Norfolk County Council Press Release: Change Minds exhibition launch in Norwich


Change Minds: Archives for mental health will open at 5.30pm on Monday, 20 November.

Come and listen to an overview of the project, chat to the organisers and participants and view their work. Cedric Anselin will be giving a brief talk about the project at 6.15pm.

Please contact Norfolk County Council’s press office (details below) if you would like to attend or email Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust at

Display showcases two-year project researching mental health patients in Norfolk

The lives of people living in a Norfolk asylum in the 19th century are being showcased during a thought-provoking display at Norwich’s Forum later this month.

The free exhibition from 20-23 November is the culmination of a two-year Change Minds project which has supported North Norfolk residents with mental health conditions and on low incomes to research the history of those in the Norfolk County Asylum in Thorpe.

Change Minds has provided a fascinating insight into local heritage, mental health and identity.

It is being opened by former Norwich City FC footballer Cedric Anselin, who is a champion of mental health support in Norfolk having battled mental illness himself. He is an ambassador for a Norfolk County Council campaign to promote mental wellbeing, reduce the stigma around mental ill health and urge people with suicidal thoughts to talk to others.

Items on show to the public will include visual displays, a digital walk through of Norfolk County Asylum, a listening post featuring oral history clips and an activity area so visitors can have a go at their own research.

Change Minds is run by the Restoration Trust, in conjunction with Norfolk Record Office and Together in North Norfolk and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Around 20 people have been involved in the project, assisted by support workers and staff offering guidance.

One participant, Georgina, had previously researched her own family history when the project was suggested by her support worker. Georgina said: “Although it was daunting at first, people understand and don’t judge me. It has been a really interesting project and has helped to improve my confidence. I’ve made some new friends and hope to continue as a volunteer.”

Together support worker Lindsey Ashfield said: “Participating in Change Minds has made an amazing difference to the people I support. I have seen their confidence and self-esteem grow, their network of friends increase and their hope in their futures renewed and revitalised.”

Councillor Margaret Dewsbury, Chairman of Norfolk County Council’s Communities Committee, said: “Participants have had an enjoyable and interesting experience, formed friendships and developed their skills in archive research in a welcoming environment. I would encourage people to come along to The Forum and view the findings for themselves.”

Participants each chose one person to research and then studied them at their own pace, using archives at Norfolk Record Office and online census records in Norfolk libraries to track them and learn about their lives through visits to Gressenhall Museum and Norwich Castle Study Centre. They have taken part in creative workshops, learned how to make an oral history and taken part in group activities.

Some of those taking part also indexed the asylum casebook to make it easier for future users to find the details of those people whose lives are recorded.

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb has invited participants to visit the House of Commons after finding out more about the project.

On November 22 there will be seminar for health and social care professionals in the Vernon Castle room at The Forum’s Millennium Library about research into the benefits of the project. This is part of the 2017 Norfolk Arts Forum conference, Creative Health: Building Alliances for Social Change in Norfolk.

The project was funded for two years initially, it is hoped it could be extended in the future to benefit more people with mental health problems in Norfolk and beyond.

County Archivist Gary Tuson recently spoke about Change Minds at a National Archives Conference and the project has also been evaluated by psychologists at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Their report found that participants have enjoyed themselves, made friends, and developed confidence. They have gained historical research and creative skills, deepened their interest in history and the lives of people in Norfolk and developed a stronger sense of place and purpose.

Laura Drysdale, Director of the Restoration Trust, said: “Change Minds is a completely new way for local people to use archives to reveal the hidden stories of asylum patients and relate them to their own lives. The exhibition at the Forum celebrates their fantastic research and creative achievements.”

Norfolk County Council’s Millennium Library, also based at The Forum, offers a range of books about mental health issues and will be including a display of the most popular titles during the week of the exhibition.

More details about the project are available at

For further information please contact:
Communications Team at Norfolk County Council
Tel: 01603 228888

Coming up: Human Henge at TAG 2017


The 2017 Theoretical Archaeology Conference takes place at

Cardiff University from 18th-20th of December

The timetable is now available on the Theoretical Archaeology Conference 2017 website here. Our session on ‘Archaeology, heritage and well-being’, led by Restoration Trust Director, Laura Drysdale, and Professor Tim Darvill, from Bournemouth University, will be on Tuesday 19th December. This will begin at 9.30am and is a three-quarter day session with a wide range of papers to be discussed.

Find out more about the session here.

You can also follow TAG 2017 on Twitter here.

Session Abstract
Archaeology, Heritage and Well-being

The concept of therapeutic landscapes was developed by Wil Gesler in the early 1990s, building on contemporary theory in the field of cultural ecology. It has since expanded to become a key concept in health geography applicable at a range of scales. But whether natural, designed, or symbolic, places connected with healing the body and soul have been recognized and studied for much longer. Routes of pilgrimage, destinations for health-giving visits, facilities for ‘taking the waters’, hospitals, and gardens surrounding asylums and institutions, have all been instrumental in formalizing relationships between place, space, and well-being that have been promoted and applied in many different ways and with varying degrees of real or perceived success. This session will consider archaeological and heritage dimensions of therapeutic landscapes, asking what can be learnt from the study of existing sites and whether there is a role for developing new ones appropriate for the needs of the 21st century. Contributions are invited in relation to three main themes. First, studies of recognized therapeutic landscapes through historical or archaeological investigations that enrich understandings of their construction and use. Second, case-studies of recent or ongoing projects that make use of archaeological sites or heritage resources to promote physical or mental well-being amongst defined participant communities. And third, analyses of the philosophical and theoretical frameworks appropriate to the study of archaeology and heritage in relation to health and well-being.

