York St John University - Research for Occupation and Mental Health

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The Bridge                                                      Issue 37

Bridging the gap between research and practice

Dr Wendy Bryant

In this issue of The Bridge, we’ve focused on Arts and Creativity. Creative occupations promote mental health and well-being for many people and you’ll find details of a research on a community arts project and research involving creative methods in this issue. Creativity is strongly associated with meaning-making, so the spotlight is on research exploring meaning in life for people with schizophrenia.

The guest editor is Dr Wendy Bryant, an occupational therapy lecturer based at Brunel University in London and member of the RCOMH steering group. To sustain the creative spirit, she has used her own photographs.


Expressions of interest for leading the Arts and Creativity research programme

Would you like to lead the Arts & Creativity research programme?  This is an excellent opportunity to get involved in an international initiative, which is supported by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists, to grow the evidence base for practice in mental health. Until recently the programme was led by Dr Sarah Cook, at Sheffield Hallam University, but she has stepped down because she has reduced her working hours.

The details of what is involved in leading an RCOMH research programme are summarised on the website (see http://w3.yorksj.ac.uk/rcomh/rcomh/research-programmes.aspx).

As research programme lead you will  be given all of the data gathered from the SIPPS project related to Arts & Creativity so that you can bring interested people together. The SIPPS project was ‘An international scoping study to identify people who want to be involved in occupation and mental health research, their publications and their perceptions of future research needs’. It gathered data from those interested in research, their publications and explored their future research needs. There are people interested in working together to conduct research related to arts and creativity and mental health. Is the challenge you have been looking for? 


If you would like to know more about this research programme and what might be involved in leading it, please contact Dr Katrina Bannigan (k.bannigan@yorksj.ac.uk) by 31st December 2011.

Lead for the Arts and Creativity research programme – Is this you?

Ways of Seeing: a community arts project

People were involved in the Ways of Seeing project in many different ways. To prepare for a major exhibition, they visited other galleries and studios to see how visual artwork was created and displayed. Then there were practical taster workshops in printmaking, painting, drawing and sculpture. The Ways of Seeing exhibition had masterpieces from an extensive modern art collection, exhibited alongside artistic responses from those involved in the project. People were involved at every stage, selecting, creating and curating. A team from Brunel University evaluated the project using mixed methods and a report on the findings was published in August 2011.

More details


Members of the research team at the Lightbox, Woking, the home for the Ways of Seeing exhibition

Visualising a safe space

Photography is a really useful way of sharing experiences, in our everyday lives, practice and research. A recent article in Disability and Society reported research involving PhotoVoice, a technique using photography to empower and enable people to promote their perspective on important local issues. In this study, the issue was the proposed closure of social areas of a mental health resource centre and the participants were people who had made regular use of the centre as part of their recovery.

Read more 

The resource center 


The resource centre where the research took place has recently been extended to provide improved facilities.




Spotlight on Research

Theories of occupation offer many options for research, and it can be difficult to find a focus, especially when considering meaning and occupation. Eklund et al (2011) have recently published findings from a study which involved interviewing people with schizophrenia, asking them what they found meaningful in life. They did not take it for granted that occupation is essential for a meaningful life, generating an interesting paper which is reviewed this month.

Read the review

Conference committee - Do you want to get involved?

Would you like to be involved in organising the RCOMH International Research Conference 2013?

RCOMH will be holding an International Research Conference in 2013 to showcase research related to occupation and mental health. We are in the process of convening a conference organising committee. Being involved in organising a conference is an excellent learning opportunity in which you will extend your project management skills, as well as develop your networks. All of these skills are transferable to other settings and scenarios so this is an ideal CPD opportunity.

We anticipate that most of the work will be done electronically but there will be some meetings in York St John University, York, UK. If you are interested in being involved in this committee please send a statement explaining why you would like to be involved, what your contribution would be and outlining any relevant experience (in no more than 2 sides of A4 in Arial 12 point font) by email to RCOMH@yorksj.ac.uk by the 2nd December please put RCOMH conference organising committee in the subject line. We will respond to you by 16th December 2011 at the latest.

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