PETT: Spring, holding its breath...

In this issue:

  1. From a garden in Israel
  2. More kind words from Centre visitors
  3. Congratulations!
  4. New on the website
  5. Thankyou Simon!
    1. Some of Simon's greatest hits
  6. In the Archive: Another month sprints by...
  7. Dates and Notes.
  8. What have we forgotten, and the request for donations

PETT eNewsletter 21. May 31st, 2016



1. From a garden in Israel

Judith Issroff was a student and colleague of the influential paediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott, and author, with contributions from Christopher Reeves and Bruce Hauptman, of 'Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby: Personal and Professional Perspectives'. Her oral history interview with Sir Richard Bowlby about the life and work of his father John is still available on the Other People's Children website (CLICK HERE). Dr. Issroff's diaries are lodged in the Archive, and among her ongoing works-in-progress is a major book on Donald Winnicott subtitled "Something Short of Everything". Here she sends a bouquet from the garden of her new home in Israel.

2. More kind words from Centre visitors

    • "This place really is a treasure trove!" (July 2015)(Apologies - we missed this first time around!)

    • "Wonderful and Inspiring Venue! It will stay in my heart!" (April 2016)

    • "Always a beautiful place to stay. Thank you :)" (April 2016)

  • "A fabulous place - and people." (May 2016) (Quite right!)

3. Congratulations! to...

    • DAVID LANE, who was invested on Friday, May 13th, at Buckingham Palace, as Commander of the British Empire (Civil Division) "For services to Childcare and Social Work". Founding Chair of the Child Care History Network, and currently Panel member of the ongoing Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, David's contribution to children and social work runs off the page, going back to eight years in residential child care (first at Aycliffe Classifying School and later Superintendent of Olands Assessment Centre in Somerset), through to eight years as Director of Social Services in Wakefield, and beyond, as independent consultant and expert witness in child care, and many other involvements and initiatives in between: Chair of the Langley House Trust for ex-offenders, editor of Children Webmag (now the Therapeutic Care Journal, published by the National Centre for Therapeutic Residential and Foster Care), President of SCA, Governor of NISW, Board member of NCB, Honorary Life President of FICE, Vice President of NCMA and Leonard Cheshire Disability, member of the Wagner Working Party, Vice President of PACEY...expanding the acronyms alone would take up an entire newsletter, not to mention the things we've left out...

    • OLD REDHILLIAN PROF. JOHN SPIERS, who has established a new publishing firm, named after his Grandfather Edward Everett Root, a volunteer in the Middlesex Regiment, killed at Ypres in July 1915. EER Publishers Co. Ltd began life a hundred years later in 2015, and its new website can be FOUND HERE. Savour the details and the history of the enterprise in the About pages. Just remarkable.

    • WENNINGTONIAN DAVID LEWIS, whose stimulating and provocative article "Wennington: a transformative work of art" ("living in the spirit was what happened to children in the work of art called Wennington School, where children were transformed") has appeared in The Friends Quarterly (issue 2, 2016, pp. 22-32). Congratulations too, to the Wenningtonians and the Wennington Archive Weeks, through whom/which original archive material has been regularly uploaded to the Wennington website, contributing substantially to David Lewis's research. For their website, CLICK HERE.

    • THE ORAL HISTORY SOCIETY'S new "PSYCHO-SOCIAL THERAPIES AND CARE ENVIRONMENTS" SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP whose Inaugural General Meeting was hosted at PETT on April 26th, and whose first conference, to launch the Group, was held here on April 27th. To get a sense of why it was so special, listen to some of the conference presentations: CLICK HERE.

      Sam Martin, Development Officer at the Academy of Social Sciences in London, wrote that "the conference was a fascinating reminder of the complexities of oral history with teasing glimpses of still-untapped potential." Looking back at the two days together, Dr. Tom Harrison said "Something important happened over the past two days..."

      Chris Scanlon, recently appointed co-Director of therapeutic community charity CHT, was elected Chair of the new Group; Miranda Quinney, founder of Sharing Stories for Wellbeing (CLICK HERE) was elected Secretary; therapeutic community historian and consultant psychiatrist Tom Harrison was elected Treasurer; with the rest of the Committee consisting of Kate Brown (PhD candidate - Cotswold Community - and psychoanalytic psychotherapist), Carolyn Mears (trauma researcher and oral historian), Verusca Calabria (PhD candidate and oral historian), and Craig Fees (PETT archivist).

  • PETT EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RICHARD ROLLINSON AND FAMILY; who, as we go to press, have just added a new grandchild/son/nephew/potential uncle/grandfather (etc.) to their growing family tree.

4. New on the website

1. In late May, the Kaki Tree is beginning to bud. Seven years and counting until it fruits! CLICK HERE

2. "Reclaiming Communities of Experience: A busy and exciting visit from P.E.T.T. Fellow Carolyn Mears". What does a PETT Fellow do? What does the PETT do? Includes a podcast of Carolyn's talk to the Oral History Society special interest group conference, on the experiences and work of a Columbine High School Mum who is transforming traumatic experience into knowledge and understanding. The role, nature, and power of community. CLICK HERE.

3. "Wennington Archive Week 2016: Continual Fascination". Twelve years of Archive Weekends and still pressing the horizons. How does a pre-War vision of Possibility continue to realise and unfold new possibilities today? CLICK HERE.

