'Dundee and Me: How the City Shapes our Moods’

Dundeeimage

University of Dundee academics are to work with children and vulnerable adults from the city to explore the links between their local environment and emotional wellbeing.

The team behind 'Dundee and Me: How the City Shapes our Moods’ will ask the group about the places that both positively and negatively impact upon their mood and the reasons for the feelings they invoke. Participants will be asked to photograph various locations they travel to throughout the city and to record when such places bring about a change in mood.

“The aim of the project is to build awareness of the ways in which our internal experiences are influenced by our external environment and increase the ability to of participants to acknowledge and describe their emotions and moods,” said Dr Fhionna Moore, a Psychology researcher at the University.

“There are places of great beauty and tranquillity throughout the city that people with mental health issues may not know about. They will benefit from the experiences of others while we are also looking to hear from children about the places that are influencing their formative years for good or ill.

“There are also places of huge historical significance and those with personal resonance. The project will be shaped by the participants themselves as we try to build up a picture of how Dundee impacts on its residents.

“Our moods and emotions constantly shift, and they can be influenced by where we are and what we are doing. We hope that this will enable participants to be better at recognising and monitoring their own mental health and that of others, become more aware of Dundee's complex and unique history and environments, and be better able to change their environments in order to improve mental wellbeing.”

In previous research, Dr Moore and her colleagues worked with the NHS 24 'Breathing Space' helpline in order to map the effects of the social and physical environment on emotional distress. They are now looking to build on this to examine the impact of the local environment.

Working with student volunteers, the participants will use the images and descriptions they capture to begin developing story boards, characters or plots for art work, creative writing, and video games. The project, led by Dr Moore alongside English tutor Eddie Small and their colleague Dr Robin Sloan from Abertay University, will culminate in a performance and exhibition for participants and their friends and families.

A class of school children aged 10-11 and an equivalent sized group of adult mental health service users will take part. The performance and exhibition will take place during Heart-Tay-Heart week in April next year.

The team are looking for individuals and groups who have experienced mental health problems to take part in the project. Anyone interested in participating should contact Dr Moore on f.moore@dundee.ac.uk.