Seannachies will explore how storytelling can engage people in meaning-making in order to enhance collective wellbeing in socially and culturally challenged communities, in particular, social isolation in communities of elders. We will create a cross-disciplinary network to share research to engage and empower communities in a digital age. Storytelling and design approaches will be core to actively engage in knowledge exchange between academics, healthcare practitioners, agencies and policy makers, sharing best practice that has the potential to contribute to local communities in Scotland and beyond.

Our specific focus is the changing and ageing demographic with the aim that this programme of work will mobilise future research and development amongst other challenged and vulnerable communities to inform policy change that delivers real impact. We propose to engage with communities of elders, for example, within a street, sheltered or social housing and care homes using asset-based approaches and multi-disciplinary collaboration to develop rich understandings of contemporary knowledge holders, and in so doing consider new ways to create social cohesion.

We also wish to reposition the perceptions around older communities by demonstrating the richness of their narratives, experiences and wisdom. As well as the network, programme outputs will include insights around social isolation to inform the commissioning of a live storytelling performance, and dissemination of physical and digital multimodal documentation.

Programme Team

Professor Lynn-­Sayers McHattie, Glasgow School of Art
Dr Deborah Maxwell, University of Edinburgh
Professor Chris Speed, Edinburgh College of Art
Dr Pete Seaman, Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Anna Winters, Scottish Government
Mel Woods, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design
Dr Michael Williams, Michael Williams StoryCoaching
Dr Jayne Wallace, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design

Final Report


Broth Performance, Scottish Storytelling Centre