Past Research Projects

Dates 
2016 - 2018

Funders 
Heritage Lottery fund


Research team

Lead Investigator:Dr Emily Underwood-Lee (FCI), Project Associate: Catrin James.

External Partners
Welsh Perry and Cider Society

The Welsh Perry & Cider Society and George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling are collaborating on a project titled 'The Heritage of Orchards and Cider Making in Wales', and will focus on three areas of activity:
1. Working with 14 community groups to regenerate old orchards and/or identify areas for new plantings. Groups will be supported with apple and pear trees (to include heritage Welsh varieties), training, event support and installation of interpretation. Biodiversity management plans will also be produced as a key starting point for development and implementation.
2. Exploring and recording Welsh Heritage cider and perry fruit through DNA fingerprinting, qualitative observation of trees, and single variety juice fermentation trial to produce a comprehensive online catalogue. 
3. Telling the modern story of orcharding and cider making in Wales through the collection of oral histories and digital stories. Working with University of South Wales to produce a digital collection accessible online.
GEECS is leading on stream 3 of the project.

Anticipated Outcomes 
A collection of oral histories will be recorded and archived. These cider maker oral histories, in the form of a combination of digital stories and sound recordings, will be made available through the WPCS website to give audiences a more personal experience and understanding of heritage, and to also ensure that this detail is correctly documented and stored for future generations. Information about archived material will also be listed online, so that it is researchable and easily accessible, i.e. links to St Fagans, Peoples Collection Wales, local record offices etc. A project report will be completed and made publicly available. A mobile exhibition will be housed with the Welsh Perry and cider Society to ensure the project findings are widely disseminated. It is also anticipated that a number of peer reviewed articles will report the findings of the project.

For more information contact: Catrin James. See the stories on Vimeo, follow the project on FacebookSoundcloudTwitter, and on the project Instagram.

Dates
2016

Funders
USW Impact Innovation Scheme

Research team
Investigators: Dr Emily Underwood-Lee (USW)

External Partners 
Prue Thimbleby, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board (ABMU)

GEECS and ABMU are spending a period of time collaborating in order to strengthen links with a view to creating a strategic partnership which can lead to a number of future projects and funding applications. This area of work is directly in line with the key challenge area of life sciences and health and the use of storytelling approaches in order to achieve health outcomes is an innovative methodology in relation to this challenge area. A strategic partnership with ABMU health board enables GEECS to meet the RCUK aims of “increasing the effectiveness of public services and policy” and “enhancing quality of life, health and creative output”. Storytelling and Health is an area that is increasingly prominent within both policy and practice.

The project imperatives are: 1 To complete two funding applications by the end of July 2016 which enable the establishment of a 2017 conference on Storytelling and Health and ensure the longevity of the strategic partnership between GEECS and ABMU.
2 To understand and show the value that storytelling and the arts can bring to health and wellbeing through completing the groundwork for a conference to take place in June 2017 at which best practice can be shared and by producing a conference report and peer reviewed publication.
3 To maximize the impact of storytelling for health and inspire further work in this field by bringing together stakeholders, policy makers, funders and practitioners at a conference in June 2017.
4 To leave a legacy through establishing a storytelling for health network to be jointly managed by ABMU and GEECS.
5 To create a sound base for future collaborations between GEECS and ABMU leading to at least one further collaborative funding application following the 2017 conference.

Outcomes

Dates 

2015-2018

Funders
Arts Council of Wales (2015-16)

Research team
Emily Underwood-Lee, David Ambrose (Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival)

Research context
This series of three seminars brings together two major organisations representing storytelling in Wales to explore storytelling in performance.

Research questions
What motivates performance storytellers to make particular choices about what stories they tell?
What are the practical issues when storytellers prepare stories for performance?

Research methods
A series of three performances will be presented, these will be followed by responses and chaired discussions with academics. These seminars will introduce performance storytelling to new audiences and give existing storytelling audiences the chance to consider some of the key questions guiding the development and presentation of stories in performance.

Research findings
ongoing

Research outputs
Events:

25 November 2015, ATRIUM – Theatre, 5pm

Storytelling in Performance: Sally Pomme Clayton – The White Bear King

Post-show discussion: Sally Pomme Clayton and Michael Carklin

3 February 2016, ATRIUM – Theatre, 5pm

Storytelling in Performance: Dominic Kelly – The Hero Light

Post-show discussion: Dominic Kelly and Dr Alice Entwistle

13 April 2016, ATRIUM – Theatre, 5pm

Storytelling in Performance: Simon Heywood and Shonaleigh – Out of Silence

Post-show discussion: Simon Heywood, Shonaleigh and Prof. Richard Hand

11 October 2017, ATRiUM – CA B218, 5pm

Storytelling in Performance: Robin Williamson – Drawing Newly on the Bardic Heritage of Scotland and Ireland

Post-show discussion: Prof. Joseph Sobol

6 December 2017, ATRiuM – CA B218, 5pm

Storytelling in Performance: Daniel Morden – The Empty Hand

Post-show discussion: Dr Emily Underwood-Lee

31 January 2018, ATRiuM – CA B218, 5pm

Storytelling in Performance: Tamar Eluned Willams

Post-show discussion: Dr Marta Minier

Dates 2012 - ongoing

Funders n/a

Team 
The Storytelling in Wales group is convened by the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales, and including representatives of Beyond The Border Storytelling Festival, Literature Wales, Voluntary Arts Wales, NIACE Dysgu Cymru, CyMAL: Museums Archives and Libraries Wales, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, and Cadw, along with independent storytellers.

