Dr Shelley Tracey is a published writer whose career spans adult literacy, teacher education, creative writing facilitation and arts evaluation.  Shelley’s first poetry collection, Elements of Distance,  was published in 2017; she has also had many poems and stories published in journals and anthologies. She is part-time Literature and Verbal Arts Coordinator for Community Arts Partnership, Belfast. She has been writer in residence in a Belfast primary school since 2017. Shelley has received several awards from the Arts Council NI. This includes the role of Artist in the Community in  2015, with an intercultural creative writing project, A Write to a Sense of Belonging.

In 2016, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council awarded Shelley an arts grant to write a handbook on teaching creative writing, Putting the Creative into Creative Writing: Developing Confident Writers.  

Shelley is a Poetry Therapy Practitioner and Chair of the Irish Poetry Therapy Network. Poetry therapy is for individuals and groups in contexts such as personal development, self-care, grief, illness and mental health settings. It involves responding to inspiring poems, quotations and stories through creative writing, storytelling and art.  Poetry therapy can develop self-awareness, creativity and self-expression, and support wellbeing.

Shelley’s doctoral research was on teachers’ understandings of creativity in the NI curriculum.  She has written many articles on creativity, on poetry, and on the arts and wellbeing. She has evaluated the Prison Arts Foundation’s arts programmes in custodial settings, as well as their post-release arts mentoring programme.

Shelley has designed and facilitated many creative writing classes in a range of settings, including the following:

primary, secondary and special schools; community and women’s centres; arts centres; cancer support groups; am adult literacy tutor qualifications programme at Queens University Belfast;  mental health settings; groups of writers with sight loss;  a writing and art project with young people from Poland and Lithuania; and an arts project for women living with dementia, in association with a visual artist and a musician.

Shelley Tracey (right) receiving an Artist in the Community Award from the Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast Exposed Gallery, March 2015

For more information about Shelley’s writing and creative practice, follow the link below to an interview with Moyra Donaldson in Honest Ulsterman.










     Turn language inside out,




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