Do we have the “right” story? L-R: Dr Suzanne Denieffe

Our first Arts and Health Conversation of 2022 explores human rights, recovery and creative approaches in mental health. Join us online Wednesday 23 February for a discussion on ‘Do we have the “right” story?’, a narrative storytelling research project focusing on the experiences of those living and working in community residences. 

Dr Suzanne Denieffe, Head of Humanities in Waterford Institute of Technology, Joe Brennan, project writer/facilitator, and Paula Lowney, Service Reform Fund Project Lead, will provide insights into the research methodologies, creative delivery and challenges of promoting a human rights and recovery-based approach.

About the project 
‘Do we have the “right” story?’ is a Service Reform Fund narrative research project. The aim was to collect narratives or stories relating to personal experiences of those receiving or providing services in community residences in HSE South East Community Healthcare. The partnership agencies include the Service Reform Fund-HSE Mental Health Services, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (WHAT). The objective is to support cultural change to increase the recovery orientation and positive risk taking in mental health community residences with experiential learning through narrative storytelling. The focus was on the themes of recovery, human rights and safeguarding principles and the dilemmas that emerge when endeavouring to promote a human rights and recovery-based approach.

Register for this event
This is a free, lunchtime conversation taking place online via Zoom.
Date: Wednesday 23 February 2022
Time: 1-2pm (GMT)
*Advance booking is essential*

Registration Link:


Joe Brennan
A native of Wexford, storyteller and writer Joe Brennan has told stories and facilitated workshops throughout Ireland, and internationally, over the last 20 years. He has worked with a variety of communities of all ages and was the writer/facilitator for the ‘Do we have the “Right Story” Project. He is one of the lead artists delivering the Arts Ability programme, funded by Wexford County Council Arts Office and HSE, delivering creative writing workshops as part of the mental health services. Joe was the WHAT Artist in Residence 2021, at University Hospital Waterford. Joe has written theatre for young audiences and is the author of Donegal Folk Tales.

Dr Suzanne Denieffe
Dr Suzanne Denieffe is Head of Humanities in Waterford Institute of Technology since 2018, having previously held the position of Head of Department of Nursing from 2014. She is an active researcher, focusing on research to improve quality of life for vulnerable and marginalized groups. She has been involved in collaborative  projects with the HSE (including mental health and older persons services and social inclusion). In these projects a range of research designs, including the arts, were utilized to ensure the voices of all stakeholders are heard.

Paula Lowney, HSE Sen. Health Promotion and Improvement Officer
An Occupational Therapist by background, Paula currently works in health promotion and wellbeing and previously worked for 16 years in the mental health services. In both therapeutic and service reform work she has championed the arts and its capacity to leverage transformation for individuals, organisations and the wider community. She founded the Discover Recover Theatre Project which co-produced a live drama mental health education programme for secondary schools. It was the effectiveness of this narrative approach that inspired the ‘Do we have the “Right” Story?’ project.

The Arts and Health Conversation Series 2022 is produced by and funded by the Arts Council and the HSE. 


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