Joni Mitchell Creative Workshop

Joni Mitchell Creative Workshop

A project delivered by The Untold Orchestra to support women in experiencing the creative arts.


The aim of this workshop was to support women in being involved in some creative workshops, based on the work produced by Joni Mitchell and her album Blue.


Moss Side, Cheetham Hill, Crumpsall, Hulme & Rusholme

Benefits of social activities

Connecting with others is one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing, five evidence-based actions which can improve personal wellbeing. Social connectedness has a strong positive impact on both physical and mental health. Increased social connectedness is linked to reduced mortality risk, healthier lifestyles and higher cognitive functioning. Socially well-connected people are more resilient, feel more able to take charge of their lives and less stressed. Older adults that are socially connected experience increased life satisfaction.

Benefits of creative writing

Creative writing can benefit numerous aspects of an individual’s life. Creative writing can help improve literacy and communication skills across all ages. Attending writing groups can help reduce loneliness, giving participants a sense of connectedness and belonging within the group and their community. In clinical and non-clinical settings, writing has been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing, enabling individuals to express difficult emotions and experience feelings of empowerment, self-actualisation and achievement. It is often used as a form of self-help, reducing stress and thus stress-related visits to the doctor.


“Just being with all women, I didn't know how much I needed it. And everyone was really different, so many different personalities in the room.”

“It's been wonderful that everyone has been so open with sharing personal stories.”

“It's very good practice for me to hear and speak English. Sometimes I just listen and it is very important for me.”

“There's so many opportunities that I can't attend because I am 25, so it was great when I saw this and I was allowed to attend. Age is nothing but a number.”

“The last time I read in public was when I was in Year 6, and the first time I read aloud here I went home and felt so proud of myself. The next day too I was so proud.”

“You made me feel heard. The poem I read last week was quite deep and I felt so glad that I could share that. And it's been fun too, there's been laughs and everyone is so nice!”

“I have shared things that I didn't think I would share.”

“I've really enjoyed coming here every week.”

“I'm so grateful to be able to bring something that I really love, and to share it with you all.”

“I absolutely loved taking part in the Joni Mitchell sessions because I loved being
around and getting to know some lovely women in a safe space. Being around all women has really helped my mental health, it is something I didn’t even know I needed until I experienced it.”


It was initially difficult to get people involved due to COVID-19 restrictions and programme specifics, but it was successful in the end. The project included 14 women, with a lot of them returning week after week. There were people speaking different languages, from Farsi to French Cameroonian, English to Hungarian.

Next steps:

  • The Untold Orchestra invited the women to watch the Joni Mitchell performance at The Yard on Friday 17th September 2021. They were given free tickets to attend.
  • The women selected their favourite poems, and we got a designer to create a book which also acted as the programme for the Joni Mitchell performance. The women from the workshops were gifted some copies.
  • Abraham Moss English School have invited us to run another poetry workshop there, so we are hoping to arrange this soon.

Project Team

Charlee Fitzgerald – buzz Manchester Neighbourhood Health Worker

Patsy Williams – buzz Manchester Neighbourhood Health Worker

Jodie Ratcliffe – The Untold Orchestra

Ellie Boney – The Untold Orchestra

Sam Davies – Music Support

Nasima Begum - Poet and Facilitator

Strategic links to local/national policies (social activities)



Social inclusion

Manchester Population Health Plan

NHS Five Year Forward View (Department of Health, 2014)

Enabling resilient communities

Greater Manchester Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Increased mental wellbeing

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Greater Manchester Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Helping people live healthier lives

Healthy Lives, Healthy People (MH Government, 2010)

The Manchester Locality Plan – A Healthier Manchester

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Manchester Prevention Programme

Research/evidence base

Global Council on Brain Health (2017) - The Brain and Social Connectedness

Ministry of Social Development (2018) - The measurement of social connectedness and its relationship to wellbeing

New Economics Foundation (2008) – Five ways to wellbeing

Oliver Huxhold, Martina Miche, Benjamin Schüz. (2014) Benefits of Having Friends in Older Ages: Differential Effects of Informal Social Activities on Well-Being in Middle-Aged and Older Adults, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, Volume 69, Issue 3, Pages 366–375.

Umberson, D. & Montez, J. K. (2010) Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. 51(S) S54–S66.

Strategic links to local/national policies (creative writing)



Increased mental wellbeing

Manchester Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Greater Manchester Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

Reduce social isolation

Manchester Population Health Plan

NHS Five Year Forward View (Department of Health, 2014)


Healthy Lives, Healthy People (MH Government, 2010)

Fair Society, Healthy Lives (Institute of Health Equity, 2010)

Taking Charge of our Health and Social Care in Greater Manchester (GMCA, 2015)


NHS Five Year Forward View (Department of Health, 2014)

Research/evidence base

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing Inquiry Report (2017) - Creative Health: The Arts for Health and Wellbeing

Baikie, K., & Wilhelm, K. (2005) Emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing. Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, 11(5).

Gillam, T. (2018) Enhancing public mental health and wellbeing through creative arts participation. (2018) Journal of Public Mental Health. Volume 17 Issue 4.

Lewis, L., Tew, J., Ecclestone, K., and Spandler, H. (2016) - Mutuality, Wellbeing and Mental Health Recovery: Exploring the roles of creative arts adult community learning and participatory arts initiatives.

Malyn, B. O., Thomas, Z., Ramsey‐Wade, C. E. (2020) Reading and writing for well‐being: A qualitative exploration of the therapeutic experience of older adult participants in a bibliotherapy and creative writing group. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 00: 1– 10.


Charlee Fitzgerald – Neighbourhood Health Worker

Mob. 07771 805278

If you found this page helpful, maybe someone else will too?

"The patients really enjoy the [PARS] sessions and feel a real benefit from continuing to exercise in a supportive environment."

Janet, Respiratory Specialist Physiotherapist, MRI

Janet, Respiratory Specialist Physiotherapist, MRI photo