Context 
The Storytelling in Wales project aims to understand the scope and diversity of Storytelling practice in Wales and to find ways that interested organisations and individuals can work together to promote best practice and develop the art form and the ways in which it can be of use to communities.

Methods
The storytelling in Wales group meets quarterly and members of the group work collaboratively on specific partnerships and projects.

Dissemination and impact
The Storytelling in Wales group presents projects and reports in variety of contexts, for example the Summer of Stories 2014 is a new initiative which will raise awareness of the importance of storytelling in many aspects of our lives and provide opportunities for people to immerse themselves in the living heritage of Welsh storytelling. It will feature an online platform with listings of storytelling events happening around Wales. John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, said: 
“We have thousands of stories to tell in Wales, and this initiative is a great way to raise awareness and encourage people to engage in storytelling this summer.

“This also supports the Welsh Government’s literacy campaign, Make Time to Read, which aims to raise awareness of the benefits of reading with a child for just ten minutes a day. Storytelling is a great way to capture a child’s imagination and inspire a love of stories and reading from a young age.”

Outputs
www.summerofstories.org.uk.

Dates
2017/18

Funders
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: Michael Carklin (FCI),

The pilot phase of a larger storytelling project focusing on parents who live at a distance from their children including: noncustodial mums and dads through divorce arrangements, business travellers, military staff, truckers, and refugees, amongst others.

This larger project aims to contribute to making a genuine impact through: * developing a digital storytelling project focusing on long-distance mums and dads; * creating an image theatre workshop programme to explore approaches to the problems and challenges of long-distance parenting; * devising and performing a theatre production based on the storytelling and image theatre workshops; * publishing research drawing on these processes to contribute to arts research and social policy; and * setting up a longer term support organisation, including a website that would include collected stories.

Outputs
• The researching and implementing of a method to identify and engage appropriate participants, given that potential participants may be geographically spread and are not necessarily part of a pre-existing group. 
• The facilitating of two story-circle sessions, one with each of the identified groups.
• The audio recording and editing of three individual stories from each group in collaboration with the relevant participants, i.e. a total of six stories. 
• The sharing of these first stories.
• The development of a project plan beyond the pilot phase including: * the submission of a grant application, * the identification of, and contact with, potential collaborative partners, within and beyond USW, to develop the project further.
• The writing and presentation of a research paper.

Dates
2014 – 2017

Funders
AHRC

Research team
Prof. Joe Smith leads Story 1 “Demanding Times”
Dr. Renata Tyszczuk of the University of Sheffield School of Architecture leads Story 2 “Future Works”
Karen Lewis and Prof Hamish Fyfe of University of South Wales lead Story 3 “Life Cycles
Dr David Llewellyn is Senior Research Assistant for the University of South Wales.

The team also includes:

Robert Butler (The Open University)
Dr. Rosie Day (University of Birmingham, geography)
Prof. Axel Goodbody (University of Bath, literature)
Dr. David Llewellyn (University of South Wales)
Dr. Mel Rohse (University of Birmingham)
Dr. Bradon Smith (University of Bath/The Open University, literature)
Dr. Julia Udall (University of Sheffield, architecture)
Dr. Nicola Whyte (University of Exeter, history)
Prof. Zdenek Zdrahal and team (Open University Knowledge Media Institute)
and our core-team arts organisation partners Peter Gingold (Tipping Point) and Yvette Vaughan-Jones (Visiting Arts)

Research context
Public and political conversations about energy have stalled: we urgently need to revive them if we are to achieve the decarbonisation that climate change demands, and that the UK Government’s Climate Change Act commits us to. The Stories of Change project aims to encourage a more imaginative approach to current and future energy choices. Working with local communities in South Wales and the Midlands and communities of interest around energy policy, we will explore our relationship with energy — how it has changed in the past, how we think about energy now, and how we envisage it in the future.

Research questions
1. Community Co-production: What work can stories do to address disengagement and disempowerment, and catalyse energy debates and actions? 
2. Shared Investigations & Social Change: How can interdisciplinary research centred on stories support more imaginative and open thinking in society at large about transformations in energy systems? 
3. Digital Tools: In what ways can digital tools support more plural and dynamic accounts of society-energy relations?

Research methods
This interdisciplinary project draws on expertise in history, literature, social and policy research, community engagement and the arts — all working with stories, in one form or another. History, digital storytelling, fictional narratives, and scenarios of the future each communicate different ideas about the consequences of change for everyday life, and explain different perspectives and attitudes towards change.

Research findings
Research findings will be disseminated throughout the course of the project.

Dissemination and impact
Our publicly accessible online Stories Platform will be our tool for curating and sharing the stories created and uncovered, along with a range of research and archive material gathered throughout the project.

