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Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10am - 5pm
Wednesday: 10am - 5pm
Thursday: 10am - 5pm
Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday: 10am - 5pm
Sunday: 11am - 5pm

Creative Writing Day

£70 or £81 (with lunch)

[ Workshop )

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Join us for a full day of artistic expression with tutors Karen Stevens and Suzanne Joinson from the Creative Writing department at Chichester University.

The morning workshop, led by Karen Stevens, will explore the connection between words and images in the realms of poetry and short prose. You’ll dive into the print room exhibition Role Models: Writer Portraits, where you’ll explore and discuss the display.

The second part of the day will be led by Suzanne Joinson, who will transport you to a world inspired by the Post-Impressionist era artist Gwen John and the avant-garde women of the 20th century captured in the dream-like portraits of Kaye Donachie.

This inspiring and inclusive workshop is perfect for anyone who wants to tap into their creative side, regardless of experience level. So come one, come all, and let your inner writer soar.

Book your spot

You will also have the option to book a lunch with your workshop. Please find more information below.


Break down of the day

10am-12:15pm | Turning Image into Word with Karen Stevens

The rendering of art into words is an artistic and magical process that writers have drawn on to enhance their work since Homer famously used 130 lines to describe the chronicle emblazoned on Achilles’s shield more than 2,500 years ago.

We will start the day with a trip to the Role Models: Writer Portraits exhibition, which explores the relationship between text and image. You will then move on to consider how images have inspired the written word. This will be a springboard for creative exercises. The idea is that participants will leave with several ideas to shape and develop at home.

In this workshop, writers will imaginatively explore visual works of art and will expand its meaning – not in terms of enlarging the original work, but in terms of offering more possibilities. By bringing two imaginations into conversation with one another – that of the visual artist and that of the writer – something new is born.


12:15pm-12:45pm | Break with tea, coffee and lunch provided by Pallant Café

You have the option to book a delicious packed lunch to enjoy during the break, delivered to you during the workshop. Indulge in the mouth-watering vegetarian Tart of the Month with a side salad, all for just £11. The meal is gluten free.

However, if you prefer to bring your own packed lunch, you’re more than welcome to do so. We want you to be comfortable and enjoy your workshop to the fullest.

All attendees will be provided with hot tea, coffee, or water throughout the day.


12:45pm-3pm | Writing the Canvas

You will begin the session with a trip to Kaye Donachie: Song for the Last Act and Gwen John: Art and Life in London and Paris.

This guided writing session explores the relationship between the subject, viewer and artist. Practical writing techniques will enable you to explore imaginative responses to the images and produce a first draft of a short story, poem, or autobiographical writing.

Themes will include the self-portrait and the muse, letter writing as a tool for finding a voice, and the marginalisation of female artists and writers. During the session you will develop writing techniques to create a unique character, a robust ‘voice’, and a structural framework for your writing.

We will think about the variety of stories embedded within the exhibitions and we will explore what it means to look at something and to be looked at. This will lead us towards an understanding of point of view in narrative writing. Then we will work on finding a character’s unique voice, or if writing autobiographically expressing the voice of the self, inspired by Gwen John’s 1907 painting Autoportrait à la Lettre, (Self-Portrait with a letter).

We will move on to look at Kaye Donachie’s series of works where the titles are taken from the poetry of Iris Tree, the 20th Century poet and artist’s model. Exploring the connection between images and words we will learn how the character and voice in our writing relates to the wider ‘frame’ of the story. There will be an opportunity to share work (not a requirement) and to ask further questions at the end.

From this workshop you should expect to engage with a visual arts exhibition in an enriched way. Gain and nurture your creative writing skills, particularly understanding how to construct and create within a contained piece of writing.


Photograph of a woman sat at a table wearing a jumper, glasses, and short blonde hair. She is sat with her elbow resting on the table and her head on the fist of the same right arm.

Karen Stevens

Karen Stevens is an author, editor and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester, specialising in teaching fiction. Her short stories have appeared in many small press publications, and she is presently working on her first collection of short stories. She has published critical and creative anthologies Writing a First Novel (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), High Spirits (Valley Press, 2018).

Photograph of a woman with long blonde hair with head in land looking to the right

Suzanne Joinson

Suzanne Joinson (Reader in Creative Writing at the University of Chichester) is the award-winning author of two novels with Bloomsbury and a forthcoming memoir. She is the Goodison Fellow at the British Library researching the oral histories of three female artists connected to Sussex.