4. "Common Roots 2016: A Classic Exploration". Three very different speakers - Carolyn Mears on community processes vs. trauma; John Slowley on therapeutic community processes vs. traumatic childhood experience; Annebella Pollen on Kibbo Kift and the re-creation of community in the wake of the massive national trauma of the First World War: Re-creating Community/Re-Creation and Community. Another lively and enspiriting conference co-hosted by the Wenningtonians CLICK HERE.

5. "Archival Pleasures: Walking to work with a butterfly". Another tough day in the life of a rural archivist. CLICK HERE.

6. "Invitation to Adventure: Braziers Park iu calling self-experimenters for immersive experiences". Friend of PETT Aggie Forster has assembled two weekend events for creative community and education at Braziers Park, the beautiful house and grounds in rural Oxfordshire where generations of radical learning experiences have been taking place. CLICK HERE.

5. Thankyou Simon!

A multi-talented all-rounder with a graphic arts background, Simon Rossi came to PETT in 2012 as Director of Grounds and Maintenance. His two year agreement stretched, and stretched again, as he worked his way meticulously and at depth through the repair backlog and the maintenance-and-renewal-thirsty hinterlands and surfaces of a busy accommodation and conference centre.
Visitors have regularly commented on his out-of-hours helpfulness; and the visual and maintenance standards he established are self-evident. PETT wishes him well as he sets out to explore and improve new horizons. He will be missed.

5.1 For some of Simon's greatest hits, see:

6. In the Archive: Another month sprints by...

  • On April 24th the archivist's daughter Enla runs in the London Marathon to raise money for MIND (supported by Family, Friends and Supporters of PETT - see HERE for PETT's open programme of support for good PETT Community causes).
    • (Enla did well, finishing in just over four hours in her very first marathon. Donations supporting MIND are still possible!: CLICK HERE).
  • PETT Fellow Carolyn Mears arrives from Colorado on the morning of the 25th (more on which below).
  • And then, before April is over, we
    • host the Inaugural General Meeting and launch conference for the new Oral History Society Special Interest Group on Psycho-Social Therapies and Care Environments (recording and uploading some very interesting talks, for which CLICK HERE);
    • host an inaugural Archive Weekend for former children, adults, and friends of New Barns School.
  • May kicks in, with much travel for PETT Fellow CAROLYN MEARS who:
    • Launches the University of Nottingham's new Criminal Justice Network on May 3rd, giving a lecture on "Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma"; taking part in a follow-on seminar with staff and students;
    • Rushes across Nottingham to give a live interview on BBC Radio Nottingham;
    • Travels to Redditch on May 4th for a day-long series of tours, meetings, and discussions on school safety and trauma with staff and students of Ipsley and Arrow Vale RSA Academies, organised by the remarkable Stephen Steinhaus.
    • Travels the Cotswolds and enjoys a day's respite in excellent Spring weather;
    • Adventures up to Birmingham on May 6th, for a seminar with Matt Pettle and fellow final-year students in Applied Performance at the Birmingham School of Acting: Young people putting the skills of performance, social conscience and compassion together in service of the community.
      • (For a more detailed account of Carolyn's three week visit, which includes an audio podcast, CLICK HERE.)
  • And then the Wennington Archive Week flew by, from May 9-13, with its continuous festival of the possibilities of the Archive (CLICK HERE)
  • With "Re-Creation and Community" on May 10th thrown in, the annual Common Roots Conference co-hosted by PETT and Wennington for an exciting group of people (CLICK HERE)
  • And two researchers in the library and archives, masters degree student Mike Phillips of the University of Leeds looking at urban Free Schools, c.1960-c.1980; and University of Brighton academic Annebella Pollen looking at the Little Commonwealth and Homer Lane, and Hawkspur Camp (Q Camps);
  • Then dashing down very early on the morning of May 17th to bathe in the unique fellowship that is the Community of Communities Annual Forum at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London, armed with video and audio recording equipment, in order to ultimately bring some of this spirit of query and therapeutic community renewal to the general public.
("So, that's what Archives do!")
Well, there is more...Taking in and processing 20 new accessions, for example; working on grant applications; following a Peacock moth down the footpath...)

7. Dates and Notes.

    • Reinden Wood House therapeutic community: To help unveil the plaque to commemorate the community which thrived in Hawkinge, Kent, from 1969 to 1980, meet in the Reinden Wood car park at 11 a.m. on Saturday JUNE 4th, 2016.

    • Alternative Educational Futures Conference, A day conference in memory of two radical educators, Prof. Roland Meighan (1937-2014) and Philip Toogood (1935-2013). Birmingham City University. "We anticipate this will be a popular event so please book your place early." JUNE 17, 2016. CLICK HERE

    • Braziers’s iu is looking for self experimenters to participate in two weekends in June 2016 thinking about Settlement (in the sense of place): Adventure in community and futures. JUNE 3-5, JUNE 17-19, 2016. For more information and to join in CLICK HERE.

    • AntiUniversity Now 2016: A kind of Wikipedia of mutually-enjoyable, challenging and stimulating education in real time and real space, with real people, taking place all over the UK, JUNE 9-12, 2016. Details and Maps of Event Locations: CLICK HERE.

8. What have we forgotten, and the request for donations

As soon as the newsletter goes out, we remember half a dozen things that should have been in it. If you've seen something missing that should be here, please let us know.

And finally: PETT relies on your gifts and donations to do all the things we do.

Please consider giving generously and frequently. The relatively hassle-free PETT MyDonate site makes it easy (other channels of support are available) -