Research outputs
We plan an academic book – Energetic: Stories of Change — and special issues of appropriate journals. We will co-produce a range of creative outputs with our partners – to be published on the Stories Platform.

http://storiesofchange.ac.uk/

Dates
2013 – 2014

Funders Arts Council of Wales, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Nesta

Research team
Re-DrAW Consortium led by Prof Hamish Fyfe and including Prof David Frohlich, Elin Haf Jones, Prof Doug Tudhope, Prof Khalid Al-Begain, Dr Andreas Vlachidis

Research context
The Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts in Wales is a partnership between the Arts Council of Wales, Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Nesta to support arts projects across Wales to work with digital technologies. The aims of the £400,000 fund are to expand audience reach and engagement and to explore new business models for the arts sector in Wales through the use of digital technology, with support from the academic consortium.

Research questions
As well as providing research support for each of the individual projects, Re-DrAW will be undertaking research that covers the wider impact of the programme for the arts sector in Wales. In particular, they will be looking at the impact of collaboration on arts organisations, the role that digital technology can play in the arts and how new business models might develop as a result of this technology – See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/blog/introducing-re-draw-research-consortium-digital-rd-fund-arts-wales#sthash.z3zWOZWR.dpuf

Research methods
The research team will be calling for innovative arts projects that require support to explore how to use digital technologies to reach audiences. They will be working closely with each of the funded projects to develop research plans and propositions and to ensure clear and rigorous data strategies are put in place to collect, store and analyse the data necessary to share the lessons learnt with the wider sector.

Research findings
The 18 month project is expected to deliver a number of outcomes and collaborations through Wales’ arts and technology sectors.

Dissemination and impact
The consortium will shares lessons and information at a series of collaborative workshops that will be held throughout 2014.

Research outputs
Outputs will be shared over the course of the project.

Dates 2011 – 2014

Funders BT

Research team 
Hamish Fyfe, Mike Wilson, David Frohlich

Research context
This project seeks to explore the barriers facing rural communities in accessing university outreach programmes and to explore new modes of delivery, enhanced through harnessing the capacity of Next Generation Broadband Access, which will deliver speeds of up to 100mps. Furthermore, it will explore new ways of developing and delivering provision through a partnership model of universities and rural communities working together with internet providers and other local businesses. The project also proposes to explore a learning model which focuses upon the community, rather than the individual. The project will also focus upon developing a creative curriculum with a view to developing the creative infrastructure and the creative economy in rural areas.

Research questions

  • What might new models of engagement between universities and rural communities look like?
  • How might new delivery models of university outreach provision be designed?
  • How might digital technology and NGA Broadband capability help deliver these services more effectively?
  • How might these engagements facilitate social (and socialized) learning within rural communities and so contribute towards economic and social sustainability?
  • How might different rural communities be linked and networked through the model?
  • How might we develop a sustainable business model for the University of the Village?

Research methods
The researchers are working with six individual rural communities (two in Cornwall; two in Wales and two in Southern England), interviewing members of each of the six communities and then delivering specifically designed curriculums via blended learning or through delivery via superfast broadband. The critical innovation is that the community will themselves become curriculum co-designers with their university partners.

Research outputs
The project proposes a number of outcomes, ranging from a practical model for developing the work further to the dissemination of the project findings via an academic conference and/or presentation. The anticipated project outcomes are:

  • A business model for a sustainable University of the Village
  • A series of online resources, including an online network
  • A policy report, evaluating the project and proposing a new model for university engagement with rural communities
  • Academic paper/conference presentation

The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling is proud to be a partner in the Wales Assembly Government’s Communities 2.0 programme. Communities 2.0 aims to tackle digital exclusion in the Convergence areas of Wales. The centre aims to become a centre of excellence in Digital Storytelling and Participatory Media within the Communities 2.0partnership. Digital exclusion is an issue in many communities across Wales and the centre aims to help tackle these issues through hands on community based workshops around narrative and storytelling in a digital format through digital photography, audio recording, digital video editing and DVD production.


Dates
2008 – 2015

Funders
Welsh Government / WEFO

Research team
Research lead – Karen Lewis, 
Project Team – Chris Morgan, Angharad Dalton, Laura Howe, Ruari McLaren, Lisa McIntyre

Research context
The Welsh Government’s flagship digital inclusion initiative delivered by a consortium of five partners led by the Wales Co-Operative Centre.

Research questions
The GEECS’s contribution lies in the field of digital storytelling and other creative media application as a route to digital inclusion.

Research methods
A team of four outreach workers deliver digital storytelling in communities across Wales. We have a PhD scholar attached to the project.

Research findings
The project continues to be evaluate externally and the reports can be found on Welsh Government website.

Dissemination and impact
It has enabled over 22,231 individuals and 232 community groups to become digitally literate, better accessing civic and consumer life, becoming less isolated and improving their employability. The Centre’s team have been directly responsible for disseminating best practice in digital creativity and passing on skills to demographic groups likely to be excluded, for example, the long-term unemployed and the elderly. GEECS have also provided public conferences, seminars and research events to ensure the work reaches policy makers, community organisations and other stakeholders.

Research outputs
https://sites.google.com/site/digitalinclusionjournal/home
http://geecs.tumblr.com/


Our commitment is to encourage and enable community groups to apply these principles and approaches to wide range of issues that are both sustainable and fit for purpose.

Read more about our Communities 2.0 work on our blog.

