I am based within the College of Health and Social Care Reserach Centre. My role is focused upon helping to develop the College of Health and Social Care's research activity. This includes the development of bids, the conducting of research and the dissemination of findings. A key element of my role is in helping academics from across the college to engage with research.
My PhD research involved working with women who had experienced domestic violence, using visual media to explore what home, relationships and support meant for them in the past, the present and the future.
The research shows that the home has special significance for women as they transition away from domestic violence and plan for their future. The home becomes a physical manifestation and container for women’s hopes and fears for a harmonious future that often incorporates the desire for the return to the idea of a complete family. Relationships with family, friends and services are shown to be both enablers of women’s agency and resistance. Those same relationships are also shown to be capable of acting as barriers to women’s positive transitional journeys. The findings show that attention needs to be placed upon the appearance of women’s agency within the everyday tasks of creating and maintaining a home and managing relationships as they move away from domestic violence. The findings also point to the need for services to work harder on empowering women, both by adequately listening to the stories told about their pasts and hopes for the future, and by helping them to achieve their plans through challenging the limitations imposed by policies and economics.
I am developing new lines of inquiry that emerge from the work carried out during my PhD. One emerging strand is assisting providers of services engaged with the prevention of violence against women and girls. The aim being to evaluate their provision in ways that will provide data that is meaningful to funders and commissioners. I am currently working with Derbyshire County Council and 3rdsector organizations, helping them to evaluate educational projects aimed at preventing risk of sexual exploitation of girls and young women through work with vulnerable young people and potential perpetrators. They have provided the College Research Centre with funding to work them over the next 30 months on this project. I am assisting a Derbyshire charity that works with sexual abuse victims and perpetrators to develop research of their counselling service that takes account of the gender of the counsellor and the client. Parallel to these projects focused upon the prevention of violence and abuse I am working with a Derby-based community arts project to measure the impact of work they are conducting with older people. In all these cases I am strongly advocating for a methodology that measures both attitudinal and behavioural change, arguing that this will speak more clearly to the future funders of those organizations I am working with.
2017 (ongoing) – Collaborating with local NHS Trust on developing quantitative evidence of the arts therapies. This entails the funding of a full-time PhD student to capture quantitative evidence generated by the provision of Art Therapy within a perinatal service.
- 2017 (ongoing) – Working with local statutory authorities and 3rdsector to develop service evaluation models related to therapeutic and educational interventions tackling the sexual exploitation of girls and young women as part of their violence against women and girls strategy.
- 2017 (ongoing) – Working with Derby-based community arts projects to evaluate their work with elderly populations
- 2009-2015 Conducting of a PhD study (registered with theUniversity of Derby) employing and evaluating an arts-based research methodology to explore women’s experiences of domestic violence. This was completed in the summer of 2014. This project has involved close collaboration with Women’s Aid. Post-doctoral research will likely involve similar research with men and young people who have experienced domestic violence. Successful completion in February 2015
- 2011-12 Collaboration with University of Derby Occupational Therapist lecturer, Heather Bullen, piloting an employment skills group to increase women’s economic independence. This project was funded by the Research Informed Curriculum Fund which was primarily used to pay for an external agency to provide specialist employment and placement services. Further development of this project is in the process of being planned.
- 2006-2009 Involvement with theMaking the Connections initiative exploring the benefits and role of the arts within new-entrant and Diaspora communities within the East Midlands. This led to strong links with academics from Loughborough University and the use of a methodology that involved participatory action research, performative ethnography and art therapy. As part of this project I organized a one-day workshop that explored the emotional component of arts-based work with refugees and other new-entrants, and the role of supervision to support community artists.
Membership of professional bodies
I am registered with the Health Care Professions Council (as an Art Therapist since 2004). I am a member of the British Association of Art Therapists (Region 9) and a member of the British Sociological Association.
OVERSEAS TEACHING (ERASMUS)
- October 2014, Tallinn University, Estonia – Lecture and workshop around the theme of Transitional Stories of Domestic Violence
- May 2007, HAMK University, Finland - Workshops based around the theme of Introduction to Art Therapy
- August 2006, HAMK University, Finland - Workshops based around the theme of Art and Language
- August 2005, Hämeenlinna Polytechnic, Finland – Workshops based around the theme of Art & Identity