Reimagining Sleep

Understanding and Reimagining Sleep and Its Disorders

A creative workshop series and art exhibition exploring the lived experience of sleep

Understanding and Reimagining Sleep and Its Disorders is a public engagement project launching at Northumbria University, funded by the Wellcome Trust (Research Enrichment – Public Engagement grant), and designed in partnership with The Sleep Charity. The project consists in a workshop series, an online art exhibition, and resources.

This project aims at facilitating knowledge-sharing around sleep issues and at fostering wellbeing through creative expression. We want to bring the most recent research in sleep science and the cultural study of sleep directly to people who live with sleep disorders and learn together. We will share stories of sleep, explore the impact of sleep disorders in our lives, and produce creative responses to sleep.

Workshop Series (February – April 2023)

If you are experiencing difficulties with your sleep and have connections to the Newcastle area, do join us for this creative workshop series

You’ll meet with researchers, psychologists, and artists to talk about the impact of sleep disorders in our lives. Together, we’ll produce creative responses about sleep which will be published as part of an online exhibition later in the year, and we’ll discuss ways to increase awareness and improve the wellbeing of people who live with sleep disorders.


To find out more about the project, click the button below to read the participant information sheet.


To sign up for the workshop series, click the button below and fill in the expression of interest form.

We recommend you attend one online workshop and one in-person workshop. Please select the theme that is more relevant to your sleep. We will confirm your participation a week before the online workshop you select is due to take place.

Workshops: Themes & Dates

Sleep and Parenting
  • Online, Monday 13th February, 11am-12pm. Led by Dr Diletta De Cristofaro and Dr Pam Alfonso-Miller. In this workshop, we’ll explore relevant examples of how sleep issues connected with parenting are represented in fiction, film, or TV, and we’ll engage with the group’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviours towards sleep and parenting.
  • In person, Saturday 18th March, 2-4pm, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle. Led by artist Chiara Dellerba. In this workshop, we will experiment with basic design composition, collage, and writing, to overcome sleep issues in fictional parenthood scenarios. We will develop a collaborative card game as a creative tool to foster stress-relief and sleep health.

Sleep and Ageing (recommended for people over 50)
  • In person, Sunday 19th March, 2-4pm, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle. Led by artist Chiara Dellerba. In this workshop, we will develop a mixed media meditation landscape, using creative writing, sound stimuli and intuitive drawing techniques. The drawings will inform the production of a limited series of blankets to use, with the meditation landscape, as a sleep first aid kit.
  • Online, Wednesday 19th April, 10-11am. Led by Dr Diletta De Cristofaro and Dr Greg Elder. In this workshop, we’ll explore relevant examples of how sleep issues connected with ageing are represented in fiction, film, or TV, and we’ll focus our discussions on how ageing affects sleep and vice-versa.

Sleep and Menopause
  • Online, Friday 3rd March, 6-7pm. Led by Dr Diletta De Cristofaro and Prof Jason Ellis. In this workshop, we’ll explore relevant examples of how sleep issues connected with the menopause are represented in fiction, film, or TV, and we’ll focus our discussions on how sleep affects the menopause and vice versa.
  • In person, Saturday 25th March, 2-4pm, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle. Led by artist Chiara Dellerba. In this workshop, we will trace the history of the uses of roots and plants, also commonly found in contemporary medicine, to ease menopausal symptoms. We will collaborate on designing a clay vessel where to store the plants as a ritualistic form of self and collective protection.

Further Information

We want anybody who is interested in the project and lives in Newcastle or within reasonable distance from the city to be able to participate. If you think you may need help with expenses connected with your participation, please get in touch with the project Research Assistant Dr James Rákóczi ([email protected]). We are happy to support the participation of those who need it by covering reasonable expenses

Workshop participants will be able to withdraw from the project at any time. If any research outcomes which describe the workshops are published or presented at conferences, the anonymity of participants will be protected and any data you may have provided will not be personally identifiable.

If you have any questions about the project, feel free to get in touch with the Principal Investigator, Dr Diletta De Cristofaro at [email protected].

Meet the Team

Dr Diletta De Cristofaro

Principal Investigator

Diletta is a Research Fellow at Northumbria University and leads the project. She is an expert in literary and cultural representations of sleep and facilitates all the online workshops.

Prof Jason Ellis

Core Collaborator

Jason is the Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research. He has worked in sleep medicine for around 20 years. He facilitates the Sleep and Menopause online workshop.

Chiara Dellerba

Artist & Creative Producer

Chiara’s work focuses on ecology, slowing down and collective-care practices. She facilitates all the in-person workshops and curates the online exhibition.

Dr Pam Alfonso-Miller

Core Collaborator

Pam is Postgraduate Associate at Northumbria University and an expert in sleep medicine, with a particular focus on children. She facilitates the Sleep and Parenting online workshop.

Dr Greg Elder

Core Collaborator

Greg is Associate Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research. His work on sleep is particularly concerned with healthy ageing. Greg facilitates the Sleep and Ageing online workshop.

Dr James Rákóczi

Research Assistant

James is a researcher who works across the fields of literature, philosophy, disability studies, and critical medical humanities. He helps run the project.

Vicki Beevers

Advisor

Vicki is the Founder and CEO of The Sleep Charity, our partner on the project. She sits on the Board of the British Paediatric Sleep Association and has been involved in a number of research studies around sleep.

Lisa Artis

Advisor

Lisa is the Deputy CEO of The Sleep Charity, our partner on the project. She has worked in the realm of sleep for more than 10 years and previously headed up The Sleep Council.

Click on the buttons below to sign up for the workshop series

Image credit: Chiara Dellerba.