Dates
Feb 2012 – Jan 2013

Funders
AHRC Connected Communities

Research team
Tom Henfrey and Rachel Pain (Durham University), Ute Kelly and Rhys Kelly (Bradford University), Hamish Fyfe ( University of Glamorgan), Ben Brangwyn, Naresh Giangrande and Nicola Hillary (Transition Network) Michelle Bastian (Edinburgh University), Jody Boehnert (Eco-labs)

Research context
Social movements, like public and voluntary sector organisations, are fielding increasing numbers of requests from researchers as the academic impact agenda gather pace. The UK Transition movement has seen a rapid rise in external research interest, which creates demands on time and resources and is sometimes of little benefit. As a group of Transition activists and academic researchers, we conducted a participatory action research study into the research, learning and evaluation experiences and needs of Transitioners.

Research questions
How can relationships among researchers, the Transition Network, and local Transition initiatives be mutually beneficial?

Research methods
The team first led a process of documenting and reflecting on experiences of researcher engagement with transition. The learning from this phase fed into the design of strategies and protocols for enhancing knowledge sharing and researcher engagement. A series of pilot workshops was held, to test new approaches and respond to needs identified by the transition network. Throughout, the project experimented with a co-inquiry methodology inspired by permaculture design, chosen for its relevance to the Transition movement (itself informed by permaculture).

Research findings
The main outputs from this project included guidelines for managing relationships between academic researchers and Transition groups or communities, a report for a general audience that summarised key findings from the documentation, design and piloting phases, and an academic article in a peer-reviewed journal.

Dissemination and impact
The work was disseminated through a variety of channels including work with Transitions groups, 
Network meetings, workshops, an improved set of guidelines for Transition Research, an application to the ESRC’s Knowledge Exchange programme for further funding and the development of a proposal Transition: Reporting, Evaluation and Engagement, submitted to the EU’s FP7 programme on February 28th 2013.

Research outputs
For details of all outputs check http://www.transitionresearchnetwork.org/connected-communities.html.

In 2012-2013 the Centre collaborated with CyMAL (Welsh Museums, Archives and Libraries, since 2016 Museums, Archives and Libraries). For CyMAL we developed and delivered a one-day accredited course in storytelling for library, archive and museum staff, delivered in Caernarfon, Camarthen, and Swansea. We also published Still Spell Bound: Story Times in Welsh Museums, Archives and Libraries (download in English) / O Dan yr Hen Gyfaredd: Amseroedd Stori yn Amgueddfeydd, Archifau a Llyfrgelloedd Cymru (download in Welsh), a report on the current status of storytelling practices and how to build on them.

Dates
2010 – 2012

Funders
AHRC

Research team
Karen Lewis, Mike Wilson (Falmouth University), Sarah Chapman (Falmouth University), Francesca Booker, White Loop .

Research context
Project ASPECT was born from a more general search for new communication tools to help the wider public engage with important but inaccessible issues. In particular, the project considers the complex issue of climate change. ASPECTrecognises that to date, climate change communication has engaged a narrow audience and stimulated a limited public dialogue. As a result, ASPECT explores how the wider public might connect to the climate change discussion through digital storytelling.

Research questions
As a pilot research project, Aspect engaged an audience that are ‘hard to reach’ via traditional modes of communication. Specifically, Aspect focused on “How digital storytelling might be used as a tool to engage the public with the issue of climate change?”

To investigate the research question, Aspect worked closely with a wide range of community members and groups in 4 communities across the UK to:

Explore individuals’ narrative responses to Aspect’s bank of digital stories and workshop activities, gather impressions on the potential of Aspect’s bank of digital stories to provoke narrative responses associated with climate change; and
consider the exchange of individual’s narrative both within group settings and through online platforms.

Research methods
Digital stories were created and archived in a user restricted digital media library where they were cross-referenced and tagged to ensure maximum accessibility. Researchers used the online archive to identify and evaluate wider narratives around climate change, and more broadly communication. The scalability of this approach was also assessed in order to inform other areas of public policy engagement. Led by the University College Falmouth (UCF) and the University of Glamorgan, the research team also includes the digital media consultancy White Loop and the Government Department of Energy and Climate Change. This multi-partner collaboration is beneficial, with each partner providing complementary expertise.

Research findings
Findings included a set of ‘tools’ underpinned by a robust methodology, that can be deployed within any public policy context to create a new model for public engagement.

Dissemination and impact
The research curated stories of climate change, and presented these through digital media aimed directly at influencing public debate, understanding and policy. Research findings have been presented to senior staff at the Government Department of Energy and Climate Change and have been acknowledged as leading in the field of climate change communication in the national press (see “The 'art’ of climate change communication”, Adam Corner, theguardian.com, 18 March 2013. Available online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/art-climate-change-communication. The findings of Project Aspect have been disseminated at international conferences (e.g. ‘People and the Planet’ July 2013, RMIT University, Melbourne and ‘Transatlantic Solutions to Sea Level Rise Adaptation: Moving Beyond the Threat’ October 2013, Old Dominion University, Virginia) ensuring the impact continues and has a global reach.

Research outputs
http://www.projectaspect.org/home

Dates
2011 – 2012

Funders
AHRC Connected Communities

Research team
Jane Milling, 
Hamish Fyfe, 
Josie Billington, 
Kerrie Vanessa Schaefer

Research context
Well-being has variously been defined in relation to health, ‘happiness’ and the environment. Most commentators suggest that well-being is primarily about the quality of connections to one’s friends, family, local environment, nation and communities, that is, a social quality.

