International Occupational Narrative Data Base: Representing the Diversity of Doing & Meaning in Place



Welcome to the Occupational Narratives database project site. We are glad you are here!

The occupational narratives project is the result of the collaborative work of WFOT and a group of occupational therapists and occupational scientists across the world, under the project leadership of Dr. Gail Whiteford. Together, the project team representing all 6 WHO world regions, are working to develop an open access, inclusive data base of occupational narratives, representing of people from all backgrounds, ability levels, ages, socioeconomic and sociocultural backgrounds as they engage in everyday “doings” in naturalistic, formal, and institutional settings. Watch our introductory video and meet Dr. Gail Whiteford!

Intoductory Video - Dr. Gail Whiteford

WFOT’s Research Programme seeks to promote the development of research evidence to support responsive, ethical, culturally sensitive and contextually relevant occupational therapy practice. As such, we are excited to invite you to partner with us and the project team to develop the first-ever international data base of occupations, the things that people want and need to do. During 2019 we will begin to collect digital stories. Our data base will be officially launched at the WFOT Congress in Paris in 2022.

Together, we can increase the global understandings of the meaning of everyday “doing” or occupations of people in a range of contexts and environments from a range of ages, backgrounds and ability levels.

This project site will allow you to engage and interact with us in different ways:

1. Contribute. Using the upload instructions below, and after watching the instructional videos, you can record an occupational narrative an uploaded to our site. That way, you will be contributing your story to the collective stories of “how and why we do” in the world.
2. Browse. Look at the different narrative samples and get a sense of how people engage in occupations around the world. Our hope is that this will help to broaden your perspectives of occupation, and your sense of belonging to the global community.
3. Contact us. If you have any questions or wish to know more about this evolving project, you can contact us at


Thank you for your desire to contribute your story to this digital collection. Being a participant in this project will provide you with a link to the occupational therapy community around the world and for students, it represents a unique learning opportunity.
In order to make the most of your experience of contributing, we have prepared a series of resources to assist you.

Here are some sample digital stories from 3 different countries – Spain, Belgium and Australia. These examples will help and inspire you to understand what an occupational narrative sounds and looks like, and how it can help you tell YOUR unique occupational narrative or assist someone else to tell theirs.




Now that you are ready to film your own digital story, follow the instructions below. Watch our “how to” video below and meet a member of the team, occupational therapist Mike Jarrey, in Belgium!

"How to" video - Mike Jarrey


Digital stories will be no more than 4 minutes in length and address the following questions either by self-narration or as facilitated by an interviewer:

• WHO are you/your group? (As much as you are comfortable sharing)

• WHERE are you located? (As much as is appropriate/comfortable. For example: at my or someone else’s home: in a workplace: in a private or publically funded institutional setting; in a religious organisation; in a local community setting or facility; in the natural environment; in a civic or public space)

• WHAT do you DO that is meaningful to you? (for example; caring for a pet: preparing/cooking/sharing food; teaching children; working in nature/the garden; working in IT or being a computer “gamer”; creative writing; volunteering; playing a musical instrument; being a friend; doing art or craftwork of any type; being a parent or carer; running a small business; being a worker/professional of any type )

• HOW do you do this (Basic outline, not too much technical information) or what PREVENTS you from doing this at present and what is that like?)

• WHY is it meaningful to you? (personal/social/cultural/economic reasons)

Upload your video