellbeing practice through the arts is growing across the world but how many black and brown faces do you see at conferences, at universities and in your sessions? Which poems or writing would attract 'Others'? Why do dementia choirs sing western classics and not reggae?

For those born abroad, and for those with a cultural spectrum encompassing more than Europe, words for wellbeing could connect deeply. I would love to see people from every background represented in our work - especially those who are might not normal seek therapeutic help or who receive inadequate or discriminatory service-provision. I'd like to remind everyone using any kind of art in health practice that the world is an open channel for connection. We just have to tune in our dial to match new frequencies, if we want to welcome everyone in our community to join us. 

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Special Offer from Margate Bookie!

Margate Bookie have a special offer for Lapidus members. On Sunday 23 November at 1pm at Turner Contemporary, Margate, you can apply the science of happiness to creative writing, and join two experts to explore how mindfulness can enhance your storytelling powers.

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A Moment of Kindness - Our Free E-book

A Moment of Kindness Cover

Take a moment to be kind. Be kind to yourself, or to someone else. Write a positive affirmation in your journal. Hug a kitten. Tell someone how great they are. Why not all three?

Then once you've finished doing that, head on over to our store page and download our completely free e-book: A Moment of Kindness.

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A Message from the Chair

This month's newsletter has been a bit of an adventure - madness with Mailchimp causing malicious malfunctions! On top of that, our chair's introduction got lost somewhere in the technological ether. Here is the introduction for you all to read so you don't miss out and we should be back up and running smoothly by next month. Enjoy! - Richard 

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Creative Bridges Conference - a newbie's perspective!

 As someone who is fairly new to this world of words for wellbeing, I was nervous, as well as excited, to be attending the Creative Bridges conference in Bristol this summer. So I appreciated it when the event opened with a reminder from the organisers to look after ourselves.

The emphasis on self-care continued in the opening session, on ‘Finding oneself in a different form’, run by Claire Williamson of Metanoia. In fact I was constantly reminded throughout the weekend of the importance of taking care of ourselves in order to help others – and also reminded that this is not just about setting boundaries and taking baths, but also acknowledging our pain.

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The LIRIC Journal is open for submissions!

Did you know that the Lapidus International Research Innovation Community (LIRIC) Journal is open for submissions until the 31st December 2019?

What is the LIRIC Journal?

The LIRIC journal provides an interdisciplinary space to extend and develop scholarship that explores the relationship of creative writing to health and well-being. Our aim is foster debate that can support the growing acknowledgement of the role of the written and spoken word in supporting mental and physical health and wellbeing.

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From the Desk: Updates, Resources, How-to Guides - oh my!

The more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed that our website has been going through a few updates recently. The biggest change is the introduction of our new resources page - a link can be found to it in the menu bar at the top of the website.

We hope that with the introduction of this page, it will make finding things on our website a little bit simpler. 

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World Mental Health Day 2019 round-up! #WMHD2019


Yesterday was World Mental Health Day 2019. Our outreach coordinator, Francesca, asked members to submit ideas/recommendations/creative prompts around mental health. Below is a round-up of what was provided!

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Back to my Roots - Poetry Inspired by Trees


I went to the Creative Writing group in Avebury today. It was perfect. The room we were in looked over the stones and the local pub. It was a day of sunshine, then showers, then sun again, just in time for our walk! Magic. 

One suggested prompt was from the walk and I was drawn to the well known "trees" and their amazing roots. This was the inspiration for a poem about my childhood.
"The Trees" are very, very old near the Avebury stones. As I stood and looked at them, I was struck by how their roots seemed to be almost above the ground. 
In my head, I heard the words " back to my roots", which took me back to my childhood. These places such as Avebury, Stonehenge and Glastonbury always affect me emotionally.
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Mirror image – an opportunity for cultural practitioners to reflect on wellbeing, organised by the Cultural, Health and Wellbeing Alliance (CHWA)

On Thursday 3rd October I attended a symposium in response to Francesca’s facebook suggestion. As I live in Birmingham, I jumped at booking a ticket, without any expectations other than to enjoy a few hours on reflecting on wellbeing.

Nicola Naismith, author of ‘Artists Practicing Well’ opened the event introducing her research on how practitioners have a responsibility to practice self-care. Even though, there are good practice guidelines helping organisations and freelancers to deliver activities for wellbeing, Nicola has found through her research that there is limited support for practitioner wellbeing.

Nicolas’s report recognizes that the self-care of the practitioner should be a team effort, involving the commissioner, organizational leader, funder, policy maker. This is necessary for practitioners not to feel isolated. See synopsis of report.

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