Imagine project south east: Building resilience for wellness and recovery, interviews with tutors and 'learners' from a mental health recovery college looking at the development and effect of a resilience programme 2014-2017


This data set comprises of 12 transcribed interviews, which were conducted to gather the perspectives of mental health recovery college tutors and ‘learners’ regarding the collaborative development, delivery and impact of a ‘Building Resilience for Wellness and Recovery’ course in the South of England. Data was collected in 2015 as part of the social work package (WP1) of the Imagine Project South East. Tutors included mental health practitioners and also ‘peer tutors’. Peer tutors are people with lived experience of recovery from mental health problems who have received trainer in being a Recovery College tutor. Recovery Colleges use an educative approach to address mental health challenges. They aim to be open to adults with mental health problems, mental health practitioners, carers/family members and the general public. To date the large majority of people who are ‘learners’ on these courses are people with mental health problems.Our research looked at how communities connect people, both today and in the past. We found that these connections take many forms, but often include people coming together to seek change and pursue a different future. We were interested in the role imagination plays in how such futures are conceived and pursued. The history of people's involvement in community initiatives includes both successful innovation and frustration and disappointment, in the UK and elsewhere. Our project sought to learn from both scenarios. We studied community connections in different types of community (some present, some past). Using our new knowledge, together, we have begun to imagine how communities might be different and to experiment with different forms of community building. Communities are made up of people who share some things in common, but who also have differences. In the light of this, we posed four main questions: 1) What are the best ways of conceptualising, researching and promoting connected communities so that they have the potential to accommodate and benefit from social, cultural and economic differences and diverse opinions and practices? 2) What does the history of civic engagement tell us about how and why the social, historical, cultural and democratic context matters to community-building? 3) What role can imagining better futures play in capturing and sustaining enthusiasm and momentum for change? 4) Is community research being transformed by developments in research methodologies, particularly the development of creative and collaborative methods? Our approach to these questions sought to challenge ideas of community that focus on what is lacking, highlighting instead the role that harnessing imagination plays in shaping community futures. The project brought together researchers from a range of disciplines across the social sciences and arts and humanities interested in community relationships together with partner organisations dedicated to community development in a range of locations. Collaborative and participatory methods were central to all of the work undertaken. Several projects involved going back to sites of previous research to explore what can be learned that is of relevance to today's debates about community. We returned to sites of the Community Development Projects of the 1970s, where research included analysis of background statistics, documentary records, interviews, oral history, community arts and other community-based activities, tracing that history and its legacies down to the present. We revisited culture and arts projects, and projects working with disadvantaged groups, all of which have sought to promote community resilience. Reflections on the lessons of these experiences fed into interventions with members of 'disadvantaged' communities to fire imagination about the future and help to build resilience and a momentum for change. The motivating context of this project was a strong impetus globally towards people looking for new ways to participate in decision-making about issues that affect their lives, and to participate in research that involves them - the so-called 'democratisation of social research'. The various strands of research were held together by the team's shared interests in how people envisage co-operating and how these ideas get put into practice in diverse communities. Answering these questions required collaborative effort to look at a range of different cases, both past and present, and to draw appropriate conclusions to inform current debates and visions of the future.

Semi-structured interviews which were digitally recorded in 2015 and have subsequently been fully transcribed and anonymised.

Metadata Access
Creator Hart, A, University of Brighton; Cameron , J, University of Brighton; Pahl, K, Manchester Metropolitan University
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2019
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council
Rights Angie Hart, University of Brighton. Kate Pahl, Manchester Metropolitan University; The Data Collection is available for download to users registered with the UK Data Service.
OpenAccess true
Language English
Resource Type Text
Discipline Psychology; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage Brighton; United Kingdom