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Illuminations: Storied Accounts of Workforce Wellbeing at Warwick

Project Context

  • Warwick’s Wellbeing Strategy (2020) was co-designed and developed by a range of stakeholder groups, with its vision and implementation-dependent on our collective responsibility. This WIHEA funded project seeks to engage specifically with the Workforce Wellbeing Strategy Group, who has oversight of the strategy’s implementation, with the overarching aim to:

    Illuminate current institutional work-culture through embodied accounts from the student-facing workforce and the extent to which newly adopted work practices enhance and or inhibit wellbeing matters.

  • In the same way that student wellbeing is integral to engagement and learning, negative staff wellbeing can impact confidence, create feelings of isolation, disengagement and capacity to work, which in turn can result in burnout, poor mental health, and absenteeism. When one part of the Warwick community hurts, so too do its constituent parts. This is central to the conception of student and staff wellbeing as interconnected.

Project Team

Project co-lead

Rachel Dickinson (WBS/DOS)

Project co-lead

Dr Elena Riva (IATL)

Project Team:

Elisabeth Blagrove (Psychology); Ant Brewerton (Library); Raksha Gohel (Life Sciences Student); Lucy Hammond (WMS); Jessica Humphreys (ADC); Nicholas Jackson (Economics/Mathematics); Ruth Leary (Cultural and Media Policy Studies); Martin Mik (SLS); Lauren Schrock (WMG).

Creative writer and writing circle facilitator:

George Ttoouli. George is a writer, editor and teacher based in Coventry. He has taught writing at both Coventry and Warwick universities, as well as in schools and communities in Coventry, Botswana, Singapore and India. His most recent poetry collection is from Animal Illicit, published by the Michael Marks 2020 Publishers' Award winning press Broken Sleep Books. In the run up to Coventry City of Culture 2021, he co-curated underGROWTH ( with Lauren Sheerman and in partnership with The Pod, Coventry City's radical social care brokerage. For the City of Culture year, he is one of 11 core poets for BBC poetry festival Contains Strong Language 2021, a Green City Poet in Residence at the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust's Sherbourne Valley Allotment plot, which is managed in partnership with Coventry Mind.)

Project Impact

  • Project leads and participants will negotiate the method to capture experiences of positive wellbeing that have resulted from a) the writing process b) participation in the project more broadly and c) having engaged with other participants' experiences shared in storied form.
  • The emphasis will be on listening to elicit understanding, in spaces co-designed by participants in order to promote a sense of trust and belonging when talking and listening across different stakeholder groups and perceived hierarchies of power. Analysis of the dialogue that takes place will be thematically organised and used to help make recommendations for consideration/action at the Staff Wellbeing Strategy group.
If you would like more information on this project, please contact project leads:

Rachel Dickinson (

Dr Elena Riva (

To sign up for a writing circle click here

Project Aims

  • The main data source for this project will be collected through a series of creative writing workshops. Whilst individuals will have their own story to tell, the workshop will also seek to encourage active engagement and interest in ‘listening’ to one another’s experiences and in doing so promote a compassionate stance towards wellbeing amongst the Warwick community.
  • By thematically addressing the areas of concern raised in the narrative accounts, the project will be able to report to the Workforce Wellbeing Strategy Group specific areas that require improvement. This qualitative data will benefit strategic discussions as data is intended to provide depth and visibility to experiences that have yet to be captured, and thus have escaped direction and support.
  • The creation of an eBook compiled from individual narratives to inclusively draw attention to the various lived experiences. In doing so this book will instigate constructive dialogue on wellbeing by making what was once silent heard.

Project Timeline

  • June 2021: Writing workshops take place
  • July/August 2021: Data Analysis and Project evaluation
  • September 2021: Write a report on the project for the Workforce Wellbeing Strategy Group.

Writing Wellbeing