How are you feeling? A community poetry project for stroke survivors in Sussex

Alec Grant, Kate Tym, Deborah Hatfield, Kay Aranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This community poetry project was theoretically underpinned by narrative inquiry, specifically the transformational power of narrative as poetry. It aimed to focus on the thoughts and behaviours evoked by having and recovering from a stroke, in order to shape positive healing, adjustment and supportive community among stroke survivors, their relatives and carers. After initial planning in 2010, a project team consisting of a St.Leonards‐based performance poet and three academic staff from the University of Brighton were allowed access to several stroke clubs in Sussex in 2011. Stories of stroke experiences, previous lives and subsequent adaptation to changed circumstances were gathered from stroke survivors and their relatives, and from volunteer staff. These stories formed the basis for a collection of poems that was subsequently taken back to the stroke clubs and their contributing stroke survivors through performances. Participants and stakeholders in the project expressed that as a result of the overall experience, they developed a greater insight into the emotional language of the stroke experience and new ways of understanding it. This, together with consistently positive, wider, national and international dissemination and dialogues with individuals and groups in different locations in the United Kingdom, demonstrated the success of the project. In terms of relevance to practice, the poetry collection is also being used in curriculum development and staff induction for nursing and other health care staff involved in stroke care, and in training and local strategy development at the University of Brighton. It is hoped that the project will also inform future, more formalised hospital‐based narrative inquiry research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Practice Development Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Arts in healthcare
  • stroke
  • poetry
  • experts by experience
  • health humanities
  • curriculum development
  • community engagement


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