The poetic triangle of objects, people and writing creatively
During the many years we worked together on community projects for Leicestershire’s Open Museum, we witnessed the truly amazing potential of museum objects to release linguistic creativity, and through this, unlock people’s latent and intuitive grasp of the multiple meanings and phenomenology of objects.The canon of literature and the perceived authority of museums more often inhibits people’s engaging with creative writing and museum objects. However, through combining museum objects free of glass cases, a workshop environment facilitated with sensitivity, and personnel linguistic creativity produced in the moment, people can be given back their natural abilities to create with verbal language and read the world of objects around them.
The imagination, particularly when it is channeled through creative speaking and writing, can be a powerful hermeneutical tool. Certain poetic games and procedures can be utilised to explore juxtapositions and dialectics, and to also excavate emotional depths from surface appearances. Poetics can be used to pursue ‘truths’, or, as Bachelard says, to get to the ‘essence’ of things.
In a interactive paper that we delivered at the Material Worlds conference at the University of Leicester in 2008, we explored and shared our experiences of delivering museum-object-inspired creative writing workshops and projects for learning providers, communities groups, and people of differing ages, and from a broad range of backgrounds. The associated paper ‘The poetic triangle of objects, people and writing creatively’, was published in The Thing About Museums: Objects and Experience, Representation and Contestation, by Routledge in 2012.