Registration is closed for this event


Poetry can bring people together and offer a sense of belonging for those who feel alone. It can be used for healing and growth, both in care and community development. Poetry also has a strong tradition of addressing issues of belonging, from supporting marginalised communities to helping frontline workers cope with the demands of their jobs. In higher education, poetry can be used to cope with stress, improve presentation skills, and explore teacher-student dynamics. It can also be used as a tool for reflection. 

During this workshop, participants will learn how poetry can be used for meaningful reflection in higher education. From free verse to structured forms like haikus and sonnets, you will discover how poetry can provide a framework for exploring your thoughts and emotions in a creative and expressive manner. Whether you're a seasoned poet or have never written a poem before, you will learn how to use poetry to express your thoughts and emotions in a powerful way.

In addition to using poetry for self-reflection, you will also learn about how to use poetry as a means of exploring your professional experiences. From reflecting on your teaching practice to processing the challenges of your role, poetry can provide a unique perspective on your work.

Finally, we will explore how poetry can be used to foster community and connection among staff members. Whether you're looking to build empathy and understanding or foster a sense of community and belonging, poetry can play a powerful role.

Who is this workshop for?

No prior knowledge is required to attend this workshop - it is open to everyone involved in higher education, at any career stage. All teachers, learners, third-space professionals, and professional service staff can benefit from this session. It may be particularly engaging for those interested in reflective techniques, staff wellbeing and belonging, creative pedagogies, non-traditional research methods - and of course, anyone who may be curious about poetry but unsure of where to begin. Participants are welcome to bring their lived experience to this session, but all sharing is optional.


Dr Sam Illingworth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Learning and Teaching Enhancement at Edinburgh Napier University, where his research and practice focus on using poetry and other creative media to address issues of staff and student belonging. You can find out more about Sam and his work via his website or connect with him on Twitter @samillingworth.




Prior to the workshop

Participants are invited to please read a handful of sample poems ahead of the session. Examples can be found via the Learned Words website (link available in the 'references' list below).

12:00 – 12:05

Welcome and introductions; framing the session

12:05 – 12:35

Analysis and discussion (plenary and small groups)

12:35 – 12:50

Introduction to writing techniques

12:50 – 12:55

5 warm-up

12:55 – 13:00

Warmup activity

13:00 – 13:20


13:20 – 13:30

Group feedback (including optional sharing) and close


The Learned Words website - Poetic Reflections on Higher Education: click here to view 

Jack K, Illingworth S. ‘Saying it without saying it’: using poetry as a way to talk about important issues in nursing practice. Journal of Research in Nursing. 2017;22(6-7):508-519. doi:10.1177/1744987117715293

Illingworth, Sam, "Learned words: using poetry to reflect on practices in higher education" published in Times Higher Education (30 Nov 2022): click here to view

March 27th, 2023 from 12:00 PM to  1:30 PM
Online event - link will be provided
Event Fee(s)
Event Fee(s)
Member Price £0.00
Guest Price £75.00
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