Adelaide is the best smelling city I’ve ever been to. Surrounded by parklands, the waft of grass and floral scents is everywhere. it might be the 100+ acre botanic garden, too, or just that everyone plants lavender or something. Hurrah, it is lovely.
Although I’m mainly looking into good models for the use of literature with elders, I’m also considering the type of training writers might need to undertake this kind of work, and am discussing this with funders and arts organisations, writers and advocates for older people. The person I’ve learned most from on this topic is David Chappell, originally from Cumbria, now Writer Development Manager at SA Writers’ Centre. His experience is in running writing sessions and creating collaborative literature projects. My favourite topic of the moment. So we had a lot to talk about.
In his role, David works at Flinders Medical Centre on the dementia ward, with older people in various settings, and also vulnerable groups such as individuals who are homeless, in a partnership with the Big Issue. Because of the demand for this kind of work, he’s now considering setting up an apprenticeship programme to help writers work in the community.
David’s top tips for writers wanting to work in this area include being flexible, and able to take the temperature of the room; being human and able to connect with people; being responsive to the group; being a good listener; being direct and serious; and keeping open and honest, being able to show your intentions.