A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

Nick Pollard's Research

07 May 2012

Download pdf versions of Nick Pollard's Research Paper and Presentation below.

Hi all

Hope this finds everyone well. I thought it was time to update you on the progress of the intervews I've been doing with members of the Fed on how groups have kept themselves going. I've got enough interviews to work with (thanks again to everyone who has participated) and have more or less finished analysing them. I'll be sending those groups I met with copies of their transcripts. I've had some other writing projects which I've had to produce first, some of which are connected with the Fed and FWWCP but needed to do some of these to think about how I could come back to analysis of the data from the group interviews.

I am working on a draft 'evaluation' report for the Fed, which will take into account the whole study and hope to produce this over the summer. The Fed hasn't commissioned this but it seems to be the logical thing to do with the information. tailoring it to the needs of the Fed rather than just presenting it as a kind of dissertation. I'm very happy for anyone who wants to to work on this with me, towards producing a useful document for the Fed - please contact me if interested.

Some of the emerging themes are about the importance of diversity, the openess and flexibility towards encouraging diversity which has been a source of resilience and strength for groups, and the practical ways in which people have enabled this flexibility to happen; on the other hand the Fed addresses lots of different people who are not addressed by other cultural initiatives, and does things like actively promote debate which are sometimes - and have often been historically - a little outside the imagination of funding bodies and mainstream culture and consequently difficult for them to recognise. This might be changing now in some respects, but not necessarily for the better, in that one aspect that has been very important was the ability to determine how we as The Fed or FWWCP are presented in our own material, rather than represented through the interpretations of others. On yet another hand some of the issues we have always been concerned about, such as writing difficulties across the age range, continuous access to education opportunities over long periods to meet the needs of people with low confidence, and the value of getting different people together, mixing writing and history, performance and publishing are not well understood when others have not had the kind of experience we have had or the approaches we have developed. In many ways this corroborates the papers that Tom Woodin has already written, though my perspective reflects an occupational science (i.e. the study of people doing stuff together) approach.

However, before then I have to produce the elements of the study which are needed for my PhD because there may be funding changes in the near future, so I am writing a paper on some of the ways in which groups have learned to sustain themselves. The other work I have done is a review of 300 pieces of writing from the FWWCP over about 30 years to look at links between human occupation (as in people writing about the stuff they do and how this is what makes them who they are) and concepts of meaningfulness - which will be a chapter in a book to come out late this year or early next, and there are several other book chapters coming out in occupational therapy texts over the same period around the Fed, FWWCP and Pecket Learning Community experiences written with other people in the Fed.

If people need supporting letters for funding applications for their groups or the Fed it is possible that I could write about these issues from the stuff that I have so far put together - contact me and we can talk about whether this is useful.

I am attaching to this a copy of the dissertation I did for my MSc in 2000 with various groups in the FWWCP in case this is useful as a resource - the reference list might be helpful at least. I'm afraid the language and theme is a bit dated.

All the best for now

Love Nick



This is a handout for a presentation to be given next week in Chile at the World Federation of Occupational Therapists conference on the link between what we do in The Fed and occupational therapy's conceptions of 'human occupation'. It is condensed to fit on a double sided A4 sheet and is about as much as can be fitted into a short presentation of 10 minutes. Worker writing and community publishing has a lot of potential influence and this is just one aspect. I've emphasised the worker element here specifically because of a narrow cultural base in my profession as the handout explains.


Some of the things in it need a couple of footnotes. 'Doing, being, becoming, belonging', (the last slide/picture on the handout) probably fits very well with the kinds of ideals shared in the Fed. It comes from Anne Wilcock's An Occupational Perspective of Health (2006, Slack) - but have have originally come from earlier literature on the study of quality of life, where this same mantra turns up (see David Phillips book Quality of Life Routledge 2006). If we do stuff together we experience things (being), become aware of each other and belong to a community. Wilcock has put this into a little equation: d+b3. Occupational spin-off is another thing that I am very interested in and is discussed a little in the study I just posted - this is where by doing something like joining a writing group you get involved in a whole load of other stuff, the way Pecket recruits volunteers, for example, or the way you might end up being the person who applies for funding even though you just wanted to go somwhere and share your poetry.


Nick Pol

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