Personal profile

Research interests

My research examines how cultural engagement relates to older people's everyday lives and meaning making process. In exploring these questions, my work looks at the processes that can reduce stigma and facilitate social inclusion. Cultural participation is a useful lens through which to investigate the unequal experience of ageing. All my research uses and interrogates a co-produced approach.

I explore the psychosocial barriers to engagement alongside the processes and outcomes of participation. Central to my work is investigating how motivation intersects with age, class, ethnicity and gender. My research in the fields of art consumption, lifelong learning and healthcare addresses questions around wellbeing, resilience and inclusion.  

I have previously worked at Newcastle University and the University of Manchester. There I researched and developed the co-produced approach for the Ambition for Ageing programme, a £10.2 million programme of work which used a collaborative approach to combating social isolation.

I gained my PhD from the University of Newcastle in 2016, and have worked as CI and PI on a number of research projects. These include:

  • The role of creative interventions in fostering connectivity and resilience in older people is an AHRC-funded project critically reflecting on a range of approaches to developing resilience including community-led design, visual arts interventions, gardening and theatre.  
  • Contemporary visual art and identity construction - wellbeing amongst older people, funded by the cross-research council New Dynamics of Ageing Programme. This project used a qualitative approach to gauge a range of older people's reactions to visiting contemporary art galleries.  This led to a follow-on project which contributed to research-informed arts policy and interventions designed to improve the lives of older people. 
  • Dementia and Imagination: Connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice, funded by the AHRC Connected Communities Programme: Communities, Cultures, Health & Well-Being Large Grants. This project brought together researchers from social sciences in areas such as dementia, gerontology, psychology and economics with research in the visual arts, cultural policy and museum studies.  The project looked at developing well-being and connecting communities through socially engaged visual arts practice.
  • Research for Community Heritage was funded by AHRC under the Connected Communities Programme and involved working with heritage groups to develop their projects.

I am co-editor of The Sociology of the Arts book series published by Palgrave Macmillan.


Recent research projects include:

P.I. 'What do we want to know about getting old? Co-producing strategies with people with learning disabilities to age well.

Co-I - An evaluation of the GMC and HEE Flexible Portfolio pilot programme

Co-I - Interaction, Dementia and Engagement in Arts for Lifelong Learning

SRA - 2020 Medical Graduates: The work and wellbeing of interim Foundation Year 1 doctors during COVID-19

Research Fellow - Big Lottery Fund's Ageing Better programme 'Ambition for Ageing'. A £10.2 million Greater Manchester level programme aimed at creating more age friendly places and reducing social isolation.

Education/Academic qualification

Art, PhD

30 Jun 201631 Dec 2099

Award Date: 30 Jun 2016


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