SPRING!: News from PETT
In this issue:
  1. Effervescence in Toddington
  2. Transition Project update
  3. Congratulations!
  4. New and Updated on the Website
  5. Common Roots 2017: May 20-21
  6. Report from the Archive and Study Centre
  7. Dates for the Diary
  8. Absent Friends.
PETT eNewsletter 27. May 1st, 2017

1. Effervescence in Toddington

Local mums-based group Bobbin & Twine have recently made Barns Centre their local base for regular art and craft workshops - workshops that are handmade for children, adults and families. They are a genuine treat. We urge all our readers to Get a group together - fill the Centre - revel in the colour, the creation, the freshly baked cookies, cakes and biscuits...For Bobbin & Twine's website, CLICK HERE.
Enjoy yourself, discover a lively local enterprise, and support PETT all at the same time!

2. Transition Project update

Updates will come fast and furious at some point, but at the moment a calm surface and a riotous progression of background meetings, ideas and initiatives are going along hand-in-hand. Jen - Jennifer Galloway - has settled in nicely as part of the Archive and Transition team, working her assistant archivist magic on a mountainous backlog of Archive tasks and records. Project Manager Fiona Talwar-Lomberg is liaising and guiding, exploring and troubleshooting, encouraging and challenging. Trustees and Executive Director Rich Rollinson are tackling the immense possibilities and challenges which confront the Trust, eliciting and listening to ideas and opportunities. A meeting of the Stakeholders support group has begun its task of blue sky thinking in a time of stormy weather...using their first meeting to learn more about one another, and to help the Trust understand the depths and reasons for their commitments to the Trust's future, and the range of practical experience stakeholders can bring in helping the Trust get there. You too are welcome to join - , and perhaps it is time for another online questionnaire. Our last online questionnaire - back when we were putting together our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for what became "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" - made a huge impact on ourselves and a significant contribution to the application.

3. Congratulations!

    • JOANNA GRUDZINSKA, documentary filmaker, of Les Films du Poisson, whose film on progressive/alternative education between the two World Wars in Europe - "School Revolution 1918-1939" - has been shortlisted for a FOCAL International award in the category "Best Use of Footage in a History Feature". A.S. Neill, Decroly, Geheeb, and more! Images you'll find in the Archive. For more information on the awards CLICK HERE.

    • SHAMA PARKHE, Clinical Psychologist and PETT Fellow, whose article "Mental Health in Schools. The Wellness Perspective", has been published in the online educational magazine Mentor, taking therapeutic community insights into schools and learning environments. CLICK HERE.

    • IMOGEN WILTSHIRE, special Art Historian and researcher from the University of Birmingham, whose examiners were very positive, who enjoyed her viva, and whose thesis on ‘Therapeutic Art Concepts and Practices in Britain and the United States (1937-1946)' was accepted. Congratulations Dr. Wiltshire.

    • MATT NAYLOR, archivist extraordinaire, whose talk "‘Sacrifice and service’: Sisters of Mercy in the Crimea and St John’s & St Elizabeth’s Hospital, 1854-1990" with colleague Jenny Smith goes live at the Religious Archives Group conference on May 5th at the Institute of Our Lady of Mercy in Bermondsey, London. For information, or to book a place, CLICK HERE.

    • CLAIRE CAMERON, of the Centre for Understanding Social Pedagogy at the Institute of Education, and member of the International Centre for Therapeutic Care, who has launched the new Social Pedagogy Professional Association. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    • THE BRITISH LIBRARY, whose award of £9.5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund completes the £18.8 million needed to establish the first ever national network of ten sound preservation centres, in order to save almost half a million rare and unique recordings threatened by physical degradation, or stored on obsolete formats. For more information on the game-changing, epoch-defining "Unlocking Our Sound Heritage" programme, CLICK HERE.

  • THE MULBERRY BUSH ORGANISATION. As the Mulberry Bush School approaches its 70th anniversary, and prepares to open its new 52-week house 'The Burrow' in 2018, the Organisation has celebrated with a brand refresh and by changing the name of its 'MBOX Teaching School' to 'The Mulberry Bush Outreach' to better reflect its work. To experience the new style and revised logos, and learn more about The Mulberry Bush Outreach, CLICK HERE.

4. New and Updated on the website

Brace yourselves. There have been 50! new webpages plus two! updates since the March newsletter. Check them all out. Enjoy.


  • What's New: Kaki Tree: February promise fulfilled in April: a canopy of leaves emerges from the buds. Caldecott daffodils still in bloom. CLICK HERE.
  • Therapeutic community pioneers Dennie Briggs and Rod Odgers discussing therapeutic community, homosexuality, friendship, and service in the United States Navy, 1955-1958. Both the British and American militaries spawned some of the earliest and most effective therapeutic communities. Newly added to the earlier webpage: The complete 20 minute video interview of Dennie Briggs and Rod Odgers by Nathan Johnson. It was made for the "Veterans Voices" program on Contra Costa Television, and is presented via PETT with the generous permission of Contra Costa Television and the Veterans' Voices team. A warm, generous, and insightful interview, with two of the speakers at our upcoming "Common Roots Event 2017" (see below). CLICK HERE.


