Soul Relics Museum


The Soul Relics Museum project will be having a pop-up exhibitions in the SGDP for a month from 16th April – 20th May 2018

The Soul Relics Museum collects photographs of objects which relate to a time of personal struggle with mental wellbeing. Objects are makers of our memories, and Soul Relics believes that object-based storytelling is a way for people to understand what recovery means to them and connect with others who have similar experiences. The project focuses on our relationship with ourselves to foster a better understanding of people’s emotions, strengths and resilience and seeks to look beyond the medicalised narrative. As a result should be a greater understanding of what it is like to struggle with mental ill health.

My Dad’s Briefcase

This is my dad’s RAF briefcase and it has always featured in my psychosis. If you can imagine Steve McQueen in the Great Esca

pe, the part where he’s always being returned to the POW camp, well this is the same for my item. Every time I’ve been hospitalised dad’s old RAF briefcase has always been in my hospital room, almost as if it’s been waiting for me to arrive. In a time of massive sleep deprivation seeing this briefcase in the hospital (brought by my folks somehow) has not helped my recovery. Its always arrived with me and its time to release it to the museum where it can take its place amongst the items that mean so much to all of us. I’m in a much better place now and one day I hope to not associate the memory of my illness with it as I am sure he used it for different things in a different time. Thanks for allowing me to release it to you.


— Ans

One of the contributed stories

The project is my brainchild. I conceived the idea after visiting the Museum of Broken Relationships in Croatia which archives memories of broken relationships with significant other through objects. Following this visit and inspired by my own lived experience, I saw an opportunity to bridge the museum and mental health sectors and began my journey in collecting stories from communities when I was completing the Charity-works Fellowship last year. I have had the honour to talk to many inspirational people and listen to heartfelt, honest and less-told stories.

I wonder,

(1) What if there were a museum that displayed the relics of our souls, containing the legacy and testimony of our memories, hope and grief?

(2) How can we better harness the power of stories? For example, this amazing BBC Calming touch project on objects that soothe us was only funded for 2 years. Can we create a sustainable archive and platform?

In 2017, The project was shortlisted for the Koreo Prize, a storytelling competition for young people on tackling complex social issue in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

                                  A pop-up event at Brick lane in 2017 as part of the Koreo Prize Finalist Showcase

The vision of Soul Relics is to be able to contribute to ongoing research about the impact of storytelling on mental wellbeing. One current example of this is The NEON Project which analyses personal recovery narratives. Soul Relics promotes a unique method of sharing recovery narratives, which could be valuable for further research on insights into mental health recovery.

You can follow the project on Twitter. Soul Relics is seeking to expand its reach so as to collect many more stories from people from a variety of backgrounds which you can submit here. Hopefully, these stories will inspire and encourage even more people to come forward, share and respond individually and as a community.


I would also like to invite you to the reception event on 16th May 2018 at the SGDP to support mental health awareness week! Please RSVP here: