What is the Storytelling, Poetry and Campaigning Project?
Our workshops aim to create space for people affected by cancer, especially those underserved because of ethnicity or postcode, to share their stories and affect positive change to cancer care services.
Storytelling is one the most powerful tools we can use to achieve this. That is why Well Versed Ink and Macmillan Cancer Support have partnered to address health inequalities in London, using poetry and storytelling to provide the tools for seldom heard groups to access decision makers and budget holders for a better cancer service.
How does it work?
How often are the workshops?
Once a week for two hours over a period of eight weeks.
Who can take part?
The project is currently open to people who live in London and have:
been diagnosed with cancer within the last 5 years or are still undergoing treatment
faced challenges or issues accessing cancer services or with health professionals due to postcode or ethnicity
We also have limited spaces for carers of people with cancer. We hope to roll this project out more widely in the future to raise the voices of others too.
How do you attend?
Workshops take place online. You will need to have access to a computer or a tablet with an internet connection. We offer support with using video software if you haven’t used it before.
What happens in the workshops?
We spend the first session getting to know each other. We'll talk about stories - the power they hold and their importance. We'll also talk about communities and what we get from feeling part of them. Then, we'll share our stories in pairs or groups.
Over the eight weeks, we'll support you to write your story using poetry and other writing techniques. We'll explore themes around 'personal and community power', institutional racism, sharing of our ‘gifts’, perceptions and unconscious bias. We will also create ideas on how we can use our stories to influence change in health care practice - starting locally.
By the end of the eight weeks, we'll have created a 'toolkit for change' which will be available online to guide others on how to make their voices heard. The toolkit will also act as a guide for health professionals on how they may be able to develop their services by listening to the communities they serve.
Who runs the workshops?
The workshops are co-hosted by Poet and Community Builder, Darren Randon from Well Versed Ink and Paul Macey from Croydon Social P.
Do I need previous experience of writing?
No. You will be guided through ways of how to write your story in your own way.
Will I have to run a campaign?
No. The word 'campaigning' can sound intimidating to some of us, as we think of marches, megaphones and media. It doesn't have to be like that at all.
Campaigning can look like a conversation over coffee exchanging experiences and finding common ground to move forward. It can look like retweeting an important message. It can look like sharing resources you find online. Whichever way you feel is best for you, is best.
Who will be able to access my story?
The workshop facilitators - Darren and Paul - along with Macmillan staff and health professionals to help affect change.
When do the workshops begin?
Workshops begun in January 2021 and we have now ended.
How do I sign up?
Sign up is now closed but we hope to be able to run this project in other parts of the UK to capture the unique needs of your area. If you are interested in staying up-to-date with this project and others we do, please join our mailing list below.