Storytelling for Health impact

Impact: Cultural impacts, Public policy impacts, Quality of life impacts, Social impacts

Description of impact

The Storytelling for Health project was run by Emily Underwood-Lee in collaboration with Prue Thimbleby at Abertawe Bro Morganwg University Health Board (ABMU). The collaboration resulted in a major international conference with contributions from over 200 delegates drawn from four continents. The conference was funded by Arts Council of Wales, Learned Society Wales, ABMU Charitable Trust, USW I2S scheme.

• An invited report was given to a meeting of the Welsh Assembly Government Cross Party Group on Arts and Health on the learning from the conference. The aim of this group is to inform policy making around arts and health in Wales.

• 82.2% of delegates reported making changes in their professional practice as a result of their attendance at the conference. (Storytelling for Health conference survey)

• As a result of the learning from the Storytelling for Health conference the first ever Clinical Nurse Specialist in Storytelling has been appointed at ABMU.

• A follow on conference scheduled for 2020 is being convened by a consortium of organisations in Herfordshire including the local health board, independent practitioners and local government.

• A Storytelling for Wellbeing Cafe for vulnerable groups in Swansea has been established and is being held monthly.

• A Digital Storytelling project with Narrative Therapist Leah Salter and three women with mental ill health was profiled at the conference. One of the participants, who shared her work at the conference, stated ‘when I gave my conference presentation to everyone, and I realised that my voice was reaching other people, I suddenly felt like a person and I felt like I was becoming myself and that people were seeing me as myself. I sort of felt like the most alive I have ever felt.’

• Networks have developed as a result of the conference enabling interdisciplinary collaborations; e.g. Dr Clive Weston (Swansea University, Medical School) has started to work with Dr David Alderson (ENT Surgeon, Torbay Hospital). Together Drs Weston and Alderson are developing ‘True Cuts’, Dr Alderson’s play about medical error, in various medical schools with each school organising for some of their own students to act/read the play locally in order that storytelling and arts approaches are embedded in medical education around medical error.

Quote from delegate
“I was present in the Swansea Bay area. I was humbly learning that this area was a shining beacon of care, health and wellbeing, a shining light of storytelling, arts and ultimately love. I feel more awakened, more alive. I note that I must take this back over the water, across the border to England. We badly need this caring loving ethos in England.”

How did your research contribute?

I was convener of this international conference

Who is affected?

clinical practitioners, arts practitioners, policy makers in both arts and health, general population in UK and beyond as recipients of improved healthcare provision
Impact date1 Jun 201731 Jan 2018
Category of impactCultural impacts, Public policy impacts, Quality of life impacts, Social impacts
Impact levelIn progress