West Lothian College worked with Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, an influencer in making Scotland a trauma-informed nation, to host eight performances of The Little Iceberg Musical last week.

The musical was based on the Little Iceberg book written by primary teacher, Nicky Murray, which many schools are using to explore trauma and stress. The book was transformed into a musical by Siobhan Argyle who wrote all the songs and music in just two weeks during lockdown.

As part of the college’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness of trauma and adverse childhood experiences, 763 students and 217 school pupils saw the musical in eight performances over four days. Most of the students are studying child, health and social care courses and an understanding of the impact that trauma has on people is very relevant to their future careers.

Nine workshops took place throughout the week, including one involving around 300 college staff. These gave students and staff the opportunity to hear more about understanding trauma from leading expert, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk.

The feedback was very positive from staff and students. Childhood practice student, Leanne Berry said:

“I loved the singing and I could see how children could relate to the story. I had read the book to my son who is 6 and he loved it and liked the kind bird. If he had seen this he would have understood the story even more as the music brought it to life.”

Dr Suzanne Zeedyk added:

“I have been absolutely delighted to support West Lothian College in their goal of leading an entire campus – staff, students and wider community – to be trauma-informed and trauma-responsive. It is unusual to find an organisation as resolutely committed to this vision as is the college, and using a musical production as a tool for boosting understanding is certainly a creative and brave move! 

My colleagues on the Anam Alba and connected baby teams have been inspired to see what is possible by partnership of this caliber. We can’t wait to hear what attendees take away from their experience of The Little Iceberg.”

West Lothian College Principal, Jackie Galbraith commented on the impact the musical had:

“Over four years ago, we set out our vision to be a mentally healthy, trauma informed college. By understanding the impact trauma has on people’s lives, we can better support those affected by it. The Little Iceberg Musical and the workshops help with that process of understanding. This was another step forward in West Lothian College being a trauma responsive college.”

West Lothian College's trauma-responsive practice is the focus of a current research study being conducted by the Colleges Development Network.