Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Having no history of higher education in my family, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have begun my academic and practice journey when tuition was free, doing a BSc in Sociology at the University of Plymouth, 1997-2000. Three years later, I started to train as an Occupational Therapist here at the University of Brighton. In 2005 I graduated with my MSc in Health Through Occupation. I then worked in various occupational therapy practice settings, starting in Paediatrics and Neurology and ending in Acute Stroke care. In 2010, I started as a Lecturer/Practitioner at the University of Plymouth, where I completed a PostGraduate Diploma in Academic Practice. In 2016 I was (again) so fortunate to be awarded a PhD in Health Science. In January 2020, I joined the occupational therapy team here at the University of Brighton in the School of Sport and Health Sciences.   

Since joining Brighton, I set up and now Co-Chair the Neurodivergent Staff Network. 

Research interests

Neurodivergent-affirming practice

I am interested in research into ways practice can become affirming and inclusive of neurodivergent people's needs, across the lifespan. Intersectionality is important in this work, through taking an approach that addresses the complex ways in which neurodivergence intersects with different people's other core identities such as age, gender, race, and sexuality.  


The Dark Side of Occupation is a concept I created and continue to develop. This means I aim to continue to research aspects of occupation, and of people's subjective experiences of occupation, that have previously been ignored or extremely under-explored. 

My PhD was an endeavour to do just this, as I researched the impact of woman-to-woman rape. This is a complex form of sexual offending; victim/survivors are invisible and silenced and, as I found, often cope alone or with very little support.  

My interests are based upon my belief that it is no longer acceptable to ignore all of the occupations that people subjectively experience and that can impact upon their health and/or their well-being - be it in a helpful or a detrimental way. The range of occupations we should consider ranges from the everyday, mundane right through to the more extreme, perhaps risky and illegal.  

My doctoral work has really ignited an interest in further exploring the impact of trauma and the associated ways in which people can action endurance, survival, and identity renegotiation through a range of occupations that could be considered by some as 'adaptive' or 'maladaptive'. Though, occupation is more complex than any such binary distinction, as the subjective experience can alter or transform in response to, or because of, various factors that impact upon human occupation.  

In line with this aim to gain a more authentic understanding of human occupation, I identify as a Feminist Auto/Biographical researcher, meaning I concur with Letherby (2014, p. 45) that "research is informed by auto/biographical experience and is an intellectual activity that involves a consideration of power, emotion and P/politics".  


Funding Applications Awarded 

  • 2021 - Awarded seed funds from Centre for Arts and Wellbeing, University of Brighton 
  • 2021 - Awarded 'seed grant' funds from Faculty of Health, University of Canberra, Australia (as external Co-Investigator on team project with Dr Daniela Castro de Jong as Chief Investigator).  
  • 2021 – Awarded seed funds from CORE Transforming Sexuality and Gender (CTSG), University of Brighton 
  • 2019 - Awarded pump-priming funds from Institute of Health & Community, University of Plymouth  
  • 2019 - Awarded funds from Continuing Professional Development Grants Panel, Elizabeth Casson Trust 
  • 2013 - Awarded funds from Social Science Doctoral Training Centre (DTC), University of Plymouth 

Other Scholarly Awards 

  • 2022 - Journal of Occupational Science. I am proud to have supported Rachel Rule by co-authoring our paper Developing an occupational perspective of women involved in sex work: A discussion paper. Rachel was the recipient of the 2021 Wilcock Award for Emerging Authors for: 1) Excellence/innovation of the topic, 2) Contributes to the advancement of occupational science, 3) Well-crafted writing. 

Supervisory Interests

I thoroughly enjoy the experience of supervising student research projects and have done so since working in academia in 2010. I am open to a variety of topics, including those that would fall under the umbrella of illuminating the Dark Side of Occupation. 

I have supervised and co-supervised BSc (OT), Pre-Registration and Advanced Professional Practice MSc (OT, Physiotherapy, and Paramedic), and PhD level research projects, with topics including:

  • An exploration of the meaning of food-related occupations for individuals with lived experience of anorexia
  • Exploration of the subjective occupational experience of a European male living with HIV/AIDs
  • Childhood occupations during bereavement
  • How do learning disabled adults experience leisure activities?
  • The lived experience of fatherhood through the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Smoking as an occupation
  • Sex as work
  • Specialist Paramedics perceptions of factors influencing their clinical decision making
  • Opinion of the MDT regarding the role of rehabilitation for people with a functional neurological disorder
  • Factors which contribute to older people living in the community choosing to sleep in a chair
  • Occupations during ‘Freshers’
  • Student’s timeuse of Facebook
  • Initial scoping review of literature re: the dark side of occupation
  • Occupational therapy for community dwelling elderly people
  • Impact of trauma amongst firefighters
  • Student’s exploration of maladaptive occupations, such as substance use
  • A systematic review of literature exploring the links between occupation, identity, and well-being.
  • The lived experience of fathers during the 2020/21 Covid-19 pandemic
  • Revisiting Karen Whalley Hammell’s exploration of the core assumptions that have underpinned theories of human occupation
  • The lived experiences of UK occupational therapists who
    address sex and intimacy with the people with whom they work
  • The lived experiences of doing, being, becoming, and belonging for second generation adults who disaffiliate from a New Religious Movement

I have been lead supervisor for a completed doctoral (PhD) student; I feel my experience of the doctoral journey and supervisory relationship, coupled with externally examining a professional doctorate (ProfDoc), and also co-editing a text with Professor Gayle Letherby regarding the doctoral journey (The Doctoral Journey as an Emotional, Embodied, Political Experience) has well-prepared me for this.

This range of experience is something I can bring to the supervisor-supervisee/s relationship, which is a critical relationship that depends on realistic expectations being clearly stated, and mutual respect.

Knowledge exchange

Completed Erasmus+ staff mobility for teaching exchange, 2019

Visited Occupational Therapy and Science team at HAWK, Faculty of Social Work and Health (Fakultät Soziale Arbeit und Gesundheit), Germany

Education/Academic qualification

Accessibility and inclusion in digital health, Open University Milton Keynes

Award Date: 29 Feb 2024

Why Experience Matters: Qualitative Research

Award Date: 15 Mar 2019

PhD, The perceived impacts of woman-to-woman rape and sexual assault, and the subsequent experience of disclosure, reaction, and support on victim/survivors’ subjective experience of occupation, University of Plymouth

1 Oct 20124 May 2016

Award Date: 4 May 2016

Comprehensive Systematic Review Training Programme

Award Date: 1 Sept 2015

PostGraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP), University of Plymouth

Award Date: 26 Aug 2011

Master, MSc Health Through Occupation , University of Brighton

Award Date: 26 Aug 2005

Bachelor, Sociology , University of Plymouth

Award Date: 25 Aug 2000

Level 2 Certificate in Understanding Autism

1 Feb 2024 → …

External positions

External Panel Member, Joint Approval Event for MSc Occupational Therapy (Pre-registration) , York St John University

21 Jun 202222 Jun 2022

External Examiner, Teesside University

1 Jan 201928 Sept 2022


1 Jan 2016 → …


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