Jean has had a busy winter working on several new projects and in various schools (click here for a report on her poetry workshop day in The Grange School, Monmouth). ‘In woods we forget things, at the wood edge we tell stories‘was a project funded by Shropshire Hills AONB and Shropshire Housing Group. This project took three different groups of children and young people, and enabled them to write site-specific poetry in three different native woodlands.
Jean teaches for The Poetry School and on the Learning and Participation programme at The Hurst for Arvon. She is also working on Impressions of the Past, a community arts project about Shropshire’s Iron Age hillforts, in collaboration with clay artist Ruth Gibson, and Two Sides of the Severn, with Wenlock Poetry Festival.
She is Poet in Residence for Hargate Primary School, West Bromwich, and regularly visits the school to enjoy poems, read poems and make poems with all age groups.
She also continues to work regularly in nursing homes and day centres with elderly people, making poetry, often with those living with dementia, and has led on a project for Telford Culture Zone, Songs of the Trees, which is aimed at providing creative opportunities and reducing isolation for older people in Telford. Jean also leads the Spark Young Writers group at Telford, which meets once a month and is managed by Writing West Midlands.
In 2015 Jean worked on ‘Five Sites, Five Senses‘, a project with partners Shropshire Hills AONB, Woods for Wellbeing, Loudwater Studio and Vision Homes Association for people with multiple disabilities. Jean wrote poetry with and for these people and their carers during visits into the Shropshire Hills. As Poet in Residence at Wenlock Poetry Festival 2015-16 Jean ran workshops and took part in readings and events. From October 2014 to March 2015 she was Reader in Residence at the new Southwater Library in Telford, through West Midlands Readers Network. She was Poet in Residence for Acton Scott Historic Working Farm in Shropshire for 4 months in summer 2014, funded by Arts Council England. She was Poet in Residence at Logan Botanic Garden in August 2013 for the Scottish Poetry Library’s project Walking With Poets
In May 2013 she also developed and completed ‘Poetry Partners’ a month of intergenerational poetry celebration of the Woods of Cree, working with a primary school and a day centre.
Jean has also been Poet in Residence for Dumfries & Galloway Science Festival, and worked with National Scenic Areas Dumfries & Galloway on the year-long ‘Viewpoint Voices’ project with groups of different ages on the Solway coast, walking and writing short poems with them, which were spoken by the participants and posted online as short videos.
From 2013 to 2015 she was one of a team of poets mentored by John Killick with In The Pink, an award-winning project using poetry to work with people living with dementia in Herefordshire.
On the first Tuesday of every other month, Jean organises The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room in Ludlow – a popular open mic night with guest poets.