Conservation for Wellbeing (C4W) is a pilot project that combines conservation, archives and mental health. As well as practising conservation, participants will gain behind-the-scenes knowledge of how heritage collections are protected and cared for at London Metropolitan Archives.
This is a completely new way of engaging people who live with mental health problems with heritage and creativity. It includes an exhibition and research into the wellbeing outcomes for participants.
C4W uses original archives from St Luke’s Hospital in Islington, founded in 1751 to look after mental ill people. The hospital closed in 2011 and the archives were deposited at London Metropolitan Archives by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
The project is funded by a grant of £26,400 from the City Bridge Trust.
C4W is run by The Restoration Trust, in partnership with London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training (SMART) and the Institute of Conservation (Icon) with research support from University College London (UCL).
Meeting fortnightly from January to May, a group of 8 people from Kensington and Chelsea who are in contact with St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training (SMART) will learn paper conservation skills from professional conservators. They will exhibit their work at LMA, SMART and other local venues. Outcomes research will be published online and in professional journals.
The Restoration Trust manages the project. The Restoration Trust’s innovative culture therapy projects help people with serious mental health problems enjoy heritage, art and culture in a safe, effective and interesting way.
City Bridge Trust funds the project. City Bridge Trust is the funding arm of Bridge House Estates. It was established to make use of funds surplus to bridge requirements and provides grants totalling around £20m per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London.
London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) hosts C4W, and participants will learn skills from staff in the Conservation Studio. LMA is committed to making its collections available to as many people as possible. LMA is free to use and open to everyone.
St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training (SMART) supports C4W participants. SMART works closely with the providers of statutory services, such as local community mental health teams and day services in Kensington and Chelsea to develop a more holistic approach to support people with mental health needs.
The Institute of Conservation (Icon) assures C4W quality through its accreditation scheme and oversight. Icon is a membership organisation and charity which brings together those with a passion for the care of cultural heritage. It is the professional body for conservation of cultural heritage.
University College London (UCL) researcher Dr Linda Thomson provides research guidance drawing on her expertise in measuring the wellbeing outcomes of heritage engagement. Art therapist Daisy Rubinstein will carry out the research.
For more information about Conservation for Wellbeing contact Laura Drysdale: firstname.lastname@example.org | 07740844883