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Poetry workshops in York will explore the impact of ill health

Posted on 26 February 2014

The University of York is to host a series of hands-on reading and poetry workshops to explore the way we talk, think and write about ill health.

Peter Sansom (credit: Charlie Hedley)

These stimulating and free two and a half hour workshops will be led by poet Peter Sansom, described as "the best poetry teacher in the world” by SiânHughes in The Guardian.

Developed as part of a University of York and Wellcome Trust funded project, Order, Chaos and Chronic Illness, the workshops aim to use poetry as a way of exploring the impact of chronic illness.

Project Officer in the University of York’s Department of Health Sciences, Richard Morley said: “If you are a member of the public affected by chronic illness, as a patient or carer, healthcare worker or researcher, you are warmly invited to join one of our ten poetry reading and writing workshops running in York from April to June 2014. If you can’t make it to a workshop you can take part online too.”

Poets Simon Armitage, Gillian Clarke, Ian McMillan and Blake Morrison will visit York for two major events on 17 and 19 June 2014 during the York Festival of Ideas. They will read from their own work and discuss issues related to the theme of order, chaos and chronic illness.

Mary Madden, Lecturer in Applied Health, School of Healthcare, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds said: “With the involvement of major poets, members of the public, health professionals and researchers, the project will explore whether poetry can open a different window on communication about the lived experience of chronic illness and the impact of research into chronic Illness.”

Professor Karl Atkin, Deputy Head of Department (Research) based in the Department of Health Sciences, University of York said “This project is an important part of the Department’s research strategy and its commitment to innovative and creative work that makes a difference to people’s lives.”

For further information or to book your place contact Richard Morley on 01904 321105 or email Follow the project on Twitter by searching for @poetryillness or visit

Notes to editors:

  • Order, Chaos and Chronic Illness is an interdisciplinary collaboration between the University of York, the University of Leeds, Yorkshire-based literature organisation The Poetry Business, and INVOLVE, the national advisory group supporting greater public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research.
  • For more information on the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York visit
  • This project is funded by C2D2, a University of York 'virtual centre' for coordinating, promoting, supporting and maximising the benefit of interdisciplinary research and research-linked activities in the area of chronic diseases and disorders. C2D2 is financially supported by the Wellcome Trust.  More information can be found at
  • The York Festival of Ideas is among the north of England’s premiere artistic, literary and cultural festivals. Now in its fourth year, the Festival attracts an international audience of 50,000 people of all ages and backgrounds. With over 100 events, it is a rich celebration of intellectual and creative vitality that will take our audiences on a journey to explore some of the world’s most challenging questions.  In an increasingly virtual world, the Festival gives a very real opportunity to share ideas face to face, and to feel the adrenalin of heated live debate. Every year it brings together a range of high-profile writers, performers, scientists, philosophers, artists, archaeologists, musicians, historians, psychologists, politicians, doctors, peace activists, lawyers and more who will take part in debates, talks, interactive sessions and cultural events. For 2014, we are delighted to include Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Horowitz and Charlie Higson. The Festival runs from 12-22 June.

Contact details

David Garner
Senior Press Officer

Tel: +44 (0)1904 322153

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