The Little Tin of Resilience

The Little Tin of Resilience is an exploration of what it means, or takes, to make ourselves resilient. It responds to a growing interest in the significance of resilience, but instead of looking at resilience from the perspective of the organisation, Little Tin of Resilience focuses on the individual and encourages participants to think about what resilience means for them...what they do to keep themselves well and how they restore themselves.

The first Little Tin of Resilience project was with the staff and students of The Florence Nightingale School of Nursing, King's College, London, but the project is transferable to any group interested in supporting and developing individual well being.


Little Tin of Resilience  returned by Claire, Second Year Adult Nursing Student, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College, London   

Little Tin of Resilience returned by Claire, Second Year Adult Nursing Student, Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College, London


The first Little Tin of Resilience project developed from my interest in crafting a nursing toolkit, a physical manifestation of all the things that might make a nurse or midwife. The profession has something called the 'Six Cs'. These are the qualities expected of nursing and midwifery practitioners: Compassion, Courage, Commitment, Competence, Communication and Care. These skills and attributes do help to make a good nurse or midwife, but also make many demands upon them as individuals both within and beyond their professional role. Reflective practice is well understood and applied in nursing and I wanted to offer the opportunity for students and staff to reflect on themselves, to explore how they coped with the many demands made of them.

Materially, resilience is characterised as being like rubber, of having the capacity to bounce back like a ball. I hoped  that together we might produce a rich range of responses that demonstrate individuality, but also highlight some shared aspects of resilience. 

Ten staff and twenty students were invited to curate a tin that included the things that kept them going, helped them stay well and bounce back from hard times. The tins were chosen for their size - 14 x 10 x 4.5 and were each decorated by me with a design unique to the faculty, a Nightingale. This was designed for me by Jane Porter, an illustrator and friend.

Each participant was given an information sheet with their tin and encouraged to take time to think about what they might put in it. I was keen to see how making things might be reflected in the tin's contents, how creativity might be involved in taking care of ourselves. Once tins had been filled, I met with each participant to discuss the contents of their tin, what the contents meant for them and how they defined resilience on a personal level. The tin's contents were photographed and the tins returned to their owners. This became a very meaningful project, one of the participants described how becoming involved encouraged her to assess her life and that it helped her make very significant decisions about her future. Claire, a second year adult nursing student, returned her tin to me wrapped in ribbon, she wanted to thank me for giving her the chance to think about how she looked after herself...she saw the tin as my gift to her.

You will find only one item in this tin […] I’m low on resilience right now.

Resilience means to me being able to find goodness and lightness again even after feeling like it would be better to close my eyes and never open them again.

Being involved made me think about the important things - thank you


The Little Tin of Resilience Project will be used - under licence - across the faculty of Nursing and Midwifery at King's College, London from autumn 2017. 

The intellectual property of Little Tin of Resilience is protected in law. I am keen to extend this project into other areas of care and welcome enquiries.