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How can a relatively small British-based charity, adapting to economically turbulent times and their austerities, and increasingly dependent on gifts, donations and grants to be able to extend and develop its work - how can this relatively small charity continue to shine a light on extraordinary work and the individuals at the centre of it?

One way is through PETT Fellows.  Established in 2013, the Fellows Programme is a tool devised by Trustees to extend and develop the Trust's working relationships, and to provide a home base to creative Fellows for their research and thinking, and for the development of work and projects together.

Our first Fellow was Carolyn Mears, the Colorado resident whose personal experience of the Columbine High School shootings in 1999 has led her into an ongoing intensive study of trauma and traumatic events - how to prevent, communicate,  survive, and transform the devastating and debilitating consequences of trauma into resilience and growth. In a visit to the Mulberry Bush School several years ago she saw the therapeutic community response to early childhood traumatic experience in action; and we realised how much her work, and the work pioneered and established over many years by therapeutic communities, converge.

She is now joining us again for a very busy fortnight, a working guest of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust who will be using her base at PETT in Toddington to share her skills and insights with groups and audiences here and abroad: 

  • On April 27th she takes part in the inaugural day conference of the Oral History Society's new 'Psycho-Social Therapies and Care Environments' Special Interest Group, giving a reflective presentation based in the conference theme of "Where I'm Coming From/What I'm Doing".
  • She will then turn her attention to recorded interviews around the traumatic closure of New Barns School, using and teaching the Gateway Approach to oral history through concrete examples.
  • On May 3rd she joins students, public and staff at Nottingham University, launching the University's newly-formed Criminal Justice Network with her presentation "Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma", workshops and seminars.
  • A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, she then spends a day with Stephen Steinhaus, and students and staff of Ipsley and Arrow Vale RSA Academies, on another exploration of the issues around traumatic experience, prevention, preparation, amelioration...
  • Before applying herself to interviews recorded with former students and staff of Wennington School, again teaching and demonstrating the Gateway Approach, in preparation for
  • Taking part in the start of the Wennington Old Scholars Archive Week, and then
  • Taking part in the Common Roots Event on May 10th, "Re-Creation and Community", with another presentation designed to stimulate discussion. Before flying home.

A very busy time! Join us if you can.


Read the blog Carolyn has written for her presentation at the University of Nottingham: "After Columbine: Learning to rebuild our lives".