Skip Navigation

Circles in your workplace

We’d love to discuss how Circles could work for you! There are currently three ways you could bring Circles to your organisation:

Bring existing Circles to your NHS trust

We currently have three different iterations of Circles for NHS workers. They’ve been delivered in various hospitals and at The Royal College of Nursing by our facilitator, health psychologist Esther Murray. The themes were developed in response to our research conversations with NHS nurses, matrons and midwives from a range of hospitals, departments and backgrounds.


Designed for:

All nurses, matrons and midwives

With audio storytellers who are:

Nurses, matrons, and midwives

To make space for:

Listening and sharing as peers

With central topics including:

Wellbeing, burnout, support


Designed for:

Nurses of the global majority and internationally recruited nurses

With audio storytellers who are:

Internationally recruited nurses of the global majority

To make space for:

Listening and sharing as peers

With central topics including:

Feeling valued, belonging, mental health


Designed for:

Senior leadership staff

With audio storytellers who are:

Nurses, matrons and midwives of the global majority

To make space for:

Hearing what work is really like for nurses of the global majority

With central topics including:

Systemic racism, allyship, career progression

Listen to a snippet of our audio clips

I think it’s just lip service. I think it is just trying to meet the political agenda, in that you have to have a certain amount (or seen to be trying – if you’re not doing: at least we tried, we had the seminar and nobody turned up) Why? Because you just wasn’t addressing the issues that needed to be addressed.

Why would you have an inclusion seminar for Black and Asians when it’s white people who need to know? Come on! So today we are having a diversity seminar, but when you look around the room you have the people presenting is the white people, and all the people sitting in the room is Black, Asians, Chinese, Filipinos…. How does that work?! Who’s being included here?! We don’t need to know about inclusion! It’s already inclusive!

Yeah, I think it’s pitched at the wrong people. Yeah. So you wouldn’t get the result you want. It’s just lip-service, it’s just tick the box, tick the box so that you get the points for your hospital finances the following year. That’s all.

Learn how to facilitate Circles

This year we’re expanding the reach of our NHS Circles by training nurses to become facilitators in their own hospitals. Facilitators join us for a day of training, and then have access to the recorded stories, other useful materials, and a follow-up Zoom chat if it feels useful. Get in touch if you’re interested!

Listen to a snippet from our audio clips

Oh, yeah, very, very critical. So there were times when I end up going home and thinking to myself I haven’t done this, or I didn’t study this, and I end up doing anything to compensate for that. I read a lot of things, I keep a diary where I forgot about this thing, I forgot to do this, tomorrow I have to do this thing again.

It wasn’t a healthy thought back then; because it was quite immature, it was quite naÏve to dwell on things where you couldn’t do something or you didn’t do something, but it was all in the past now. So the only thing that I thought moving forward was that: what can I do that would be better for tomorrow? So I guess that helps a lot in terms of mental health.

So how do we know what people are feeling? We ask them.

Brené Brown, writer and researcher

Commission new Circles

We think Circles can work in any organisation.

We design each iteration to suit specific needs. Circles are most powerful when built around a shared experience or theme – for example: 

A feeling

  • shame
  • overwhelm
  • anger
  • burnout


  • firefighters
  • teachers
  • teenagers
  • paramedics

An issue

  • racism
  • menopause
  • the climate emergency
  • cyber-bullying

Each iteration of Circles will have its own specific considerations so please get in touch with your idea so we can figure out what it would look like for you! As a general guide, this is how we approach a new commission:

What to expect when creating new Circles 

  1. The Circles team work with you to research and find five or six interviewees who have experiences related to the chosen theme.
  2. Our Audio Producer, Abby, meets each person to record an in-depth and in-person conversation.
  3. We craft those hours of conversation into several short, high-quality audio stories. Together, they’re specific to and representative of what many people are experiencing. We find that the more personal the issue feels, the more universal it is. 
  4. We design the circle’s flow around the content of the audio stories.
  5. We run the new Circles in your workplace.
  6. Once we’re confident in our new Circles process, we can also train people in your workplace to facilitate sessions.

How we take care of our audio contributors

  • We brief each person well in advance of any potential recorded conversation
  • We regularly check how contributors are feeling during the interview process.
  • We make sure each person is happy with their edited stories before they become part of Circles.
  • We don’t require contributors to add their names or specific roles to the recording.
  • We offer re-voicing by an actor for any contributor’s stories.

Some feedback from Circles participants

✎ A lovely, relaxing, welcoming, non-judgmental, and supportive space was cultivated. It seemed that participants were relaxed and found benefit in listening to one another as well as having time to reflect and really think about their own experiences. 


✎ Pleased I took this reflection opportunity – realise how much the same we all are. It felt like a space away from everything with permission to speak about coping and reflecting.


✎ Everyone was so calm, relaxed and un-judgmental.


✎ Enlightening


✎ I liked meeting new people. I liked Esther’s gentle, warm hosting. I found the audio clips very helpful and accessible. Felt like being part of something important – you could feel that something important was happening… This was getting close to something meaningful.


✎ Diverse participants, boundaried sharing. It was warm and connecting and I feel less lonely now.


✎ The team were so friendly and welcoming, made me feel safe and able to be vulnerable.


✎ I found the audio clips of nurses talking about aspects of their experiences very thought-provoking… The third round was particularly powerful and affecting. Esther held the space beautifully, and I felt very welcome.


✎ Really stimulating stories shared – both from the recordings and those present. Felt respected and supported, able to share feelings and be open in a safe psychological space. Really valued hearing from everyone – but particularly the other nurses.


Help us hold more Circles!

Circles is an independent project that we’d love to make more accessible to workplaces across the country.