Lapidus Chair: Clare Scott is a writer in Wales who has been focusing on psychogeography and our relationship with the natural landscape as part of her Creative Writing PhD. She has an MA in Creative Writing and has been writer in residence for a National Trust venue. Her career has included work as an educational specialist (autism), social work and sexual health.
She has trained in counselling and is a poetry therapist in training with iaPOETRY, delivering writing for well-being with community organisations and individuals. She has coordinated learning support provision (including the mental-health service) at a University, developing projects, monitoring and evaluating the service and setting up a conference.
Lapidus Treasurer: Liz Ottosson is a writer and translator who has lived in Sweden and Australia as well as London, but is gradually making her way home to her northern English roots. Her stories focus on connection and memory, both lost and found, and have been published in various anthologies. In 2016 her flash fiction, “Grace”, about Grace Darling, won the Segora International Vignette Competition.
Other passions include music, although her music taste is mainly stuck in the 1990s. She is a firm believer in the power of music and words to heal many wounds and inspire new ways of living in our alienating, crowded and divided modern era.
Director of Research: Simon Poole- As a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Children's Services I lecture across the arts and am deeply concerned with cultural education.
More specifically I have lectured at a number of institutions on Music Practice, and also Music Technology as a discrete subject, but also within the context of education; due in the main to my experiences within the Music industry as a singer, songwriter, producer and record label owner (soil records), and of course my time as a Primary and Early Years teacher. In all, I have been song writing, singing, recording and releasing music for 25 years; I’ve now written a total of 7 albums and as a loose kite I'm still writing today.
Director of Groups: Barbara Bloomfield has been a couples and family counsellor and supervisor for more than 20 years. Before that, she had a career as a journalist in newspapers and the BBC. She has worked in China and Central America as a foreign correspondent for radio stations and has written four books about relationships. She taught creative writing part time at Bath Spa University and this year was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to work with couples and families affected by autism, in Brisbane, Australia.
Barbara enjoys being the Lapidus Director of Groups and hopes to meet more Lapidus members on her travels this year. She is always inspired by the creativity and variety of our work and by our practitioners and their many ways of bringing together creativity and mental health. She runs creativity groups in Bristol and all over the UK. www.barbarabloomfield.com
Director of Community: When her sister Promila died in 2000, Kiz Bangerh experienced the power of expressive writing to heal grief and trauma. A graduate of Metanoia’s Masters in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, she currently facilitates writing for wellbeing with: offenders, homeless people and those experiencing poor mental health. Having researched Rap’s therapeutic potential for her thesis, in 2012 she founded Hip Hop HEALS - a project that promotes Hip Hop’s healing powers within the helping professions. During her previous career, Kiz taught English and Drama at secondary level before moving on to education and outreach in the cultural sector. She still tutors Looked After Children today and works freelance as a supply teacher in her spare time.
Director of Story: Charmaine Pollard is a counsellor, life coach and certified poetry therapist. She completed her poetry therapy qualification with the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, USA under the brilliant supervision and mentorship of Victoria Field. Charmaine has facilitated poetry therapy groups in schools, colleges, prisons, clinical settings and the wider community. Her groups are based on reading poetry, discussing it and writing in response, in order to promote health and wellbeing. As director of story, Charmaine will enable writing practitioners to develop a much safer and more supportive environment. The aim is to ensure that all writing group participants can write safely, reassured by the knowledge that their stories will be heard and acknowledged appropriately by group leaders/facilitators who are trauma-informed.
Secretary: Jeannie Wright has been a member of Lapidus almost since its beginnings. Now in a Lapidus group based in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, we identify with Robin Hood. She has taught and researched in several universities and practised writing for wellbeing in community agencies internationally. She has been a reviewer and editorial board member of journals mostly connected to talking therapies and is delighted to be part of the new Lapidus journal, LIRIC. Reflective writing in counselling and psychotherapy’ is now in a 2nd edition with Sage. Editing books like ‘Writing Cures’ and producing other publications that show how fantastically useful creative writing is will continue and she is now writing more poetry and fiction.
Director of Scotland: Francis Ainsle is a creative writer, poet, and facilitator, who lives in central Scotland, and is a Lapidus Scotland Committee member. She volunteers with a number of charities who deliver words for wellbeing through reading and writing. Her perfect day would be spent outside in nature weaving words, with a notebook and pencil for company.
Words for Wellbeing Specialist – Francesca Baker is a word lover passionate about creativity, connection and communication. She uses her journalism, marketing and research experience to help Lapidus connect with individuals and organisations. You can read more at www.andsoshethinks.co.uk