Heads and Tales – Mental Health Heritage Project

Heads & Tales was a 2 year research and engagement project culminating in a new heritage archive for the North East: exploring, rebalancing and celebrating the voice of adults experiencing mental health conditions.



Head & Tales, Mental Health Heritage project is led and shaped by participants, volunteers and staff affected by mental health issues.

We value heritage as a positive force for personal development, education and positive social impact.

Mental Health Heritage Archive

Chilli Studios Heads & Tales Heritage project is about exploring, rebalancing and celebrating the voice of people experiencing Mental Health issues in the North East. Looking back through time from the late 1800s on, we will gather together and respond to current Archives in Museums, Health  & Arts sectors. As well as this reflective work, we aim to also create substantial new archives with the starting point of the Declaration of Human rights in 1948 up to the present day.

Through Artistic means we aim to capture and create new material for the archives that show a more diverse perspective and understanding of the contemporary Mental Health Sphere. We hope to raise equality in archival material of an underrepresented group by creating new narratives on people’s memories and experiences for future archives and generations.

This project will be shaped and led by participants, volunteers and staff who are directly and indirectly effected by mental health issues. The project will expand to reach a wider population through public engagement, audience and participation strands across the North East.

Hear Clare introduce the project:


Our aims with this project are:

  • To explore, redefine and create contemporary perspectives/reflection on current Mental Health in Museum and archives in the North East.
  • To raise equality in archival material of an underrepresented group
  • To create new narratives on mental health and wellbeing from those experiencing mental health problems
  • To embed these narratives into the heritage sector and archives promoting awareness, understanding, inclusion and interaction.
  • To create a lasting and accessible digital archive and online platform on the heritage and lived experience of Mental Health in the North East.
  • Support more people to access and learn about Heritage.
  • Develop and further skills for our members and participants in creative forms, digital arts, heritage and archiving
  • Build resilience and ultimately improve wellbeing for people experiencing mental health problems through project activities
  • To actively value the importance of peer support principles in mental health and the shared experience of mental illness
  • Improve Mental Health awareness and challenge stigma
  • Explore and champion the link between Art process, expression, creativity & wellness
  • Develop a stronger active network of Art & Mental Health services