Care-full Stories: Interactive training resources for developing your institution's culture of care

Image: © Animal Research Nexus

What is Care-full Stories?

Care-full stories is a set of training materials designed to encourage people working in animal research to reflect on their institution's culture of care. They consist of a selection of scripted scenarios and a proposed workshop structure. Care-full Stories can be used alongside other tools and training materials, such as bench marking surveys, as a means of developing, monitoring and enhancing an institution's culture of care. They can also serve to help individuals reflect on the different dimensions of, and responsibilities associated with, a culture of care.

Where did Care-full Stories come from?

Research by Professor Beth Greenhough and her colleagues as part of the Wellcome-trust funded Animal Research Nexus project suggests that for animal technologists and facility managers sharing stories about their workplace experiences served as a way of thinking through the ethical and emotional challenges of their work, including what counts as good care. Inspired by this, between December 2019 and December 2022, Professor Greenhough (Principle Investigator) and Hibba Mazhary (Research Assistant) brought together a group of key stakeholders in the animal research community, including Co-Investigator Dr Manuel Berdoy from Oxford's Biomedical Sciences Division and creative professional Ida Berglöw Kenneway, to design and pilot a new training resource, successfully demonstrating how storytelling offers an innovative approach to teaching a culture of care.

What does Care-full Stories consist of?

The original training resource consists of a set of instructions for facilitators, (with a suggested agenda, introductory activities and discussion points) and seven different scripts users can select from. In a typical training session volunteers read out the scripts, (ideally taking on roles different to their usual position in the workplace), and then collectively participants talk through a series of discussion points the script was designed to raise.

Who is Care-full Stories for?

The resource is designed for those working in the animal research sector at all levels, including senior management, lead scientists, research staff, veterinarians, animal technologists and members of ethical review boards. It is designed to be adaptable to the specific needs of the group using it, and facilitators can mix and match different components to suit their requirements. There are a range of different scripts, each with a slightly different focus. Care-full Stories works best in person with small groups of around eight participants, but it also works well online and can be adapted for use with larger groups. It can be used by a group of individuals who occupy a similar role (e.g. animal technologists, researchers) but is particularly effective at encouraging learning and conversations between mixed groups of staff working in different roles and at different levels.

What do I need to run Care-full Stories?

All the information you need to run Care-full Stories, including instructions for facilitators, introductory exercises, scripts and feedback forms can be downloaded below. In addition you will need a small(ish) meeting room, pens/paper/whiteboards and other spaces to make notes, and if you like some props such as a soft toy ferret (see individual scripts for details). Given the focus on sharing personal experiences around sometimes emotionally challenging topics and scenarios, it is best if Care-full Stories is run by an experienced trainer or facilitator who can create a safe and confidential space for discussion.

What can I expect after running the workshop?

Pilot studies have shown this resource is particularly effective in encouraging participants to reflect on their institution's culture of care, recognise the different viewpoints and experiences held by colleagues working in different roles and in different areas of a facility, and the importance of maintaining good channels of communication. The notes for facilitators include links to some follow-on resources which can be used to respond to and build on this learning. The two reports from the pilot studies offer a more detailed over view of the benefits participants took from the workshop (available as downloads below).

How do I get started?

We recommend you being by downloading and reading the 'Instructions for facilitators'. This can then help you decide which scripts, introductory activities and other resources you may wish to use.

Let us know what you think!

This resource was developed collaboratively with stakeholders from across the animal research sector and their feedback and insights have played a key role in helping us develop and test these resources. We'd really welcome your feedback to help inform our future work. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, or would be willing to share your experiences of using Care-full Stories, please email us at



Wellcome The Animal Research Nexus University of Oxford Social Sciences Division, Oxford UKRI ESRC