Assisting young people to find their language through the language of others: Knowledge from an inpatient ward – By David Newman

In this video presentation, David Newman describes the ways in which he is using living documents with young people in an inpatient ward. The documents he discusses will soon be collected and published in a special resource of young people’s knowledges and ideas about ways of addressing mental health concerns.


Further reading:

Rescuing the said from saying of it, by David Newman

Published on August 28, 2014

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Diana Woods

    Thank you!!!!!!

  2. Sekneh Beckett

    Newman, I was moved by this talk and its accountability to the powerful commodity of written and spoken language; the way it both serves to hinder or extend therapeutic encounters. Further it examines the relations of power with the spoken word – too confronting, complex, harsh, and/or stolen by trauma. In addition I appreciated the way the carefulness around the spoken word invited an innovative orbit via the collecting and sharing of young folks knowledges and skills of living.

    Thank you for offering Jeanette Winterson’s reference in her autobiographical account in ‘Why be happy when you could be normal.’ In reading this book (twice now!), I too was drawn to the skills Jeanette recruits whilst tumultuously navigating a sense of identity and belonging. Inspiringly in the face of significant hardship she finds a refuge in books and libraries, and thus ‘gets her language back through the language of others.’ Such a beautifully apt link to the work you have offered in ‘breaking down the walls,’ this generous young man also builds a bridge through the poignant stories of others skills of living.

    There was further resonance for me as this moving talk connected me with another quote of Jeanette’s. She writes:

    It took me a long time to realise that there are two kinds of writing; the one you write and the one that writes you. The one that writes you is dangerous. You go where you don’t want to go. You look where you don’t want to look (Winterson, 2012,p. 54).

    Your talk highlights the way this young man’s initiative in writing his own skills, breaks down the writing on the wall graffitied by others, he thus writes on his own identity. Beautiful work Newman!

    A fresh perspective is available now on the account of hearing your work and that is the way I can use these ideas of getting ‘language back through the language of others’ across translation. I am met by this dilemma in my work context – and that is hardship is usually expressed via verbal and non-verbal language; and these issues are addressed through the spoken word. However what happens when we do not speak the same language and/or people are adamant of not wanting to access a worker from their communities…in the event they know their family? The written word might be a very useful ally in breaking down these walls…and letting some light in!

    Big respect to you buddy,


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