The site has its origins in a Seminar Series on Wellbeing: Social and Individual Determinants funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK. The series can be seen under Seminars. It shows the importance of considering societal, environmental and individual factors in research into wellbeing. The seminar series led to the book ‘Well-Being: individual, community and social perspectives’ edited by John Haworth and Graham Hart, published by Palgrave Macmillan 2007, paperback edition 2012.
Alan Carr, University College Dublin, reviewing the book, noted that it '...is an important contribution to positive psychology. John Haworth and Graham Hart have brought together a panel of international experts to authoritatively outline the state of the science of well-being and the implications of this for research, policy and practice'.
The transdisciplinary book complements the harm-based focus of much social scientific research into health. The chapters present a new dynamic view of well-being, one that will be crucial for the way in which we will cope with the twenty first century. Several key concepts relating to well-being are identified in the book. These include the following:
- Well-being is complex and multifaceted. It is considered as a state and a process. It is a contested concept.
- Well-being includes personal, interpersonal, and collective needs, which influence each other.
- Well-being may take different forms, which may conflict across groups in society, requiring an overarching settlement. Well-being may also take different forms over the life-course of an individual.
- Well-being is intimately intertwined with the physical, cultural and technological environment, and requires a global perspective.
- Interventions to enhance well-being may take different forms. They should be conducted at individual, community, and societal levels, ideally in concert. Interventions need to recognise diversity and socio-economic inequalities in society, and be concerned with the unintended as well as the intended consequences of action.
The introduction to the book can be seen on the Developments page.
A seminar on ‘Wellbeing and Sustainable Living’ was hosted by the Centre for Social Change and Wellbeing at Manchester Metropolitan University in May 2007. Details can be seen on the site at Seminars. The full seminar is also present as a downloadable pdf The event showed the importance of developments in positive psychology for well-being and sustainability, and also the necessity for focussing on socio-economic inequalities and social justice in society.Well-being was seen as complex and crucially linked to sustainability; with a range of approaches to practice and development of understanding required. It was emphasised that it is important to consult and empower local communities, and sustain the well-being of public sector workers undertaking this; and to monitor both the intended and unintended consequences of policy decisions for well-being and sustainable living.
A new research project posted under developments is a photo-ethnographic project on ‘The way we are now’. This can potentially combine research into wellbeing with research into creativity. A paper on the project was given at an international conference in Tallinn in October 2007.
Key links on the site are updated and extended, with new ones added. The site thus increases its inter and multidisciplinary potential, providing access to crosscutting strategic research and practice on wellbeing, which will be of theoretical, methodological and practical importance. The site also gives access to a distributed research network. It will help to facilitate national and international networking and collaboration. It will also be important for knowledge transfer and exchange. The site will continue to be a valuable resource for undergraduates, postgraduates, academic staff, and others concerned with research into wellbeing.