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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 sought to engage specifically with the Workforce Wellbeing Strategy Group, who have oversight of the strategy’s implementation, with the overarching aim to:

    Illuminate current institutional work-culture through embodied accounts from 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);

Project Impact

  • Project leads and participants negotiated 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 was 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 was 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 (

Project Aims

  • The main data source for this project was collected through a series of creative writing workshops. Whilst individuals had their own story to tell, the workshop also sought to encourage active engagement and interest in ‘listening’ to one another’s experiences and in doing so promoted a compassionate stance towards wellbeing amongst the Warwick community.
  • By thematically addressing the areas of concern raised in the narrative accounts, the project was able to report to the Workforce Wellbeing Strategy Group specific areas that require improvement. This qualitative data benefited strategic discussions as data was intended to provide depth and visibility to experiences that have yet to be captured, and thus have escaped direction and support.

Project Timeline

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

Writing Wellbeing

Have you got something to say about workplace wellbeing? Help us find the words to tell your story.

Click here to participate.