People, Places, Life: Creative Writing at M Shed

Ref: C3528066

Join writer and trained facilitator, Caleb Parkin, to be inspired by the Bristol People, Places and Life galleries – and discover writing techniques to explore real and imagined people, places and lives of our own.

Course aim

This course is aiming to engage students in personal and imaginative writing, inspired by M Shed’s exhibits. It will strengthen and enrich people’s engagement with M Shed and other museums’ exhibits as a source of creative inspiration. Students will gain confidence through writing creatively and develop a positive, creative relationship with the group.

Who is the course for?

Anyone with basic reading and writing skills (no qualification needed). M Shed is fully accessible to all floors, exhibits and workshops rooms for wheelchair users or those with a sight impairment.

What topics will this course cover

The M Shed is a treasure trove of objects and exhibits which speak to our identities as Bristolians of all kinds, and human experience. We’ll take these objects as our starting points, engaging with them imaginatively and personally. After spending some time getting to know each other, we’ll get involved in the galleries for two weeks each. In Bristol People, we’ll consider music, and protest and resistance, as our starting points. Exploring Bristol Places, we will look at journeys and travel, as well as the richness of shopping. In the Life gallery, we’ll be inspired by our own and others’ unique (and perhaps peculiar) dining rituals and consider the movement of people, challenging ideas of ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’.

What will it be like?

WEA classes are friendly and supportive. You will be encouraged to work together with your fellow students and tutor. You will be asked to share your ideas and views in the class and work with the group to give and accept feedback in a supportive environment. The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you to be actively involved in your learning. You may be asked to undertake work to support your course outside of your class.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

1. Use a range of different approaches to using objects and artefacts as starting points for writing poetry and short fiction. 2. Connect our experiences to those evoked by the artefacts through writing, and engage in personal and group reflection around the writing which emerges. 3. Express our own creative ideas and personal reflections of M Shed’s collection. 4. Read, discuss and personally reflect on a range of poetry and other texts.

How will I know I'm making progress?

Through an evolving portfolio of work; discussions in the group; personal reflective writing; developmental feedback from tutor if requested and within agreed parameters.

What else do I need to know, do or bring?

Writing paper and pen or pencil. Other materials provided.

Reading and information sources

None required.

What could the course lead to?

The course will hopefully inspire you to do more writing in museums and galleries, developing your own personal work and interests. It could help you in preparing a portfolio for other accredited creative writing courses, and will provide a sound basis for studying on other adult art courses within the WEA or elsewhere.

Download full course outline

People, Places, Life: Creative Writing at M Shed Course Outline


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2016
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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