Culture Quest and Changing Minds. Waiting…..

We are waiting to hear about funding applications to Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund for both these projects.

Culture Quest

Culture Quest has been awarded matched funding by the Town Close Estate Charity, a much appreciated vote of support. We have a great partner in Julian Support, and fantastic contributors in Norwich Arts Centre and Norfolk Museums Service. We will hear from ACE by the end of April.

A transformational programme of cultural engagement for up to 32 people with complex mental health needs living in 24/7 supported housing in Norwich who meet weekly to explore cultural passions. In successive years, a Music Appreciation Group and an Art Appreciation Group share, explore and create great art, facilitated by expert practitioners, artists, support workers and volunteers. Engaging with Norwich Arts Centre, Norfolk Museums Service and Norfolk and Norwich Festival and using digital media, the programme culminates in CQ Open, a celebratory creative feast of workshops, conference and public exhibition at Norwich Castle Museum and The Forum (Norwich).

Changing Minds

Changing Minds is another brilliant partnership, with Norfolk Record Office and Together for Mental Wellbeing in North Norfolk. We are delighted that Norman Lamb MP is going to be our Patron. We will hear from the HLF by the end of April.

A fascinating investigation into local heritage, mental health and identity, taken by a few for the benefit of many, Changing Minds is an archival adventure for people from North Norfolk who live with mental health conditions and are on low incomes, carers, volunteers and staff. Researching two digitised 19th Century Norfolk County Asylum Case Books at Norfolk Record Office, Changing Minds engages 9000 local people and 90,000 online visitors in the stories it reveals. Supported by Norfolk Record Office and mental health professionals, 2 year groups of 25 people follow the same process in successive years. In Term 1 participants research someone encountered in the Case Books, track them online through census records in their local library and visit Norwich Castle Study Centre. Term 2 explores history and identity in creative workshops at Belfry Arts Centre, Overstrand. In Term 3, trained by Norfolk Sound Archive, participants make an oral history and web archive of their research, and go to Gressenhall Museum. Finally both cohorts come together to create exhibitions in North Norfolk, The Forum Norwich, Norfolk Record Office and online. A House of Commons reception celebrates people’s achievements. Our digital outputs remain online, for everyone.

In her HLF supporting letter, Baroness Murphy makes an interesting point about the way Changing Minds will generate new knowledge on the history of mental health, from the patient’s perspective.

..The project uses the high quality detailed casebooks from 19th Century Norfolk County Lunatic Asylum, exposing them to 21st Century patients in a way that is rare indeed. The study of the history of mental health and institutions is nearly always confined to discourses about economics, societal exclusion of dependant people, the rise of psychiatry and the power struggles between magistrates, Poor Law officials and the medical profession. The meaning of the casebook descriptions of illness and how patients were treated and generally ‘managed’ will undoubtedly have interest and significance to present day patients, and if sensitively done, will yield valuable insights to both the participants and to the understanding of this and other County Lunatic Asylum archives.


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