Staff profile

Professor Susan Hogan

Professor in Arts and Health

Susan Hogan smiling, holding open a book on photography.


Therapeutic Arts


College of Arts, Humanities and Education


School of Arts

Research centre

Digital and Material Artistic Research Centre




Britannia Mill, Derby Campus



I am a Professor of Arts and Health at the University.

I am interested in interdisciplinary research around women’s issues and the arts in health (I am qualified in arts administration, fine art, art therapy, cultural history, and visual sociology). My books are:

I have also published over 40 journal articles and book chapters on depictions of women and madness, the position of women within psychiatry, the transition to motherhood, and also on visual research methods.

I am Series Editor of Global Health Humanities, Intellect Publishing.

Teaching responsibilities

I am a supervisor at MA and PhD levels. I supervise academic work in the following broad areas:

Recent and Current Doctor of Practice and PhD students are:

Professional interests

Publication and Grant Reviewer

I am managing editor of a new book series. The Global Health Humanities presents an exciting series that will look at global health humanities incorporating:

Contributions to the series will focus on a wide range of subjects from arts in health to the history of medicine, utilising numerous methodologies and perspectives.

A wide range of critical studies interrogating the epistemology of knowledge production will be considered. Forms of health knowledge production will be questioned. This is a series which will be attentive to the mutually constitutive nature of gender, sexual identity, cultural identity, disability, age and other categories of difference that shape social practices and individual lives.

This sensitivity to cultural perspectives will form a critical, and distinctive, lens for the series. Topics of interest will include, but not be restricted to, global health inequalities and the health humanities; critical reflections on global health humanities; conceptualisations of health; global health in health humanities scholarship; global maternal health; critical analysis of representations of health & illness across cultures; gender inequality; gender issues in the arts and health.

Research interests

I have research interests in the history of medicine. I have written extensively on the relationship between the arts, insanity, and the role of the arts in rehabilitation. I am also very interested in the treatment of women within psychiatry and maternity care. My research interests are:

Funded Research Projects

Psychiatry and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Britain (PAN)

The role and place of the Arts in mental health and wellbeing forms an important part of modern practice and exploration, but also has an important history of its own. This AHRC-funded network is designed to bring together scholars working on a wide variety of interrelated, cross-disciplinary projects in order to consolidate and develop historical understanding, as well as forging new connections with professionals in health and wellbeing practice, heritage and history, and the creative sector.

PAN is led by Dr Rosemary Golding (The Open University, PI) and Professor Susan Hogan (The University of Derby, Co-I). It draws on the expertise of heritage partners The Crichton Trust, Dumfries, and Bethlem Museum of the Mind, Beckenham, as well as the work of both early-career and established academics and creative practitioners. The network’s activities will run between April 2023 and September 2024, and will include seminars exploring areas of historical enquiry, opportunities to develop links between historians and health professionals, and a two-day conference seeking to forge new directions in research and collaboration.

These aims are captured in the Network’s research questions:

  1. What was the relationship between the arts and psychiatry in nineteenth-century Britain, in the contexts of psychiatric institutions, published writings, and other media?
  2. How do we understand this relationship and its associated practices within the broader context of health and social history, and the history of the arts?
  3. How do we make use of this research to inform and inspire modern practice, across a wide range of both arts and health services?
  4. What future research directions serve both to build on these historical foundations, and to make use of opportunities for impact and engagement?

PAN is funded by The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

Mobilising Cultural & Natural Assets to Combat Health Inequalities - Art From the Start!

UKRI, AHRC Call: Build community research consortia to address health disparities Art from the Start. Consortium Build.

This bid is being led by the University of Dundee, Josephine Ross. Professor Hogan is Co-investigator AH/X005917/1 from: 1/11/2022 - current

This project is interested in the arts as part of perinatal care. This project will:

Birth Shock! Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement

Our aim is to enhance the impact of The Birth Project, which was funded by the AHRC, through engaging with further new non-academic, and trainee professional audiences, via the sharing and development of compelling resources, which we will negotiate to be adopted by the training institutions as part of their curriculums and to generate persuasive evidence of this impact.

Our current initiative stems from a recently completed project on the experience of birth, the trauma that can follow it, and the role of the arts and creative practices in helping express and, ultimately, mitigate negative consequences. The Birth Project focused on mothers and empowered them to articulate their own experiences. In addition, it has also helped emphasise the impact of the birthing process on all those related to it: partners, midwives and health professionals.

As a result, we have managed to elucidate the complex discourses surrounding birth and trauma from a multiplicity of perspectives. Furthermore, we managed to capture these voices, through filming workshops, to make a lasting statement about the reality of birth, using the power of the art and personal testimony of those filmed.

We intend to use these films as an educational resource and make them part of the formal training that health and medical professionals undergo, so they become integrated into curricula. Both the quantitative and the self-report data that were collected during this project point to this need.

Additional supporting educational resources, to help institutions use the films, will be developed and shared over a twelve-month period. A robust assessment of the material’s impact will be undertaken. New and international non-academic audiences will also be engaged. Public engagement with policy and practice audiences will follow.

This is an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) supported follow-on funding grant for impact and engagement. Birth Shock: An Application to Support Innovative and Creative Engagements with New Non-Academic Audiences & User Communities to Stimulate Pathways to Impact, (Grant reference: AH/V000926/1). The project ran through 2021 and 2022.

Read the Birth Shock! project report.

Mobilising Cultural and Natural Assets to Combat Health Inequalities - Social Prescribing for All (SP-4-All).

UKRI, AHRC Call: Prescribing 4 All (SP4All): Developing and Testing a Training Model to Increase Diversity in Cultural and Nature-Based Community Programmes (AH/W008009/1).

This bid is being led by the University of Derby, by Professor David Sheffield and Professor Susan Hogan is a Co-Investigator. Feb 2022 - current.

Arts Based Interventions with Women and Girls

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) has identified that refugee children's participation in mainstream schooling in many refugee host countries (RHCs) is substantially lower than their settled peers and that for girls the gap is even more significant. Furthermore, the gap between refugee girls, their settled peers and refugee boys widens, as girls get older. This is often attributed to social and cultural traditions that under-value girls' education and limit their participation in activities outside the home or immediate community setting. This project is exploring the literature around arts-based interventions aimed at girls and young women and the particular affordances and ethical complexities of these. This is a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) QR Fund project 2021.

Creative Network Plus: Baseline Research and Development Project (BREDEP)

By the end of 2017, persecution, violence and war had forced over 68 million people to flee their home nations and seek safety in foreign countries, which exceeds all previous records for global forced displacement (UNHCR, 2018). Despite of the many refugee-hosting countries (RHC) being low and middle-income countries ( LMICs), often with inadequate resources to meet the demands of this refugee influx. It has been recognised that cultural and creative industries (CCIs) have positively contributed towards fostering intercultural dialogue between host communities and refugees in RHCs (UNESCO, 2018). However, could technologies scale up such creativity to act as an 'enabler' for RY integration or access to vocational education and training (VET) the RHCs? Given the insufficient resources and lack of necessary infrastructure to facilitate much needed inclusive refugee integration systems, and the focus being put on primary and secondary school enrolment as well as humanitarian interventions, there is only weak research evidence from RHCs' perspective.

Developed as a part of the GCRF Education in Conflict and Crisis Research portfolio, this project is aimed at providing baseline research for an interdisciplinary arts and social science network plus- (Creative Network) which aims to investigate how innovations in technologies (mobile and digital) can support CCIs for Refugee Youth (RY) (young people aged 16-32 years) that will enable better integration and access to VET in the Network-hosting communities of 6 of the world's top 10 RHCs - Turkey, Uganda, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Lebanon and Ethiopia. This project will advance our theoretical understanding, build strong, equitable and sustainable partnerships, and support the engagement of the Creative Network's stakeholders.

This is an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project (grant reference AH/T005572/1)

I was a Co-investigator.

Creative Practice as Mutual Recovery

Creative Practice as Mutual Recovery: Connecting Communities for Mental Health and Well-Being (AHRC Communities, Cultures, Health and Wellbeing Research Grants, Cross-council Programme). Consortia bid of 1.5 million (co-investigator and stream lead) from 1/5/2013 (ahrc grant ref. ah/k003364/1).

The Birth Project is using participatory arts to explore birthing from the perspectives of mothers and birth professionals. central to the health humanities is the notion of mutual recovery – the idea that the sharing of creative practice and resources can promote resilience in mental health and well-being among professionals, informal carers and service users.

This concept is emerging at a time when the burden of mental health remains considerable and a renewed emphasis on biomedical and neuroscientific solutions is accompanied by little confidence of success. at present, according to some studies, mental health problems affect as many as one in three or possibly even one in two people and constitute the second-greatest health burden after cardiovascular disease.

Current community care approaches continue to deliver mixed results. Social isolation and exclusion are still growing. there are mounting fears that services users' trust is being undermined and that the public is becoming increasingly sceptical about mental health services. In the face of these challenges, the role and potential benefits of mutual recovery offer a new and valuable research theme. crucially, they provide fertile ground for innovation, involvement and impact.

