I’m a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow, based at the University of Leeds. I lead public involvement and engagement for the Institute of Clinical Trials Research. I’m originally trained as an actor and I am particularly interested in how creative facilitation techniques can be used within health research.

C0121634 Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellows 2015
Me with two of my fellow Fellows – Bella Starling and Steve Cross. Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

So how did I end up here?

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had a relatively unconventional career to date. I originally studied Acting at Bretton Hall and have always had an interest in applied theatre. I found that I naturally gravitated towards things with a health focus, for example working as a Simulated Patient, helping to train the next generation of healthcare professionals.

My first post at the University of Leeds was as a Senior Teaching Fellow in Communication Skills. Since then I’ve done a variety of roles within the School of Medicine and am now based within the Institute of Clinical Trials Research. A couple of themes have emerged throughout my various roles and projects. Firstly I’ve become passionate about working in partnership with patients and carers. Whether it be helping us to teach our students, carrying out research or designing services, patients and carers bring an invaluable perspective. I’ve also tried to bring creative approaches to health. I believe the arts and science have much to learn from each other.

Alongside my academic career, I’ve continued to work a theatre practitioner, performer and facilitator. I love the variety of things which I have been able to take part in through performance. My projects have ranged from workshops in prisons, to performing at music festivals, storytelling with children, and directing a community pantomime!

My Wellcome Fellowship gave me the opportunity bring my two passions together and consolidate my work to date. I’ve shared some of that journey via this blog.

Performing at Kendal Calling Festival. Image Credits: Chris Little Photography

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