Research questions
How do participatory arts create and sustain social and thus community well-being? 
What can the communities involved in participatory community arts can tell us community well-being?

Research methods
The project brought together academics, community arts practitioners and organisations, policymakers and health professionals for three network events to explore the role of participatory arts.

Research findings
Several pressing issues emerged including questions of evaluation, benefits 
and experience, socio-economic inequality, the quality and integrity of artistic processes.

Research outputs
Billington, J. Fyfe, H. Milling, J. and Schaefer, K. (2012) Participatory Arts and Well-being: Past and Present Practices. Available at http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/Funding-Opportunities/Research-funding/Connected-Communities/Scoping-studies-and-reviews/Documents/Participatory-arts-wellbeing.pdf

Dates
2010 – 2012

Funders
AHRC Connected Communities

Research team
Fyfe H, University of South Wales; Brant C, Kings College London; Eggleston P, UCLAN; Frohlich D, University of Surrey; Hackney F, Falmouth University College; Jordan G, University of South Wales; Wakeford T, University of Edinburgh; Wilson M, Falmouth University College; Thompson S.
Community Partners: Butetown Museum and Art Gallery, Cardiff, the Community Media Association, Strandlines, the Knight Foundation, Visiting Arts, ICA.

Research context
In this project we aim to take community media to the next level in the UK as a force for local democracy, creativity, enterprise and change.

Research questions
The project focussed on the following questions:
i. How can resources from the past (community history, cultural heritage, archives) and resources from the present (storytelling, experiential narratives, citizen journalism, arts) be used to encourage forms of participation, well-being and resilience that enable communities to build a creative foundation for prosperity? 
ii. How can imagination bring more creative agency to individuals and communities, and what is the role of creative practitioners and academics in enabling the development of imaginative agency? 
iii. How can technology help develop the expressive potential of communities, and facilitate cross-media exchange within and between communities? 
iv. What techniques and technologies would best support connections within and between communities so as to create meaningful and communicable legacies? 
v. How can the resources, imagination, technology and social media produced by CoRe make a positive contribution to social policy?

Research methods
Working with the Community Media Association, the Visiting Arts programme of the ICA and the Knight Foundation, the project team connected five disparate community media projects and their communities, to explore with them new ways of generating, distributing and above all using community media artefacts for positive social change. The first half of the project introduced a community journalism approach across the communities and then encouraged them to develop more sustainable processes of content creation and allowed them to share content and best practice in face-to-face, print and web-based form. The second half of the project explored new forms of interactive digital storytelling with existing community materials, and the development of what we termed ‘innovation journalism’. This can be defined as a form of journalism oriented towards social enterprise and change, and was used here to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in the commercialisation of media archives and the lobbying or creation of organisations to improve the welfare of communities. This was done through a series of community challenges whose themes were taken from social issues emerging from the journalism.

Dissemination and impact
Through the use of ‘innovative journalism’ the project aimed to turn community media creation from an activity which articulates the experience and needs of a community, into one which also supports a form of imaginative agency about how those needs might be addressed.

Dates
2012

Funders
Tenovus

Research team
Karen Lewis, Katherine Hughes

Research context
The project was developed as part of a series of creative projects for people with cancer developed by Tenovus.

Research questions
Can creative writing be used as a beneficial intervention for people living with cancer?

Research methods
The project consisted of six facilitated writing sessions. These were followed by semi structured interviews with participants.

Research findings
Participants emphasised the benefits of being in an environment that understands cancer, but not always talking about it. Write with Us met needs for the participants including providing support to all the participants without being a ‘support group’.

Dissemination and impact
The participants in the group continued the writing sessions and Tenovus now run two regularly ‘Write with Us’ groups.

Research outputs
Lewis, k and Hughes, K. (eds) (2012) Write With Us available at http://www.tenovus.org.uk/how-we-can-help-you/write-with-us/

Dates 2012

Funders 
Tenovus

Research team 
Karen Lewis, Katherine Hughes

Research context 
The project grew out of a series of conversations held in 2011 between former cancer patient and writer Katherine Hughes, Dr Ian Lewis of Tenovus and Karen Lewis.

Research questions

  • Can participation in creative activities benefit people living with cancer?

Research methods
The programme consisted of initially six evening sessions bringing together a small group of people who were living with a diagnosis of cancer and wanted to write followed by a period of evaluation including interviews with participants.

Research findings
It was found that participation in the Write with Us project had a positive impact on mood and general wellbeing of people living with cancer.

“It has given me the confidence to write. I thought I’d feel inadequate but I haven’t. It has given me a break. Writing has made me aware of things and allowed me to express myself. I’m sure I’ll carry on writing – definitely I will.”
Write with Us participant, June 2012

“I’ve enjoyed the writing course. I’ve really, really enjoyed it. – It’s opened up a lot of different things that I’ve got to think about. What I want out of life I suppose ….lovely”
Write with Us participant, June 2012

Dissemination and impact
The project has had lasting and continued impact as Karen Lewis has been commissioned to run a ‘Training the Trainers’ session for Tenovus volunteers and the Write with Us scheme is now a central part of a the services and support offered by Tenovus. A publication of writing created during the project is available via Tenovus.

