Finalist 2021

Michéle Beck

2021 Runner-up

Michéle works with adults of all levels, teaching Creative Writing as a tool for people to articulate and understand their feelings. Michele’s teaching is tailored to each individual and provides learners with a platform to express themselves through poetry, creative writing and open mic nights.

Many of the learners I work with have been struggling with mental health issues or are recovering from addictions. I adapt my creative writing sessions to match each learner’s level and needs, whether it’s getting to grips with reading and writing or developing a personal style.

I encourage participants to work towards something like producing a booklet, contributing to a poetry anthology or taking part in an open mic night, to create markers of how far they’ve come. I’ve seen how through pushing themselves and then recognising their success, learners’ confidence soars.

I’ve personally always used writing to make sense of my own emotions and to cope with mental health and wanted to show that rather than being an elite or middle-class pastime, it could be enjoyed by everyone and could help to increase well-being amongst some of the most marginalised groups in society.

The impact of the classes has extended far beyond the classroom walls – many of the learners have improved their coping mechanisms and ability to navigate stressful situations in their personal lives.

Although it’s hard to find time, I know that continuing my own learning will help my writing and teaching to develop and will show my groups that learning is for everyone. I’m currently doing an MSc in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes, which I hope to take on to a PhD one day.

One of Michele’s learners said: “In Michéle’s class I can safely share my thoughts and feelings. My writing has come on leaps and bounds and I’ve entered two national poetry competitions, which I never would have had the confidence to do without Michéle’s guidance and support. I’m also relying on medical emergency and mental health crisis services much less often.”