‘Therapy and well-being through heritage fieldwork?’

How community-inclusive heritage groups can deliver safe, beneficial and evidence-based projects from a medical and academic perspective.  

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A high number of heritage-based projects promote positive mental health and well-being amongst their participants.  Projects are endorsed by participants’ quotations extolling benefits such as increased confidence, motivation, happiness and self-awareness.  However, there exists very little in terms of academically robust evidence to support these claims particularly amongst charities, who often are the main pursuers of excellence within well-being.  In addition to the lack of research, few organisations underpin their work through engagement with health specialists.  As a result, some work that utilises heritage-based fieldwork to promote positive well-being may, in the long-term, unwittingly damage some participants’ health.


Aim of the workshop

During this one-day workshop participants will discuss various subjects that are inextricably linked to a person’s well-being, particularly within field conditions.  The aim is to pool expert knowledge and experience to agree, in principle, the starting point for the creation of a ‘good practice guide’ for any organisation working within the heritage space to use to ensure projects protect vulnerable individuals’ well-being whilst participating in heritage projects. The aim is not to engender competitiveness but to foster a sense of collaborative agreement amongst progressive organisations whose main aim is to help potentially vulnerable people.  Such agreed guidelines will demonstrate unity within our sector, will ensure beneficiaries’ safeguarding is the top priority and will demonstrate high levels of integrity, accountability, credibility and responsibility.

It is important to note that our intention is to immerse a medically and academically informed practice into heritage rather than look at this subject the other way around.



We are bringing together mental and physical health specialists, field-work partners, safe-guarding, anti-bullying, diversity and inclusion experts, academic researchers and other experts who can contribute to our conversations.


Location: Manchester Metropolitan University, Geoffrey Manton Building



0900- 0915 Registration

 0915 – 0925         Opening remarks from Faye Sayer, (Manchester Metropolitan University) GM337 LT

0925 – 0945         Address by Richard Dorney, (Strongmind Resiliency Training)  GM337  LT


0945 – 1000         Lavatory break – Delegates break into three groups, A, B and C


1000 – 1050         Group A to discuss Ethics and Language – Leader: Richard Dorney GM338

1000 – 1050 Group B to discuss Safeguarding and Publicity – Leader: Duncan Larcombe GM302

1000 – 1050 Group C to discuss The Value of Heritage and Success – Leader: Faye  Sayer GM301


1050 – 1110 Break – Tea available – Delegates break into two groups, 1 and 2


1110 – 1200 Group 1 – Research – Leader: Nicholas Harrison (Transperformance) GM338

1110 – 1200     Group 2 – Mental Health First Aid – Leader: Diarmaid Walshe (Soldier On!) GM333


1200 – 1300 Lunch GM338


1300 – 1310 Presentation on findings by Group A  LT5

1310 – 1320 Presentation on findings by Group B  LT5

1320 – 1330 Presentation on findings by Group C  LT5

1330 – 1340 Presentation on findings by Group 1  LT5

1340 – 1350 Presentation on findings by Group 2  LT5


1350 – 1405 Break


1405 – 1500      All delegates Universal agreement – Leader: David Jordan, (Liverpool John Moores University) LT5


1500 – 1515 Questions (Nicholas Harrison)  LT5


1515– 1530 Thank you – close and future actions by Faye Sayer  LT5


Drinks (TBC)












What words need to be fully understood, and acceptable to use, to ensure we don’t say things that cannot be defended through rigorous academic and medical scrutiny?


Safeguarding and Publicity

With a focus on protecting the anonymity, medical history and futures of participants.  How do organisations promote their work without damaging participants?

With reference to both physical and mental safety, how can we ensure participants and staff are kept safe in the field?


The Value of Heritage and Success

Based on our own experiences, and mindful of bias, how does heritage positively impact on an individual’s well-being?



With independence and high standards paramount, why do we conduct research? What should we research? What methods suit best? Who is best suited to conduct it?


Mental health first aid

Operating within the guidelines, how should mental health first aid be administered and by whom?




Universal agreement

What do we all wish to take away from this workshop, what do we wish to create and how can we secure participation from other organisations?