Lit in Place: Weaving Creativity, well-being and the local environment
“Special things happen out here in nature.
They do every week, they always have.” – Sion Tomos Owen
Over the last six months, the creative facilitators Sion Tomos Owen and Iola Ynyr have
delivered creative writing projects in their local communities, with the aim of contributing
towards developing resilient communities by exploring local eco-systems, increasing
understanding of local sustainability practices, and normalising creative practice as a tool for
North Wales Wildlife Trust, GwyrddNi, and Crop Cycle
They have reached 225 participants over 25 sessions, with participants growing in
confidence by sharing their personal experiences and stories. The groups have immersed
themselves in their local environment, gaining knowledge from other local partners such as
North Wales Wildlife Trust, GwyrddNi, and Crop Cycle. In addition to creative writing,
activities included planting trees, exploring carbon lifecycles and learning about eco-friendly
ways of growing food.
The projects were supported by the Llên mewn Lle / Lit in Place project, devised by
Literature Wales in partnership with WWF Cymru. The project offers funding to writers and
facilitators to devise, set up and deliver activity with a community of their choice.
Claire Furlong, Literature Wales’ Executive Director said: “Literature Wales aims to put
sustainability at the heart of all we do. Alongside reducing our carbon footprint, for us,
sustainability also means supporting writers to develop careers within their communities,
using their literary talents to contribute to long-term change on their doorsteps. The pilot Lit
in Place projects have given a model for how this can be done, simultaneously responding to
local environmental challenges, whilst building stronger communities and creating fantastic
Rhian Brewster, Head of Communications, WWF Cymru said: “Nobody knows the local
landscapes better than those who live and work in those communities. People, nature and
climate are interlinked, they depend on each other to survive. We are excited to work with
Literature Wales on this project which has unlocked a passionate and creative response to
the climate and nature crisis, from communities across Wales.”
Artist and creative Iola Ynyr ran a workshop series entitled Gwledda (meaning ‘to feast’).
Working with the broader community of the Rhosgadfan School in Gwynedd, the aim of the
project was to nourish participants using creative writing activities and gaining practical
gardening and growing skills. With Gwledda, Iola aims to increase participants’ self-worth,
build confidence to take creative risks and promote well-being rooted in the land.
Artist Siôn Tomos Owen
Artist Siôn Tomos Owen led a project called The Fruits of Our Fire. He worked with
participants of Welcome to the Woods’ Woodland Therapy Group to create an illustrated
a diary documenting how the group connects with nature. Woodland Therapy offers a weekly
opportunity for participants to combat mental health issues through different activities
engaging with nature.
What’s next for Lit in Place?
A third pilot project, The LUMIN Syllabus, will be delivered over the next six months,
alongside the already established Gwledda and Fruits of our Fire. The LUMIN Syllabus comprises creative facilitators Sadia Pineda Hameed and Beau W Beakhouse. In local
partnership with Ways of Working, they will support people of colour and those from low-
income in the Swansea area to create and publish responses to the climate and nature
emergency in the form of zines. Their project will focus on the link between the climate and
nature emergency and colonialism, with sessions taking place across local community
gardens, cafes and galleries.
Literature Wales are looking to fund further community-led projects in 2024 that weave
creativity and well-being alongside the climate and nature emergency theme.