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Limerick Men’s Sheds to play central role in study by TUS based Fulbright Scholar

Melinda Heinz, Associated Professor Upper Iowa University and Fulbright Scholar at TUS. Picture: Alan Place

Men’s Shed members from across Limerick are encouraged to participate in a research study by TUS based Fulbright scholar Dr Melinda Heinz, that will explore how the Sheds promotes purpose and meaning in older life.

The project will not only provide insight into the impact of Men’s Sheds on society, but will also provide a rich history of the association which opened it’s first shed in Ireland 10 years ago.

An associate professor at Upper Iowa University in the United States, Dr Heinz chose to undertake the study after holidaying in Ireland and is currently working at the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS), Moylish Campus in Limerick researching the topic and gathering data.

Dr Heinz cited TUS’s applied approach to research and education as among the reasons she chose the university as the ideal host institution for the collaboration.

“I was also interested in working with a university that served students from multiple and diverse backgrounds, including rural populations. TUS is also positioned well geographically, providing easy access to multiple counties. This provides an opportunity to get to know the people and culture of several areas throughout my time in Ireland,” said the Iowa associate professor.

“My interest in Men’s Sheds began several years ago when I visited a shed in Dundalk. The men there showed me around their garden, art studio, and woodworking shop. I was fascinated by the projects they were engaged in as well as the sense of community among the men. I wanted to find a way to study the Men’s Shed phenomenon. The Fulbright Scholar programme provided me an opportunity to do that, in partnership with TUS.”

“During my time in Ireland, I will be conducting one on one interviews with shed participants in Limerick, to learn more about how participating in Men’s Sheds contributes to purpose and meaning for retired men. Participants will be asked to consent to the public archiving of audio, video, and photographic files at Technological University of the Shannon and my home institution – Upper Iowa University libraries for the public preservation of Men’s Shed history,” she added.

Welcoming Dr Heinz to TUS, Head of Research Dr Patrick Murray said, “We are delighted to welcome Fulbright scholar Dr Heinz to join our research community at TUS, Dr Heinz’s area of study is fully aligned with our mission and strategic plans of promoting active education opportunities that solve real problems and challenges.”

To get involved in the Fulbright research project, Men’s Shed members are asked to contact Dr Melinda Heinz at