Research outputs
Lewis, K. Hughes, K. (eds) (2012) In Our Own Words. Cardiff: Tenovus.

http://www.tenovus.org.uk/how-we-can-help-you/write-with-us/

Dates 2010 – 2012

Funders Technology Strategy Board

Research team Prof Hamish Fyfe, Prof Mike Wilson, Dr Emma Peplow, Marylebone Cricket Club

Research context
Taking the Field is a Knowledge Transfer project in collaboration with the MCC which examined how stories of grass roots cricket could be collected and preserved.

Research questions

  • How can existing and emerging technological tools be used to create digital narratives that expand the communicative use of story by individuals and organisations?
  • What is the role of amateur sports organisations in the development of civil society?
  • How can the stories of grassroots cricket be unearthed and preserved and how might this knowledge be applied to preserve other forgotten or unheard stories?
  • What is the potential of this kind of work to engage previously non-participant individuals and organisations in cyber-culture?

Research methods
The research involved focus groups and in depth interviews with cricket clubs throughout the UK and internationally. Researchers worked with cricket club members to create and curate digital stories. Relevant literature reviews and archival research were also carried out.

Research findings
‘Taking the Field’ provided knowledge on the examination of Digital Personhood and its relation to communities in the new social communications era. The research found a number educational and social benefits to engagement with digital storytelling for both individuals and organisations. The research also provided new insights into the development of technologies for digital storytelling and archives.

Dissemination and impact
Digital Stories are available on the Taking the Field website and stories and artefacts are also on display in the MCCMuseum. There has been significant press coverage of the project. Scholarly articles and conference papers ensure the dissemination of the research findings within the academy.

Research outputs
The principal output is the Taking the Field website http://www.takingthefield.com/.

Research findings were also presented widely at conferences.

Dates 2011

Funders
Welsh Assembly Government and YMCA Housing Association

Research team
Hamish Fyfe, 
Mike Wilson, 
Steve Fisher
Jayne Tucker, Advice and Development Worker, Cardiff YMCA Housing Association (Community Partner organisation)
Ronw Prothero, Director, Boomerang Plus PLC (Industrial partner)
Wil Stephens, Director, Cube Interactive (Industrial partner)
Dr John Seton, Head of Regional Strategic Engagements, BT (Industrial partner)

Research context
In 2005 the Economic Development and Transport Committee of the Welsh Assembly Government published its report on worrying levels of economic inactivity in Wales, which remain significantly higher than the UK average. Furthermore the Committee recognised that the economically inactive face both internal and external barriers to gaining employment and recommended a ‘people-based’ approach to the issue.
Who Do You Think I Am? explored ways of working with a broadly economically inactive group, the homeless, using personal narrative and digital technology to challenge stereotypes and build self-esteem and confidence, which in the medium to long term will contribute to the employability of this group

Research questions

  • What is the role of storytelling and digital media in addressing key socio-economic challenges?
  • What impact do these interventions have?
  • What new technologies including superfast broadband and mobile platforms might be employed in this work?
  • How might HE, voluntary and private sectors, notably within the Welsh digital broadcast industry, work together?
  • What are the potential of these measures to break down barriers faced by sections of society?

Research methods
Production of short films, workshops, evaluation and interviews.

Research findings
A case study of best practice and methodology for creation and dissemination for such projects.

Dissemination and impact
Films were shown to key stakeholders including policy makers and funders. “this kind of work is essential, not only using creativity to help promote greater understanding and recognition of complex issues, but it also gave clients a real sense of achievement and thus helped to address their own issues in a more confident and positive way.” Jayne Tucker, YMCAHousing Association

Research outputs
Who Do You Think I Am? short films
Screening attended by participants, partners, other academics and policy makers.

Dates 2009

Funders 
AHRC / BBC Knowledge Exchange Programme

Research team 
Hamish Fyfe, Mike Wilson, Suzanne Pratt, Mandy Rose, Karen Lewis

Research context 
The research was commissioned to enhance understanding of the methodology and social impact of digital storytelling. The work takes particular cognisance of the BBC’s ‘Capture Wales’ project and the ways in which this project gas engendered a wide range of community based media activity in Wales.

Research questions

  • What is the current understanding of the potential of digital storytelling practice in terms of its impact on broadcast content and wider social application?
  • How can new communications technology, especially 4G, be used to generate innovative production and capture of digital stories and user generated content/citizen media?
  • How can digital storytelling activity be used to reduce the ‘digital divide’ and to maximise the potential of the current technology to create an informed participant who can help shape the next phase of communicative development?
  • What kinds of impact does digital storytelling have in community contexts and how are these impacts understood?
  • What are the theoretical and historical ‘roots’ of digital storytelling?

Research methods
Survey, case study and focus groups with emphasis placed on deriving qualitative data from process participants.

Research findings

  • Mapping of over 70 organisations in Wales active in digital storytelling.
  • Examination of the benefits and value of participation in digital storytelling for both individuals and organisations including BBC Wales.
  • Positive social impacts include:

- Personal and self-development

- Improved self confidence

- Improved self esteem

- Improved aspiration

- Skills acquisition

- Creating communities

Dissemination and impact
The published report was disseminated widely by BBC Wales. The research findings were also disseminated through conference papers and articles.

