‘The Submerged Body’ – free nature writing workshop available online now

A screenshot from the workshop showing a prompt slide and Jane Hartshorn

Chronic Illness Inclusion was proud to team up with the Moving Mountains project to host a free online nature writing workshop led by poet Jane Hartshorn this month.

Supported by The Wren Project, the workshop received over 160 signups and saw attendees led through a series of thoughtful writing prompts, aiming to explore how writing about water can help us explore the experience of living in a sick body.

Jane Hartshorn drew on her PhD research at the University of Kent to highlight writers such as Abi Palmer, Nan Shepherd and Elizabeth Jane Burnett, and folklore such as the selkie myth, moving away from traditional religious ideas of water as curative, or capable of bringing about instant salvation, and towards water’s ability to generate more complex understandings of the body and its transformations, more suitable for those of us living with fluctuating chronic illness.

The workshop was funded by Arts Council England, part of a series of workshops run by writer and artist Louise Kenward as part of her project Moving Mountains, which will also see the publication of an anthology of nature writing by sick and disabled writers.

The Submerged Body: Writing Water and Illness, can now be viewed below and on YouTube with full subtitles.

Louise Kenward is writer in residence at Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, and invited those who enjoyed the workshop to sign up for the Rye Harbour newsletter, which also aims to support chronically ill and disabled people in connecting with nature.

The Wren Project, which offers free listening support to people with autoimmune conditions, invited attendees to join another online free event next month, a participatory theatre project exploring the difficult question ‘How Are You?’.