ABOUT THE CHARITY
Living Words is an arts and literature organisation, created in 2007 by Susanna Howard. It started simply in a hospital ward at St Thomas’, London - Susanna following her nose, with the people she met who were patients there, to discover what this work would be. The intention of communicating in the moment using silence, sounds, the spoken and written word was clear. Since then we have conducted residencies in care and nursing homes, community settings, arts centres, day centres, libraries, theatres and hospitals. What emerged has been honed over the years into our listen-out-loud methodology, a person-centred approach and programme that we want to see taking place in the UK and beyond.
The main part of our work is care home residencies, taking place over 8 - 15 weeks. Our writers and artists work co-creatively and one-to-one with people experiencing a dementia and isolated and disempowered people. We enable participants’ ‘in-the-moment’ experience to be heard by others. At the end of our projects, participants each have their own book of Living Words that express how they feel about life. We run bespoke staff workshops to support their creative expression and embed use of the Living Words books. We are currently co-creating a communities programme with people in the earlier stages of dementia, to be launched 2018. Our writers also work in an ongoing fashion with privately funded individuals, often over many years. Inspired by this participatory work we create anthologies, performances, films, podcasts and events.
We believe that if a person is believed in, valued and given a non-judgmental space to express themselves, all of us benefit.
I believe this is really important work that is taking place out of sight and unrecognised for the value of its contribution to challenging perceptions, raising awareness and improving quality of life for people with dementia. …The unique blend of person-centred working and using the creative arts to empower and re-enable is truly inspirational
Des Kelly OBE
former executive director, National Care Forum