Thursday, 18 October 2012

Wellbeing Through Photography - Ranworth Church

Please click on images in order to enlarge
Last Friday Eureka members travelled to the Norfolk Broads, to explore the wonderful church at Ranworth. As usual, before we knew it, folk were crouching and delving - looking at things from unusual angles in pursuit of 'that shot'. 

As well as taking a lens-eye view of the church, we were really delighted to have the medieval historian, Dr Carole Hill, with us to talk about the church and answer some of our questions (thanks Carole!)...

Carole (centre) answering questions
As you may already know, Ranworth church is noted for its amazing medieval rood screen ('rood' is a Saxon word meaning 'cross'. The screen marks the division between the nave [west end] and chancel [east end] in a church). Most of these were destroyed during the transition from Catholicism to Protestantism during the 15-1600s. This is, then, a rare survivor - and exquisite it is too!

Light and shade; growth, life and death - it's all to be found in and around this church...

Having enjoyed refreshments, cake and good company in the cafe which adjacent to the church, we were ready for the drive back to Norwich. 

So, at the end of our first Eureka excursion beyond the city's boundaries, I'll share with you some of my personal thoughts about what the day meant to me...

It was great to take some time out to take notice of things in a special place like Ranworth. I found myself being in the moment, and casting aside my workaday worries for a while. It was also great to learn more about the church and how to look at it. This will inform my 'eye' as I explore other similar sites in the future. I also very much enjoyed the conversations and comfortable connections between the group. We had three first time Eureka-ites with us on the day, but everyone socialised very naturally - great to see. It was also brilliant to note the acts of generosity within our group. For instance, the drivers refused to accept contributions towards petrol. Carole gave her time and expertise to the group, and, in turn, enjoyed answering questions and getting to know members of the group. The following week, Hala gave me a cake she had baked, to pass onto Lynn as a thank you for buying her tea and driving her to the church. Although I must admit, I opted out of climbing the church tower myself, others didn't. I subsequently heard reports from Tom that he was still feeling the effects of the climb a couple of days later (and he had the additional pleasure of standing next to the bells as they chimed!). 

For those of you who know a bit about the background to the Eureka project, you will know where I'm heading with this. We are all about improving our wellbeing through our photography explorations, and you will find every element of the Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect; Keep learning; Be Active; Take notice; Give) in my description, above. In a very spontaneous way, we use the Five Ways 'actions' to bank some feel good factor into the (metaphorical) 'bank account of the mind'. Being in credit helps us to face the challenges life throws at us - enhancing our bounce back ability (if you will). More than this though, all of the research into mental health points to the fact that people can only thrive when they are brought together around what they can do. All too often we are defined by our problems or 'failures'. Seemingly small comings together around positive projects like Eureka can have big beneficial impacts on people's lives. This is what group members are telling me, and I know it to be true from my own experience. 

Next, will be our forthcoming exhibition launch at The Base. More to follow about this in the very near future. 

~ Colin Howey ~


  1. Thank you Hala for the cake and thanks to the group for an enjoyable trip out

  2. The church looks lovely! Having seen these I'll definitely visit there myself. Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!


  3. i really enjoyed that day a lot

  4. Thanks to everyone for commenting here. It was a brilliant day, in a brilliant place with brilliant people - what's not to like!