Untold Stories of the NHS aims to celebrate the contribution to care of current and former NHS workers.
It reflects on their working lives within the organisation and tells their stories through creative writing.
The project is partnered by Lime Arts, the arts and health team at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
A Forward Prize-winning poet
Recent Forward Prize for Poetry winner Dr Kim Moore will work as Writer in Residence at Trafford General Hospital.
Trafford General Hospital was the first NHS hospital to be opened in 1948 by then Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan.
Dr Kim Moore, who is also a 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.
Exploring the NHS through storytelling
During the residency, Dr Moore will:
- hold weekly sessions listening to stories from NHS staff
- 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.
Her work will be released during the week of the NHS’s 75th anniversary on 5 July 2023.
Exhibition and anthology of creative writing
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.
Dr Moore will also work with hospital librarian Michelle Dutton to develop resources to support staff wellbeing and through the addition of new books, inspire staff with their creative writing.
Beneficial for wellbeing
The Untold Stories of the NHS project will contribute to knowledge and understanding of the benefits of creative arts participation on the health and wellbeing of staff working within health and social care.
The project will also explore the benefits of creative writing co-production for staff in a range of roles and from a range of backgrounds.
It will explore their sense of recognition and belonging within the NHS and its 75-year story.
New insights and perspectives
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Head of Public Engagement Mike Collins said:
Since its founding in 1948 staff right across the NHS, from midwives to maintenance teams and from cooks to consultants, have quietly gone about the difficult and important business of keeping people across the UK healthy.
Dr Kim Moore’s residency at the first NHS hospital will help to draw out their all-too-often untold stories, offering new insights and perspectives.
This project will demonstrate power of storytelling to illuminate the lived experiences of those staff, both past and present.
The arts and humanities research we fund will enable us to reflect on the NHS’s past and present with a view to reimagining and reshaping its future.
Windrush and the NHS
Simultaneously, Windrush NHS Stories 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.
A series of workshops will help shape these stories.
They will then be anthologised and shared as part of the Manchester Festival of Libraries in June and featured in Manchester Poetry Library’s summer exhibition.
This will coincide with the 75th anniversary this year of the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush in Britain.
Other 75th anniversary projects
Throughout 2023, AHRC is supporting 2 other Untold Stories projects to mark 75 years of the NHS, including:
- untold film stories: a collaboration with the British Film Institute where 3 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
Top image: Dr Kim Moore, Trafford General Hospital.