Niche Blog – Stewarding Creative Arts, Culture and Heritage as Restorative Citizens

By Laura Drysdale
Director, The Restoration Trust

The Restoration Trust is a charity organisation based in Norfolk and Waveney supporting people with mental health issues through building effective partnerships across heritage, culture, arts, health and social care. Our work involves people living with mental health challenges, facilitating their connection with our local and national heritage. What we mean by ‘Heritage’ can be defined as literally everything we have inherited; including our wonderful historic landscapes and townscapes, our green (e.g. woods, parks, meadows) and blue (rivers, lakes and the sea) spaces, our historic treasures, artefacts, things and memories.

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Portraits of patients in Norfolk County Asylum by Laurie Mason

Laurie Mason made these portraits based on photographs in the Norfolk County Aslyum that are the basis for our Change Minds programme. The portraits were the core of her Fine Art degree show at Norwich University of the Arts in 2023. We have been running Change Minds in partnership with Norfolk Record Office since 2016, exploring the lives of patients in the past as a way to illuminate the treatment of mental illness then, and now.

‘My children are my rocks’ by Chris Smith

Chris Smith made this cyanotype during a Living in Changing Landscapes workshop. Through a partnership with Norwich University of the Arts, Anglia Ruskin University, the Broads Authority and Collusion, Restoration Trust members are co-researchers in a fascinating project exploring the climate impact on our natural landscapes with the communities who live there through immersive arts experiences.