The Birth Project

The Birth Project is an arts-based research project, which has employed visual methods throughout, both as a means of elicitation, but also as a mode of dissemination of research results. It forms part of a larger investigation that has examined how creative practice, in the arts and humaitities, can promote the kinds of connectedness and reciprocity that support mental health and wellbeing.


Births can be traumatising for all involved; obstetricians and midwives are subject to very different stresses to the women they serve. Yet all those witnessing the birth (and death) of babies may also be traumatised - both professionals and birth-partners. Furthermore, hospital protocols, coupled with the unpredictability of birthing itself, can override what women want and expect in terms of a birth experience, leaving some women frankly in shock, which then can have a knock-on effect on infant development. The Birth Project uses the arts to explore this complex and emotive field.

Throughout the course of the research, parents and birth workers have been given the opportunity to explore their experiences of compassion fatigue, stress, birth suffering and post-natal readjustments using the arts: drawing and painting, photography, photo- diaries and art elicitation in participatory arts community workshops, primarily through art-making and elucidation of the artworks produced. A major component of the research is that it is filmed by Sheffield Vision and that the films are then being edited in such a way as to address the research questions.

Watch The Birth Project films


The aim of this study was to use the arts to interrogate birth discourses, to challenge embedded assumptions, and in this process, to stimulate mutual recovery between all those who experience and are affected by birth.

The research questions are:

  • What role might arts engagement have to play in ante-natal and post-natal care?
  • To what extent are hospital practices, that are iatrogenic in nature, implicated in post-natal distress?
  • To what extent is ‘mutual recovery’ possible through engagement with the arts, and if so, to establish what form this may take?
  • What, in particular, does an arts-based approach offer in exploring birth experiences and the transition to motherhood?


You can read The Birth Project Interim Report and the The Birth Project - Final Research Report.

Researching Arts, Health and Wellbeing: Creating Effective Collaborations. A UK Network for Arts and Health Research and Development

Nov 12-14. ESRC Seminar Series. Co-applicant £15,078 & Seminar Series Steering-Group Member. Nov 12-Oct 14. Grant reference: ES/ J022527/1.

Read about the project outcomes.

Representing Self Representing Ageing

Recent work was ESRC funded, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, Department of Sociological Studies, which looked at representations of older women. The aim of this study was to use the creative arts to negotiate and challenge images of ageing and explore their contribution to participatory approaches to research in social gerontology. The study asked how media and cultural representations of older people have conveyed ideas and expectations about age and gender.

The aims were to: enable older women drawn from different community settings to create their own images of ageing using a variety of visual and textual methods; explore the relationship between cultural and creative activity and later life well-being; reflect upon the contribution of visual 'real-life methods' to participatory processes; demonstrate the contribution of arts and humanities to critical gerontology; enhance recognition, by policymakers and the wider public, of the authority, wisdom and productivity of older women.

Recent research funding has been to look at representations of older women using visual research methods. The ESRC made a short film: about this collaborative research project: Monday's Child is Fair of Face. Economic and Social Research Council. (ESRC grant reference: res – 356-25-0040).

Membership of professional bodies

Current Memberships

Professional Registration

Other recent or current memberships


Undergraduate qualifications

Postgraduate qualifications

*Winner of the best overall performance award

Research qualifications

Recent conferences

Keynote and Plenary talks

Further Conference Papers and Guest Lecturing:

Experience in industry

Endorsements for Art Therapy Theories

Endorsement (extracts) for Inscribed on the Body

Endorsements for Therapeutic Arts In Pregnancy, Birth & New Motherhood

International experience

I have an international reputation in the field of the arts and health and my work is used internationally in arts and health training.

Additional interests and activities

Clinical interests

I am a Health Professions Council Registered art therapist, and I have supervisor status with BAAT, and substantial clinical experience as an art therapist. I maintain my clinical practice supervising art therapists who work in adult psychiatry and CAMHS. My specialist clinical areas are in sexual abuse, post-natal adjustment, and adult psychiatry. I have conducted work with pregnant women and women who have recently given birth, offering art therapy to give support to women and an opportunity for them to explore their changed sense of self-identity and sexuality as a result of pregnancy and motherhood. I have published extensively on this topic. 

In the media

Recent publications

A new mother holder her baby wrapped up in white blankets

Dr Susan Hogan, Professor of Arts and Health at the University of Derby, examines how art-making can provide a means for women to express and understand their changed sense of self-identity and sexuality as a result of pregnancy and motherhood.

Artwork of a women of colour

Ahead of Mother’s Day, Susan Hogan, Professor in Therapeutic Arts, explains how taking up art can help women come to terms with being a new mum, help prevent postnatal depression and give their children the best start in life.