Lelia Ferro is a poet from Wivenhoe in Essex who has made a big impact in the county with her innovative writing methods where she uses interviews and workshops with local people as the basis for narratives which challenge the ‘Essex Girl’ and ‘Essex Boy’ stereotypes. She was previously Writer in Residence for Colchester’s Firstsite Gallery, where she worked with Colchester and Ipswich Museums and a broad spectrum of the community in order to bring to life artefacts from the museum archives, displayed during the Wunderkammer Exhibition. She is also currently Poet in Residence for Essex County Council’s project, ‘Snapping The Stiletto’ where she works with communities and the museums to retell the stories of Essex women from over the past 100 years.
Lelia is a first year Creative Writing PhD student at the University of Essex currently exploring, ‘How We Live in Essex’ through the lens of psychogeography – which examines the interrelationship between people and place. Her work is investigating different dwelling and communities in Essex, and how this relates to the landscape, and the history of radical living in the county, such as the industrial worker estate at East Tilbury, Silver End – an ‘under one roof’ village and garden community which aimed to provide better living standards, and the Tolstoy-inspired naturist colonies at Wickford. Her investigation will include houseboat communities, communes, caravan parks, coastland living, rural living, and urban living. Using multidisciplinary theories and methods from psychogeography, journalism, community writing, and the approaches of contemporary Essex writers, her poetry will take a gentle dive into Essex life and the landscape, in order to locate alternative, more nuanced representations of Essex.
Previously she studied for a Masters degree in Creative Writing at the University of Essex for which she was awarded a distinction. Prior to this she completed postgraduate studies in Psychodynamic Approaches, and also a Masters degree in Journalism, receiving distinctions in both fields. Her methodologies pull together her academic experience to date, as well as her experiences working creatively at Channel 4, and for other leading media companies. In her approach she uses a technique which she defines as ‘embodiment’ likened to the psychodynamic ‘transference’, as well as ‘free association’ techniques, and journalistic ethical frameworks.
If you would like to meet Lelia and take part in her community workshops and PhD research examining ‘How We Live in Essex’, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org