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Engaging libraries project

11/09/2018   Sami

In collaboration with Kath Griffiths (Norfolk Library and Information Service (NLIS)) and Professor Neil Cooper from the School of Psychology at the University of East Anglia, we have been busy delivering workshops for our latest project, ‘You can’t judge a book by its cover’.



       "You can't judge a book by its cover" team



Our project is part of the ‘Engaging Libraries’ scheme and consists of a series of 15 library-based SAW workshops that invites a cross-section of the public, both young and old, to embark on the process of self-reflection and see how this can help us to understand our mental health and well-being.



During the workshops, under the guidance of Neil, participants are introduced to a Q-sort psychology activity to explore their personalities.  Then with support from artist, Becky Tough (artpocket) and writer, Heidi Williamson ( develop their own book covers using mixed media arts to create personalised front covers to express themselves and creative writing to generate back cover biographies that are either aspirational, fictional or reality.


Our aim for each workshop is to give the participants an opportunity to reflect on themselves and their own wellbeing using the Q-sort methodology, in a safe and neutral environment, whilst producing a lasting snap shot of the local communities’ sense of well-being, at a given moment in time.


The series of workshops will conclude with the ‘books’ designed during the workshops (which are all anonymous) being displayed as a collection during the Norwich Science Festival (NSF), within the Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library (NNML) for the general public to view. 

So far, the workshop series has welcomed public groups, established groups and sixth-form students. We have primary and junior school groups scheduled to participate over the coming weeks and our next public workshop will take place on October 11th 2018, at the NNML at the Forum, Norwich. Please visit the website to book your place.

This exciting, science-based project has been kindly funded by the Carnegie Wellcome UK Trust.



Anne and Sarah

Neil Cooper (UEA) and workshop participants, SAW founder Professor Anne Osbourn and SAW trustee Sarah Passingham.


book jacket designs

Example book jackets created by  participants at a "You can't judge a book by its cover" workshop.

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