Kelly Mills

U of S student a born storyteller

By tapping into her creative side to express her research, Kelly Mills became a Storyteller.

Mills, who is completing her master's degree in counselling psychology in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), is a finalist in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Storytellers challenge, an annual contest in which post-secondary students from across the country demonstrate—in three minutes or 300 words—how SSHRC-funded research is making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

Her video entry details the work of her master's research, which focuses on how writing and self-expression impacts the lives of older adults. Mills will conduct open-ended interviews with members of The Memory Writers, a community-based seniors writing group that has been meeting monthly for more than 25 years to share original pieces of writing without critique or criticism.

By examining how participants' creative practice has affected their experiences of aging, with the concepts of meaning, identity and connection in mind, Mills' research intends to inform counsellors what it may mean to write one's life down and share it with others.

"These kinds of creative groups are often evaluated from a bystander's perspective, and so my research will instead invite participants to voice their own experiences with writing," said Mills, the only finalist from the U of S. "I'm honoured that my research is showcased, but I'm even more glad to be part of an initiative that connects academic work to the general population."

The top entries this year addressed a range of issues—from sustainable technologies and digital inequality, to food security, transgender issues and special-needs education—and will go on to compete in The Storytellers Showcase at the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, May 28 to June 3 in Calgary.

Watch Mills' entry, The Memory Writers: Sharing lives in a community writing group: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzxMbewpnWY 


For more information, contact:
James Shewaga
Media Relations Specialist
University of Saskatchewan
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