Seannachies explored 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. The team created a cross-disciplinary network to share research to engage and empower communities in a digital age. Storytelling and design approaches were used centrally 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.

The programme focused specifically on the changing and ageing demographic, aiming to mobilise future research and development amongst other challenged and vulnerable communities to inform policy change that delivers real impact. The team engaged with communities of elders 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.

The goal was also to reposition the perceptions around older communities by demonstrating the richness of their narratives, experiences and wisdom. As well as the network, programme outputs included insights around social isolation which informed the commissioning of a live storytelling performance, and dissemination of physical and digital multimodal documentation.


Image: Donna Rutherford in 'BROTH' by Tommy Ga-Ken Wan (Oct 2015).



To mark 10 years of SUII, we designed a series of posters showcasing some programmes supported by SUII between 2012 and 2022. Click on the image above for a full view of the poster created for this particular programme.

Visit our Insights page to find out more about the 10 Years of SUII.


Programme Team

Professor Lynn-­Sayers McHattie, Glasgow School of Art
Dr Deborah Maxwell, University of York (formerly 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, Donna Rutherford - Scottish Storytelling Centre