    • "the amazing archive of all this work"... Book launch of THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF DEMOCRATIC THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY TREATMENT by Steve Pearce and Rex Haigh. Their book was formally introduced to the world after the Community of Communities Annual Forum at the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London on March 30, 2017. CLICK HERE.

    • Archival Dilemmas and the loss of a friend: Katy Pentith. A member of the PETT community remembered. Everyday life in a therapeutic community-informed Archive and Study Centre. CLICK HERE.

    • Letter from Shama in India: Good news and new developments for Hank Nunn Institute. PETT Fellow Shama Parkhe shares the latest developments towards building a therapeutic community programme in India. CLICK HERE.

    • Archival Pleasures: Community of Communities Annual Forum 2017 - full immersion in a culture of positive enthusiasm. An introduction to an annual therapeutic community festival, and even more reasons to be there and to be an archivist in a planned environment therapy-informed archive. CLICK HERE.

  • Re-Connecting with RadioTC International: Making up the remaining 46 webpages! ("Wow, that's a lot of work! - Thanks, PETT"): The iconic RadioTC International flourished between 2006 and 2009, putting almost 300 podcasts relating to therapeutic community into the eyes and ears of the World Wide Web, and even creating a presence on virtual-reality world Secondlife. Cut off in its prime by the whiplash of sudden Internet change, "Re-Connecting with RadioTC International" reconnects the sheered-off connections to make listening and watching 290+ podcasts easy once again. 46 new webpages to choose from. Journey back into exciting times. How far have we really come? CLICK HERE.
4. Common Roots 2017
5. The Wennington Association and PETT cordially invite you to
Common Roots 2017 - A Festival for Educational Alternatives:

'The Future and Progressive Education'

A mid-day to mid-day conference taking place on
20-21 May 2017, at The Planned Environment Therapy Trust,Church Lane, Toddington, Gloucestershire, GL54 5DQ

From Saturday, 12.30 hours, to Sunday, 14.00 hours.
Conference fee and all meals (lunch, dinner, lunch), £50.
Extremely interesting speakers, in an innovative format, and surprisingly inexpensive. For more information and to book a place, CLICK HERE.

6. Report from the Archive and Study Centre

Craig Fees writes:

Many thanks to volunteers Bob Lawton and Jane Springham, who continue to deepen the ability of the Archive and Study Centre to respond to queries and researchers, and to Trustee Linnet McMahon who has transcribed several David Wills manuscripts from the comfort of her home computer. And thanks to Belinda Boyes and Helen Moore, whose work on cataloguing the Mulberry Bush School records and the Child Care History Library respectively, also supports access to history, and the future learning and exploration of others.

On which: Cherished visits of exploration have come from Ingrebourne psychotherapeutic community/Richard Crocket researcher Tom Harrison, and from members of the Oxford therapeutic environments research team, Peter Agulnik, David Millard, Jonathan Leach and anthropologist Neil Armstrong, as well as a police team working on cases of historical institutional abuse. Our own fieldwork has taken us up to Yorkshire to see David Lane CBE about his books and records, to the Community of Communities Annual Forum in London, and to the Forest of Dean to see the strides being made at the Dean Heritage Centre - if you haven't visited this vibrant museum and inspiring centre of local history and heritage (and nature, and a great little cafe) you should.

Along with the everyday work of accepting and accessioning new material, sorting, cataloguing, responding to questions and requests for advice, digitising, troubleshooting, networking, working on ways and events to get the collections out to the world and vice versa, we also have the Transition Project, and the invitation it gives to think about the future and to re-examine the past. After almost 30 years of the Archive and Study Centre there is a fair amount of past to re-examine, and if PETT gets the answers right, there is a fair amount of future ahead of it. A key element is simply to look at what a planned environment therapy-informed Archive and Study Centre is and what, if anything, makes it so special. Apart from the perennial and acute question of survival, another is the question, 'What else could we do to realise the fullest potential of the history and experience the Archive and Study Centre holds?" Any thoughts are very welcome (contact Craig This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

With this in mind, I keep coming across past reports, papers and blogs and thinking, "Wow, that's well written," and "Boy, are you right!" - e.g., "Getting it Right, Getting it Wrong" (2013), "An Engaged Archive and Study Centre" (2003); “Insight into an archive specialising in records devoted to work with disturbed, delinquent and distressing people” (2005); "Archive Problems are Fun Problems" (2014. Subtitled: 'A paper presented to mark and celebrate 25 years of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust Archive and Study Centre, crystallising the philosophy, experience and practice of an award-winning archive service'); 2012/13's "A quarter of a century: Thankyou". And more. Who has the time to read these, much less write them?

