Staff profile

Drew Bird

Senior Lecturer


Therapeutic Arts


College of Health and Social Care


School of Allied Health and Social Care


Derby Campus



As a dramatherapist, I am aware of the benefits of drama to enable people to find new ways to express themselves. Dramatherapy is a unique psychotherapy that uses drama and theatre for the the purposes of therapy to explore difficulties and find a new relationship with a problem. The creative expressive model used within the Creative Expressive Therapies course is about developing the healthy parts of the self through the use of the imagination. 

Teaching responsibilities

I teach on two programmes within therapeutic arts. The MA in Dramatherapy and the BA in Creative Expressive Therapies. 

Professional interests

I am involved with Dramatherapy studio, clinical supervision, independent scholarship supervision for Dramatherapy students and Creative Expressive Therapies students as well as experiential groups that use different art forms to explore student experience as being part of a group. 

Research interests

My research interests are in arts-based research using heuristic inquiry, autoethnography and a/r/tography. 

Membership of professional bodies

I am member of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the British Association of Dramatherapists (BADth).

I am a fellow of the Academy of Higher Education. 

I am currently acting Deputy Editor of the Dramatherapy Journal. 

Recent conferences

I presented in April 2018 at the European Federation of Dramatherapy in Nurtingen, Germany, where I presented a paper and performance that explored performance as an arts-based approach to research that informs professional development as a dramatherapist. 

Experience in industry

My background as a dramatherapist and social worker has been working in palliative care, child and adolescent mental health, looked after children, inpatient care of older people, learning disabilities, community-based adult mental health, Young Offenders Institute (YOI) and children and young people secure units. 

Recent publications

Bird, D. and Holmwood, C. (2019) ‘The playful Learner’ in C. Holmwood and J. Taylor (eds.) Learning as a Creative and Developmental Process in Higher Education: A Therapeutic Arts Approach and its Wider Application, London and New York: Routledge.

Bird, D. and Tozer, K. (2018) ‘An a/r/tographic exploration of engagement in theatrical performance: what does this mean for the student/teacher relationship’. Arts and Humanities in Higher Education.

Bird, D. (2017) Playback Theatre, Autoethnography and Generosity. Dramatherapy. Vol. 38 Issue 1, pp. 32-42.

Bird, D. (2016) ‘Heuristic Methodology in Arts based inquiry of Autobiographical Therapeutic Theatre’. In The self in Performance: Autobiographical, self-revelatory, and autoethnographic forms of therapeutic theatre, S. Pendzik, R. Emmunah and D. Read Johnson, UK and USA: Palgrave-McMillan.

Bird D. and Tozer K. (2016), ‘Towards a drama therapy pedagogy: An a/r/tographic study using dramatic improvisation’, Drama Therapy Review, 2: 2, pp. 273–284.

Smith, M. and Bird, D. (2014) Fairy tales, Landscapes and Metaphor in Supervision, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. London: Taylor and Francis.

Bird, D. (2010) ‘The Power of a new story: The bigger picture- Narrative therapy and the role of aesthetic distance within the process of re-authoring in Dramatherapy in Dramatherapy Vol 31 no 3 winter 2010.

Bird, D (2006) ‘The many roles of Therapeutic Theatre’ in Dramatherapy vol 28(3). 

Bird, A (2005) ‘Dramatherapy in Palliative Care’ in Aspects of social work and palliative care Parker, J (ed.). Trowbridge, Wiltshire. Quay Books.