‘We cannot change the past, but we can change how we look at the past’: The use of creative writing in facing up to personal histories at the Danish Welfare Museum

Trisse Gejl, Steven Sampson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Narrative medicine is an international research discipline connecting the science of literature with the science of health. This article is based on the thesis that reading and writing fiction can help mentally and physically ill people in actively contributing to their own recovery, as well as traumatised people in recreating their own identity. But why and how? The author conducted writing workshops with (grown-up) orphans as part of a large research project, ‘Uses of literature, University of Southern Denmark’. She reflects on the potential, the challenges and the results so far with this particular group. The workshops, involving many participants who are amateur writers, were partly based on models for conceptual writing and focused on aesthetic recognition as opposed to therapeutic recognition. Once again, the museum’s ‘therapeutic model’ is challenged, in favour of a different, more actively creative approach to recovery of self.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMuseums and Social Change : Challenging the Unhelpful Museum
EditorsAdele Chynoweth, Bernadette Lynch, Klaus Petersen, Sarah Smed
Number of pages10
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date2021
Edition1.
Chapter7
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-22801-9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesMuseum Meanings

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