The contents of reports are more difficult to share, because they often hold sensitive and even confidential material; but they also hold within them many of the dreams and initiatives of the past 30 years, some realised and some unrealised. Resources are the perennial bugbear - resources and Events -: hence unrealised plans to expand the accommodation so that we could offer residential events for more people; or a new, purpose-built 100-seater lecture and events theatre, to amplify our teaching, training and event capacity. There is blue-sky thinking - about new sites for the Centre and what those might look like, and the original dream to build the Archive and Study Centre alongside a working therapeutic community, in order to realise the deep possibilities of bringing together practice, scholarship and the past experience embodied in what we call history.

All this rethinking the future through a wrestle with the past is strangely exhilarating; which means that it is more than a little disturbing, both in the good and the uncomfortable ways. Perhaps that in itself is part of the key to the meaning of a therapeutic community-informed Archive and Study Centre: containing the uncontainable joys and distresses which the archives and the living people and institutions engender, as part of the everyday task of the Archive; and trying to find ways to turn them to positive use for the charity and for others.

Meanwhile, among the tasks at the core of the work of every archive are the accessions - the additions to the collections, library, archive, oral history and museum:
Leaving aside audio, video, and photographic recordings created by the Archive and Study Centre itself, over the past month we have taken in another section of child care consultant David Lane's considerable library and set of papers; further contributions in psychoanalyst Judith Issroff's ongoing digital diaries; a copy of Steve Pearce and Rex Haigh's "The Theory and Practice of Democratic Therapeutic Community Treatment", signed and donated by the authors (thanks, guys); the ten volume hardcopy report of the Northern Ireland Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry; books from the professional library of psychiatrist David Millard; a beautiful colour photograph of the late Katy Pentith, given by her brother John; further Mulberry Bush School files; and a DVD of Joanna Grudzinska's documentary, "School Revolution 1918-1939", given by the author.

7. Dates for the Diary

May 20th to May 21st. "The Future and Progressive Education". The fourth annual Common Roots Event, prepared by the Wennington Association with P.E.T.T. Being Wennington-inspired it is breaking new ground and exploring possibilities for PETT and its Archive and Study Centre (and is book-ended and centred by food!). Takes place at PETT. Not to be missed. For more information and to reserve a place CLICK HERE.

May 24th. "Conflict Talk in Therapeutic Community Group Meetings", TCTC Research and Development Group seminar. Speaker: Marco Pino. Time :1.30pm until 4pm. Where: King’s College London. Cost: £15 for TCTC members £20 for non-members £10 Unwaged. To book, and more information: CLICK HERE

June 23rd. "Playing with Winnicott": A Symposium. A FREE day of presentations from scholars interested in Donald Winnicott with keynote speaker Professor Lesley Caldwell. Hosted by Sociology Department and Department of Health Research Lancaster University, at Lancaster University. To book, and more information: CLICK HERE.

August 30th to September 3rd. Register before the end of June. "Making Real Change Happen", the 20th international conference of ISPS, The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis. At the University of Liverpool. "Can a conference be a catalyst for change?" (YES!) Information and Registration: CLICK HERE

October 16th to 18th. The famous Windsor Conference at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park. Presented by TCTC. For updates CLICK HERE.

October 20th to 22nd. "Decision Making and Accountability", Learning From Action 7th International Working Conference in Italy. A temporary learning community exploring unconscious communication and its influence in decision-making. More information: CLICK HERE.(pdf document)

8. Absent friends.

James King
Simon Rodway's obituary of James King OBE, the former Director of the Caldecott Community, can be SEEN HERE.

Ralph Gee
It will take some time to absorb the news of the death of Ralph Gee, a former Red Hill School student who has been a close friend and colleague for PETT and the Archive and Study Centre since his first enthusiastic phone call out of the blue in 2001. He was an active member of the nucleus of people who helped formulate and then shepherd the "Therapeutic Living With Other People's Children" project to successful completion. Here is a glimpse of Ralph, in the report of the discussions at the project's open day in 2010:
  • Project Management Group member Ralph Gee returned to the word 'belonging' and to belonging itself, stressing the need for facts and how difficult they can be to find, highlighting the need to find ways of gathering and of making information known. A great deal of invaluable experience, knowledge and understanding was carried around by former children and staff, and "We're dying".

Ralph can be heard in his own words in various places:
  • "Basically, I was really, really up for the wicked teenage werewolf genre thing: a personal rationale of Red Hill School [1947-53]'. The Joint Newsletter #9, December 2003, pages 33-36. CLICK HERE. (and then scroll)
  • Audio [but text only. Internet whiplash has apparently stripped audio connection out. To be restored]:
  • "Dogwatch Cowboy", the opening chapters of his memoir of National Service life in the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. More to come. CLICK HERE
  • Ralph Gee's mural of Red Hill School: CLICK HERE.
But Ralph's personal living voice, and the urgently vital mind and intellect behind it, are now behind us. It is difficult to believe.