I am an art psychotherapist, artist, illustrator, designer, author and educator. My work has been published and exhibited internationally. I also run creative workshops for health, wellbeing and education.
My work was celebrated by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace to mark those who have made a significant contribution to national life. I have won the NHS innovation award, been commended by the Duke of Gloucester and Baroness Morris of Yardley, been awarded a community fellowship, a research beacon and have been named in the Marquis Who’s who in the world “recognising the global impact of my work”. In 2015 I won the Enterprise Award for social and cultural impact.
I have been a mentor for professionals working in participatory practice (Artworks). I have worked for such organisations as; the BBC, Redpath Productions, Techniquest, Wrexham Arts Agency, Concept for Living.
My research explores the use of creative techniques as therapy. I employ strategies developed from over 20 years of work in this area, to tackle a variety of physical, social, emotional, educational and cognitive issues. This has resulted in the creation and publication of the first animation therapeutic model; The Good Hearts Model (GHM) which informed the development of a research and enterprise organisation called HEART (Healing Education Animation Research Therapy); now expanded Texas Tech in the USA. In 2014, I co-developed with Gill Bliss, an internationally known symposium ‘Animation for Public Engagement’ and ‘Inclusival ’an international animation festival for people with disabilities. I have presented and exhibited work internationally as a panel member, individually and as a keynote speaker.
All of my research projects have been funded by such bodies as; Big Lottery Fund, the NHS, Lily Matthews Fund, Northern Rock, HEIFF, Arts Council, Welcome Trust. I have also been awarded a BEACON fellowship and funding for my work in collaboration with the University of Sunderland and Barnardo’s for projects using animation practice;
‘B Venture” working with 150 children who are children of sex offenders
“Made with Love Too” working with children referred from the NHS who have special needs and are clinically grieving.
I have taught a range of diverse communities from children suffering with attachment disorder in Slovakia to children from the travelling community. Most recently my work with first generation child immigrants received an enterprise award. In 2013 I moved to the Animation Academy at Loughborough University, ‘a Centre for animation research, scholarship, practice and exhibition dedicated to excellence at a national and international level in all its activities’.
LEARNING AND TEACHING
I taught animation at Glyndwr University; Animation (Postgraduate and Undergraduate) at the University of Sunderland and Loughborough University. I have taught across creative undergraduate and post graduate programmes (Animation, Film and TV, Illustration and Design, Multimedia, Digital Media, Graphic Design, Model Making, animation for health and wellbeing) I have supervised three PhDs and have never received anything less than ‘outstanding’ in all observational teaching reviews.
I was a committee member for Equality and Diversity at faculty level and Quality Management, Regulations and Academic Experience at University level and have also been named a Learning and Teaching Champion encouraging quality learning and teaching across the university.
I have complemented my employment skills by qualifying with a Post Graduate Certificate of Education, undertaking an MA in Animation focused on researching into families who are suffering with clinical grief (obtaining 94% High Distinction). I am trained in counselling to level 3 which dealt with legal Data Protection issues and provides an understanding of student support. I am also DRB checked and have passed through ethics committees for each research project (University of Sunderland, the NHS (National Health Service) Research Ethics Committees, Loughborough University). I am a qualified first aider for mental health in the work place and licenced to practice First Aid at Work for three years. I was part of a university wide recruitment team that develops strategies to encourage an accessible door into Further and Higher Education for marginalised individuals. I have also worked for the BBC teaching children across the UK animation practice and judged the British Animation Awards. I am currently in the process of completing an MA in Art Psychotherapy with HCPC registration and have submitted my PhD thesis for publication. I have also has worked as an external examiner.