‘We hit a giant – a poem which enabled us to share our ‘disappointing’ feelings and helped us recognise we should continue….

Towards the end of the academic year, 2018 a group of academics from various disciplines and professions met to discuss whether it was worth continuing with our joint-working project called ACT (Action for Collaborative Transformation).  Many of us had been working and meeting together since 2014 and we were passionate about providing our students with opportunities to learn and study together across professions and disciplines.  We were, and still are convinced, that it is only through these opportunities, pre- and post-qualification, that professionals working in different professions and disciplines across public services can improve outcomes for all the people we work with.  However, due to many issues, we were feeling despondent and discouraged, but we didn’t know how to share our thoughts in a way that would enable us to ‘keep-going’ and recognise the importance of what we were aiming to do.

Tom suggested that we should independently write a short piece stating why we were members of ACT and why it should continue. Some of the group decided to follow Tom’s idea.  Once these pieces were gathered and anonymised three colleagues of ACT met together and sentence by sentence thematically analysed the accounts.  The results identified five main themes:  potential for change, institutional barriers, innovation, desire to make a difference, system control.   Together we were able to place our comments under these five headings and from this Tom created the poem ‘We hit a giant’. 

Somehow, reading and sharing our frustrations and disappointments, and indeed hopes – in this poetic manner, gave us the determination to keep taking one step forward even though we knew we might have to keep experiencing the two steps backwards!  Thank-you Tom, for giving us the tool to express ourselves and for creating the culmination of our thoughts in such a creative way.  

Sue Soan – Faculty of Education