Research outputs
Fyfe, H. Wilson, M. Rose, M. Meadows, D. Lewis, K. and Pratt, S. (2009) ‘A Public Voice: Access, Digital Story and Interactive Narrative’ in A Collaborative Journey: The BBC/AHRC Knowledge Exchange Pilot Programme, BBC/AHRC. ISBN9781626204201.
A Public Voice

Dates 2008

Funders Arts Council of Wales (ACW), Welsh Assembly Government

Research team Prof Hamish Fyfe, Prof David Adamson, Penny Byrne, Dr Neil Caldwell, Anne England

Research context
The research was commissioned by ACW to develop an understanding of the reasons for a general decline in public engagement in the arts in Wales and to explore the reasons for lower levels of participation in key social groups, including those living in areas characterised by deprivation.

Research questions

  • What are the reasons for the decline in arts participation in Wales?
  • What are the issues that inhibit active engagement with the arts?
  • What opportunities exist for broadening access to the arts for all socio-economic groups, in particular the lower C2DE social groups and those living in Wales’ most deprived areas?
  • Are there examples of good practice where broader engagement has been facilitated?

Research methods
The research employed a triangulated methodology with survey, interview, case study and focus groups components. Considerable emphasis was placed on deriving qualitative data directly from participants to illustrate some of the perceptions which hinder arts engagement, particularly in lower socio-economic groups, and to provide insight into mechanisms to overcome socio-cultural barriers to arts engagement.

Research findings
The research reported ten actionable findings which identify opportunities for broadening arts engagement.
• Support for community organised ‘trips’ to arts events.
• Promoting partnership between community arts and community transport providers.
• Ensuring that costs are not a major barrier to participation especially for threshold activities.
• That ACW develops long term funding partnership with competent community arts and community development organisations which in turn accept and develop their partnership role.
• That ACW reviews the terminology of the arts to recognise the two-tier public perception of arts and public affinity with creativity and reflect this in its Communications Strategy.
• That ACW explores the hub and spoke model suggested in the research which links regional venues with community venues to replicate the recognised value of venues in promoting participation.
• That opportunities for non-threatening and threshold level experience of the arts are fully promoted and developed by the ACW and a wide range of partner organisations.
• That ACW recognises the craft and skills level of creative expression as an entry point for engagement career development and develops partnerships that can promote this level of activity.
• That ACW should maintain and develop its support of the local authority based Arts Development Officers.
• That ACW strengthens its relationship with umbrella organisaitons and develops a network of relationships between community artists, VAW, WACA and the county based Arts Development Officers.

Dissemination and impact
The research was presented to the Culture Committee of the Welsh Assembly Government and disseminated widely by ACW.

Research outputs
Fyfe, H. Et al. (2008) Arts and Public Engagement: Patterns, Processes and Levers for Change. Arts Council of Wales. ISBN: 9781626204218. 
Arts and Public Engagement Report

Dates 2008

Funders Arts Council of Wales (ACW), Welsh Assembly Government

Research team Prof Hamish Fyfe, Prof Dave Adamson, Penny Byrne

Research context 
ACW commissioned the report to identify and evaluate the impact of community arts on community regeneration practice in Objective One areas, with a specific focus on the South Wales Valleys.

Research questions

  • What published work exists relating to the arts, social regeneration and inclusion?
  • What are the indicators of social inclusion and community regeneration outcomes for Community Arts projects and Objective One areas?
  • Do the strategies identified in the literature review stand up to testing?
  • What are the key characteristics of effective Community arts projects?

Research methods
The methods included a review of current literature, the development of six case studies and a review of quantitative data describing the experience of life in the case study communities. The approach sought to capture the direct experience of both delivering arts based projects in local communities and of being a beneficiary of a project. Interviews with practitioners and focus groups with participants were conducted.

Research findings
The research identified a number of positive outcomes from arts based practice which pointed to a major potential contribution to the regeneration process. In particular arts-based activities can contribute directly to engagement and participation, social capital and networking and capacity development.

Dissemination and impact
The report was presented to the Welsh Asssembly Government Culture Committee and used to inform ACW practice and policy.

Research outputs
Fyfe, H. et al. (2008) Hand in Hand – Arts Participation in Wales Arts Council of Wales. ISBN: 9781626204225.

Dates
2015/16

Funders
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: David Llewellyn (FCI), Co-Investigators: Ceri Price (CES), Angharad Saunders (CES), Philip Gross (FBS)

For centuries, animals were driven from remote Welsh fields to – eventually – the dinner tables of the metropolis. The passage of herds of cattle, sheep, pigs and even geese left its mark on the landscape, physically, economically, socially and culturally, yet the practice came to an abrupt end with the coming of the railway in the mid eighteenth century. Residues of drovers’ roads remain but they have been covered-over, over-developed and overwritten. Whether extant or not, the relics of forgotten performances offer exciting opportunities to reflect upon concepts of presence and absence.

This project explores the mobilities, past, present and future, that happen along sections of a Welsh droving road. The mobilities turn within the social sciences urges scholars to re-evaluate the world through a mobile lens in order to appreciate how the world is made through the movement of people, objects and ideas (Urry, 2007; Cresswell, 2006). To date, much of the mobilities research has been concerned with the technological now so by exploring past mobilities (and their remnants and legacies) this project will offer an important new insight to this emerging field. Through re-imagining how past practices are materialised in the present through the stories that are told about them, this work will also create new stories as we follow these paths into the past.