Digital Annual Report on Fundraising UK

Our inclusive digital annual report for 2017, ‘A Year of People Doing and Making’, created with Future Coders and Muddle Up, features on UK Fundraising’s website.


Student software developers mentored by volunteers from Google have helped create an inclusive   for mental health charity Restoration Trust.

The Restoration Trust collaborated with digital storytelling agency Muddle Up and social enterprise futureCodersSE to create A Year of People Doing and Making. The report uses audio and an immersive digital experience to speak to a wide-ranging audience, with the aim of also making it a long-term asset for the Restoration Trust. The charity supports people in engaging with heritage and culture to help their mental health, with projects including ones at Stonehenge (main image), Norfolk Record Office and Norwich Arts Centre co-produced with participants. Audio interviews with these participants play throughout the report to give them a voice.

Read the full article here

Digital Annual Report 2017


A Year of People Doing and Making

Click to see the report

We have collaborated with digital storytelling agency Muddle Up and Medway-based social enterprise futureCodersSE to create an inclusive annual report, A Year of People Doing and Making.


Photo by Maggy Burns

Seeking to build an engaging connection between the public, funders, and the people we work with, A Year of People Doing and Making uses audio to give a voice to people with mental health problems. With mentoring from GoogleServe Volunteers and Space Between, student software developers have gained valuable work experience by building the Web-based interface.

The Restoration Trust helps people engage with heritage and culture so that their mental health improves. Projects at Stonehenge, Norfolk Record Office and Norwich Arts Centre are co-produced with participants, so it is appropriate that participants themselves speak freely about their experience and the impact that Restoration Trust projects have had on their lives. These audio interviews play throughout the report. Director Laura Drysdale says: ‘We wanted it to embody our values – we have to produce an Annual Report, so why not make it beautiful?’

The budding developers at futureCodersSE have created a web-based, digital interface that uses browser-based programming and implements extensive photo galleries, audio playlists, video and evolving graphics. Two students, Anthony Funai and Jamie Knott, worked on the software project from start to finish, took part in Agile project planning, team-based code development and review, and employed various testing methods, including unit and regression testing.  Karen Scott, Founder and Director, explains the importance of the project for the students.

‘Young people leaving full-time education, but not planning to go to university, find it very difficult to get a foot on the career ladder in the software industry.  After 20 years of teaching talented programmers, I set up futureCodersSE to help students gain experience, confidence and a personal network. This is more effective when delivered outside the education setting.’

A Year of People Doing and Making is designed by digital storytelling agency Muddle Up. The audio format and immersive digital experience speaks to a multifaceted audience as well as being a long-term asset for the Restoration Trust. “The Restoration Trust challenged us to be as inclusive as possible with the report design. Audio meant that we could tackle participants’ concerns that people with mental health problems aren’t listened to. Through futureCoders we worked directly with students Anthony and Jamie, who contributed their ideas to the design and user interface.”  

The digital report project was born through the RSA where Laura Drysdale (Restoration Trust), Zoe Tipler (Muddle Up) and Karen Scott (futureCodersSE), are all fellows. 

For more information about A Year of People Doing and Making contact:

Zoe Tipler,, 07541 546285

Laura Drysdale,, 07740 844883

Organisational Biographies


futureCoders provides high-quality, meaningful, project-based, work experience for young people aged 16-19, to produce skilled and confident software developers. Our projects create affordable, much needed software to help charities increase their digital presence.

We help talented coders get a foot on the ladder of a career in software development, without necessarily going to university. Our activities include: working with colleges, schools and youth centres to encourage and identify suitable students for work experience; working with employers to develop work experience programmes and to make assessments of young people’s skills; running monthly networking events for students and software professionals.

We are keen to work with more charities to identify software needs and to develop exciting projects to help with their work.  

For further information contact about futureCodersSE contact  

Muddle Up

Muddle Up is a digital storytelling agency founded by journalists. We work with charities and NGOs to develop content that helps them tell the story of their impact. We collaborate with the people organisations support so that they have control over their own story and the way that it is told. As a social impact storytelling agency our goal is to create content that bridges the communications gap between donors and beneficiaries. Our content drives new audiences and raises public awareness.


For further information contact about Muddle Up contact


Karen Scott, Founder and Director, futureCodersSE

“Having a supportive client such as the Restoration Trust, has given us room to allow Anthony and Jamie to have as much input into the digital report as possible. They have both developed important technical and soft skills, and both now have an increased portfolio of code showcased on their own code sharing sites.  Zoe has been a key player and has communicated Laura’s vision to help us to produce a report that meets the requirements of the charity.  Both Zoe and Laura have been an accessible source of information for our young developers and this is so important.”

Laura Drysdale, Director, Restoration Trust

“We are delighted to be communicating with everyone who has a stake in our work in such a fresh, accessible way. It has been brilliant working with the young developers at FutureCoders, and we plan to make a game app together. Thanks to Muddle Up for joining the dots!”

Zoe Tipler, Content Director, Muddle Up

“We wanted to help the Restoration Trust build a report that spoke with the people they support rather than about them. By leaving the audio unedited we have been able to show people the respect that their words deserve. Working with futureCodersSE gave us the opportunity to test the ideas of the report with a degree of flexibility that would have been prohibitively expensive in another setting. We want to thank the people from the Restoration Trust who have lent us their words and stories. Without them the whole project would not have happened.