research

creative writing for wellbeing

creative writing laboratory


Join these monthly drop-in sessions through the year. Or come to my extended more formal workshops on specific themes including story, plot, poetry, writing dialogue, the impact of metaphor, utilising the senses, writing for social change and much, much, more…


Tanvir Bush and ten creative writing workshop participants sit in a circle. Tanvir sits next to a flip-chart with text and diagram. Each person's attention is focused on the sheet of text that they each hold, which they contemplate with thoughtful expressions.

In my Creative Writing Laboratory, I show you techniques designed to:

  • unlock your creative potential
  • deepen your understanding of yourself
  • widen your perspectives
  • engage empathy
  • find greater positivity, confidence and resilience.

I aim to leave you inspired, energised and entertained!

Next Laboratory Courses

2019
Course Leader: Dr Tanvir Naomi Bush (MA, PhD)
Venues: Springfield Community Campus, Corsham, UK
The Pound Arts Centre, Corsham, UK
Price: £5 per drop-in monthly session. Prices vary for the longer formal workshops.

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Note: I can adapt courses for particular groups e.g. disabled adults and carers, medical professionals, creative writing students, etc.

It has been a very enjoyable course – didn’t particularly enjoy the “life story” session but that is probably just me. I hope that there will be another course. — J1
Not long enough! Would definitely be up for more – especially playwriting / scripts etc. — JB
Tanvir – you’re very good. A very good and interesting six weeks. — J2
Excellent. Great people. Very interesting, joyous atmosphere, very welcoming and inclusive. Makes one think. — R

Two writing courses down with Tanvir and still I want more. There is, for me anyway, so much to like. What I want as a writer still learning the craft is: a safe space to try new ideas, a supportive space to share emerging work, an inspiring space to make me want to do more, and a funny space to remember that it ain’t worth doing unless you can get a kick out of it. Tanvir provides all this, and much more. Highly recommended, as long as you do not take my place on the next course. — Malcolm Sinclair, June 2017

“Very interesting, joyous atmosphere”Workshop participant

I have attended two Creative Writing Courses led by Tanvir. She shows warmth, wit and wisdom. I always leave feeling inspired. If you are a budding writer and just need some direction then come on Tanvir’s course and you are sure to find it!
— Julia Cawthorne, June 2017

Tanvir’s wise counsel and swift guidance have transformed my stuck present, paralysed by writers block, into a joyous relishing of a future where writing can be for pure pleasure.  Like being shown where to dive in a vast ocean and discover the lost treasure within my words.
— Rachael Burgess, June 2017

post-doctoral research

writing, empathy and empowerment


As a writer, film-maker and photographer, I have experienced the many trials and occasional triumphs of the creative life over the years.

As a doctoral student of creative writing, I was encouraged not only to develop my writing and explore research methods but also to observe, analyse and reflect on my own creative development process.

I expected this meta-analysis to prove useful to my writing, and it has. I was more surprised that it enabled me to observe the positive emotional impact of the creative process on my own psyche and on my readers, creating catharsis and empathy. It also encouraged a more compassionate understanding of an often overlooked minority — disabled people in the UK today.

Tanvir Bush sits next to a flip-chart which lists the names of the participants, including that of her guide dog, Grace, in the Coming to our Senses workshop, February 2017, as she reads from a page held in her left hand, while she gesticulates with her right hand.

My doctorate thus opened up some questions likely to be the focus of, or at least to underlie, much of my post-doctoral teaching and research in the next few years:

  • Can creative writing programmes be designed specifically to emphasise empathy and embodiment, to alleviate feelings of isolation, anxiety and/or melancholy?
  • Could these programmes empower participants to engage with more confidence socially and even politically?
  • Can we use or design adequate scientific measurements of the impact of these original creative writing interventions?

creative writing labs


To develop understanding of the impact of creative writing on well-being and resilience, and of the role of empathy in mitigating prejudice, I designed and facilitate the Corsham Creative Writing Laboratory.

Monthly drop-in sessions are interspersed with more formal workshops on specific themes including story, plot, poetry, writing dialogue, the impact of metaphor, utilising the senses, writing for social change and more… See the laboratory section above.

activism and academia


In 2018, my colleague, Dr Stuart Read, and I founded and now co-chair the Disabled Staff Network and the cross- departmental Disability Action Group at Bath Spa University.

Both groups seek to support and encourage disability and diversity within the university. We raise, debate and find solutions to issues affecting both disabled and non-disabled staff and students.

The logo of the D4D Project consists of a symbol followed by text. The symbol is a stylised X made of four equal filled dots in a square formation in the centre, with each dot abutting the circular side of a larger filled semicircle at a 45 degree angle to the dot. The semicircles could each represent a filled letter D. Alongside this symbol is the legend "D4D" with underneath it the words "Disability & Community".

I am currently working as an Associate Research Fellow on the D4D project (Disability and Community: Dis/engagement, Dis/enfranchisement, Dis/parity and Dissent).

The D4D project focuses on disability and exclusion. Involving seven universities in the UK and one in the USA, as well as several community arts groups, theatres and other partners, this project is part of the AHRC Connected Communities programme.

empathy and writing research group


I was a founder member of, and am now co-chair with Prof. Maggie Gee, of the Empathy and Writing Research Group at Bath Spa University. This growing interdisciplinary and international group seeks to explore the value of empathy in today’s world.

For instance, difference and separateness often seem to be rallying cries leading to conflict. Can empathy instead help us to recognise and understand another’s point of view, beliefs, cultural values and feelings?

David Comer Kidd and Emmanuele Castano’s ‘Reading Literary Fiction Increases Theory of Mind’ a founding paper in creative empathy studies argues that reading literary fiction tends to improve the reader’s ability to see life from a different perspective.

Our group seeks to respond to this emerging field in the creative and literary arts.

SenseAbility


 In 2014, to enable the discussion of disability, access and the arts in our local community in Corsham, I brought Bath Spa University and the wonderful Pound Arts Centre together to develop SenseAbility.

Initially, SenseAbility was a festival exploring the relationship between disability and the arts in the twenty-first century. Latterly, it has become a strand of the Pound Arts programme and a continuing community dialogue.

Our events include presentations about the arts and access, discussions e.g. with Fay Weldon and neuropsychologist Alison Lee, talks e.g. Peter White MBE, and film screenings and discussions e.g. with Ken Loach, as well as writing workshops, exhibitions, performance and more. All free and all open to the Corsham and the wider community.

collaborate with me


If you have similar interests, are engaged in related projects, and want to discuss collaboration around these themes, I would be delighted to hear from you!

collaborate

seminars and workshops

PhD seminar
coming to our senses


5 Workshop participants, four women and a man, wearing dark glasses, stand in a circle, with Tanvir Bush looking on from behind them. One participant sits with her back to the camera. Two of the standing participants stand arm-in-arm and two are exploring the floor with white canes used by the visually impaired.A practical Creative Writing workshop on utilizing autoethnography and our own senses and memory to engage multiple methodologies.

By designating, for instance, a novel and its contextualising thesis as ‘practice as research’, how may we apply the title of writer-practitioner to ourselves whilst also utilising a fluid model of observer/participant, participant/observer, autoethnographer and qualitative researcher?

This workshop is intended to un-pick the proposition above and to use a series of short and entertaining creative writing exercises, based around our senses and sense memory, to explore the different positions we may face engaging in various, and often seemingly discordant, research methodologies.

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