Anticipated Outcomes 
The project will begin with a scoping study of how present and accessible the roads are within South Wales and then move on to undertake a field based, practical and conceptual archaeology of one or more sections of road that are still exist. (Moore-Colyer, 1976; Toulson, 1977; www.localdroversroads.co.uk)

• an exploratory drovers’ road walk where the researchers will explore sections of the ancient road – utilising the method of walking whilst talking (Anderson, 2004)
• an audio recording of the walk to capture the conversations within and about place, the memories the landscapes may evoke and the sounds of the place
• a collaboration workshop to present the walk to various stakeholders, hear from others with interests in droving and begin to develop a bigger project, which explores droving backwards and forwards and encompasses longer sections of drovers’ roads, for submission to the AHRC

For more information contact:
Dr. David Llewelyn (david.llewelyn@southwales.ac.uk)
Dr. Ceri Price (ceri.price@southwales.ac.uk) 
Dr. Angharad Saunders (angharad.saunders@southwales.ac.uk)
Prof. Philip Gross (philip.gross@southwales.ac.uk)

Dates
2015/16

Funders
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: Anne Fothergill (LSE), Co-Investigator: Linda Ross (LSE) and Roiyah Saltus (LSE)

We are interested in exploring the story of a couple, one of whom has a diagnosis of dementia and their spouse. We anticipate this will be in a format of a digital story or short film about their experiences of living with dementia. We are interested in exploring the following themes: social connections/social relationships and how these are affected; coping/resilience; faith and belief; meaning, purpose, hope and stigma. We are working with the Alzheimer’s Society to identify a couple who will be interested in telling their stories. It has been provisionally agreed with Rob Campbell and Paul Mallison who run the media production course at USW that a 2nd or 3rd year student will help with the production of the digital story/film as part of their course work. The actual form that the story takes will be agreed in negotiation with the couple and the student. We anticipate the outcomes will be to: 
1. tell the couple’s story of what it is like living with dementia.
2. inform our methodology for phrase 3 of our current research project exploring the care plans of persons diagnosed with dementia in 3 NHS Health Boards.
3. explore innovative method of data collection.

Dates
2015/16

Funders
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: Yafa Shanneik (FBS), Co-Investigator: Sharif Gemie (FBS)

Women converting to Islam have been a growing phenomenon in Europe. Few studies, however, have discussed conversion to Shia Islam. This project relies on ethnographic research and will use life-story narratives of white European women living in Cardiff, Swansea, London, Birmingham and Manchester who converted to Shia Islam in the last three decades. The focus is on the women’s narratives of their conversion processes and experiences within the various Shia communities. Together with Prof Sharif Gemie (USW), Prof Oliver Scharbrodt (University of Chester) and Dr Shanneik (USW) and in collaboration with the Gender Studies Centre, these narratives will be analysed in light of current debates around the place of Islam in British society and the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East and their transnational repercussions..

The outcome of this project is a paper for an international conference at the University of Nijmegen (The Netherlands) entitled ‘Moving into and out of Islam’, 16-17 October 2015 and a co-authored article. Through this pilot project, a network with other academics working on conversion to Islam in Europe will be established. The aim is to use this network to make a larger European funding bid that includes a number of academics as well as Muslim community organisations and centres across Europe.

Dates
2015/16

Funders
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: Johana Hartwig (LSE), Co-Investigator: Victoria Jones (LSE)

This project looks at how storytelling can be used as a way of supporting people with a learning disability to engage in research. It aims to explore storytelling as a means of communicating experiences around learning disability and look at the feasibility of developing a resource of stories collected by and for people with learning disabilities.
We will work with professionals to collect a small sample of digital stories around their role and experiences regarding the ‘identification of learning disability’. This collaboration will connect with midwifery and health visiting teams, as well as TRAC, the Teaching and Research Advisory Committee whose members first posed the question “How did they know I have a learning disability?” 
The edited stories will be played back to members of TRAC and other collaborators and their responses collated. The stories, and responses to them, will provide evidence of approaches to using storytelling to engage people with learning disability in research, as well as helping to establish whether a larger project is viable. This project aims to explore, through storytelling, what is known and to explore a question posed by people with learning disability. Consequently, we hope to empower a marginalised group who rarely get to pose the questions. 
Contact Johana Hartwig johana.hartwig@southwales.ac.uk for more information.

Dates
2015/16

Funders
George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling

Research team
Lead Investigator: Dr. Rob Smith (FCI), Co-Investigator: Dr. Adeyola Dewis (LSE)

This project investigates the storytelling and performance aspects of carnival and carnival performance (dance, music, costume). Carnival in many parts of the world is used to satirize political events and personalities, as well as to depict mythical and fictional characters of specific meaning to the performer and carnival creator. Our aim is to look at connections between Carnival as performed in Cardiff (and via Dr. Dewis’ contracts and background, Trinidad) and carnival forms in other cultures, notably Kathakali in Kerala, Southern India. In Kathakali dance, performances are indoors, movement is limited but there is a great emphasis on signs, facial gestures and elaborate costume as well as minutely detailed interplay between music and movement. We want to investigate this avenue and scope others for enriching our carnival practice by creating narratives around our performance.

The project grant enables visits to performance centres and archives and collaborative work on maybe a performance for video. The grant will also be used to facilitate conversations and performance practice in order to further collaboration.

Outputs: Carnival Narratives film.