A new project with an award-winning poet based at Trafford General Hospital will support health workers to tell their NHS stories in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NHS this year.
Untold Stories of the NHS, led by Manchester Metropolitan University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), aims to celebrate the contribution to care of current and former NHS workers, reflecting on their working lives within the organisation and telling their stories through creative writing.
The project is partnered by Lime Arts, the arts and health team at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, Dr Kim Moore, who recently won the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry Best Collection award, will be placed as a Writer in Residence at Trafford General Hospital, the first NHS hospital to be opened in 1948 by then Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan.
While Windrush NHS Stories, a parallel strand of the Untold Stories project, will see Manchester City of Literature Community Champion Jackie Bailey supporting members of African-Caribbean communities to tell their stories of working lives in the NHS to mark the 75th anniversary this year of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in Britain.
Dr Kim Moore, Lecturer in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “At a time of both celebration and challenge for the NHS, now more than ever it feels important to create a space where staff can produce their own writing and share their stories and ideas. I’m really excited to get started on the project and looking forward to speaking to staff from across a wide range of roles at Trafford Hospital.”
During the residency, Dr Moore will be based at Bevan’s Restaurant, the staff canteen at Trafford General Hospital, one day a week until April 2023. Each week Dr Moore will listen to stories from NHS staff and run a series of creative writing workshops to help inspire staff to pen their own stories.
Dr Moore will produce an original piece of creative work responding to her residency at Trafford General Hospital which will be released during the week of the NHS’s 75th anniversary on 5 July 2023.
The project will culminate in an exhibition and published anthology of creative writing produced by NHS staff, curated by Dr Moore. The exhibition will begin with a launch event during the week of the anniversary at the Manchester Poetry Library and will run until September 2023.
It is included as part of Lime’s participatory arts programme, working with patients and staff using creative interventions for wellbeing, which is expanding into Trafford, Wythenshawe and North Manchester hospital sites over the next eighteen months.
Untold Stories of the NHS is led by Professor Jess Edwards, Head of English at Manchester Metropolitan, and will be delivered in partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), MFT’s arts for health organisation Lime Arts, Health Education England, and Manchester UNESCO City of Literature.
Dawn Prescott, Programme Director at Lime said: “It is great to be working with Kim on this project and bringing her onto the hospital site. We are looking forward to an exciting creative partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University and the writer in residence, as well as working on future Lime projects with the fantastic staff at Trafford General.”
Dr Moore will also use the hospital library as a base and working with librarian Michelle Dutton, will develop resources to support staff wellbeing and through the addition of new books, inspire staff with their creative writing.
For Windrush NHS Stories, a series of workshops with participants will help shape these stories which will be anthologised and shared as part of the Manchester Festival of Libraries in June and featured in Manchester Poetry Library’s Summer exhibition.
The project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The AHRC award to Manchester Metropolitan University for the Untold Stories of the NHS project is £39,000.
Throughout 2023 the AHRC is supporting two other Untold Stories projects to mark 75 years of the NHS, including:
- Untold film stories: a collaboration with the BFI where three emerging filmmakers will receive funding to create high-impact films, that will be released in November 2023, inspired the NHS on Film archive.
- New Thinking Podcast: a mini season of podcasts will be released via BBC Sounds in summer 2023 as part of an ongoing partnership between AHRC and BBC Radio 3.
About the Arts and Humanities Research Council
The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, funds internationally outstanding research across all arts and humanities. This includes research which supports important UK economic sectors such as the creative and digital industries, creative practice and arts in all its forms. Our research also explores complex social and cultural issues that underpin our understanding of our interaction with society, ourselves and the natural world. We invest in research which places humanity at the heart of today’s biggest questions and their answers.
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