Combatting loneliness and isolation
Uncovering kindness and compassion
Professor Suzanne MacLeod, Professor of Museum Studies, has led a team of researchers from the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG), the National Trust and volunteers, to unpick the lives of those who once lived and worked at Calke.
A comprehensive study of diaries, letters and other archive material soon revealed that previous portrayals of Henry Harpur – The Isolated Baronet – and his descendants were largely inaccurate. Instead, powerful stories of great love, compassion and kindness were uncovered.
©National Trust / Rod Kirkpatrick
This research has led to the creation of a two-year exhibition at the Abbey. Running from Saturday 2 March 2019, HumanKind is an immersive experience which will tell the stories of six interesting, kind and complicated people, all of whom experienced moments of loneliness and isolation, but always as a result of their complex life experiences rather than their personalities.
HumanKind uses these new stories and insights to challenge the stigma that surrounds loneliness and isolation and to get people talking. Small interventions across the site have been designed to foster interaction between visitors and volunteers. New seating will encourage conversations, as will Chatty Cafes in Calke’s restaurants. A HumanKind Pledge Wall will also encourage exhibition visitors to pledge an act of kindness or self-care after their visit has finished.