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Personal profile

Research interests

Josh Cameron's research interests are: mental health recovery; mental health and employment; meaningful work; resilience (especially where resilience is understood in a non-individualising systemic way); and, 'occupational capital' - a concept he developed from his doctoral research  comprising accessible external opportunities and supports for occupational participation, and internal capacities and skills required to access these. These interests are informed by an occupational and social justice perspective aimed at addressing health and wider inequalities. His research activity has involved a significant degree of collaboration with community/service user/'lived experience' expertise and with practitioners. Methodologically Josh approaches research from a critical realist position orientated to gaining explanatory insight into real world phenomena. He has most experience in using qualitative methods but has also adopted mixed methods approaches in some projects.

Recent projects include the Economic and Social Research Council funded Imagine Project - The social, historical, cultural and democratic context of civic engagement: imagining different communities and making them happen. In this Josh collaborated with ‘lived experience’ peer trainers from the Sussex Recovery College and occupational therapists from the Sussex Partnership Mental Health Trust to co-design, deliver and evaluate a ‘Building Resilience for Wellness and Recovery’ course for people facing mental health challenges.

He is currently leading, with his colleague Suna Eryigit-Madzwamuse, the research evaluation of the Big Lottery funded Headstart Blackpool 'Resilience Revolution' This programme supports the mental health of children and young people in Blackpool using a community development approach that embeds Resilient Therapy methods across the town. The programme draws on both resilience and systems theory to work alongside practitioners, carers, parents and young people to build a more resilience-based way of working using a common language. Josh and colleagues have collaborated with Beverley and Etienne Wenger-Trayner to use their Value Creation Framework to support the mixed methods evaluation of this project.

Supervisory Interests

Josh Cameron is an experienced research supervisor at masters and doctoral level. He is interested to support research into the following research areas: mental health recovery; mental health and employment; meaningful work; occupational science/justice and social justice orientated resilience. His primary expertise lies in the use of qualitative methods within a (critical) realist methodology. Josh encourages his students to adopt collaborative and participatory approaches to their research projects. He is always happy for prospective doctoral and masters students to contact him via email j.cameron@brighton.ac.uk to have an exploratory discussion.

Scholarly biography

After an initial academic training at the University of Sussex (gaining bachelors and masters degrees in History with French and History respectively) Josh Cameron changed career direction to work as an occupational therapy technical instructor in psychiatric hospitals in Camden, London. He subsequently qualified with a postgraduate diploma in occupational therapy from the University of Brighton and then practised in the field of adult mental health in Surrey and East Sussex. After four years on secondment as a lecturer/practitioner he became a full-time Senior Lecturer in occupational therapy in 2007. He was course leader for the pre-registration occupational therapy MSc/PgDip programme in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Brighton from Sept 2013 to August 2016. In 2015 he was appointed as Principal Lecturer and in 2021 he was appointed Reader in the occupational therapy, health and rehabiliation subject group. He was appointed course leader of the MSc Advanced occupational therapy in 2021 which supports qualified occupational therapists to gain a masters degree.

Josh completed his PhD in 2013 which investigated the work-related needs of employed people recovering from mental health problems and has developed further his research activities (see above).

Josh teaches students from undergraduate to postgraduate (including doctoral) level. He is experienced in course and module leadership and development, external examining (of courses and PhD s), interprofessional learning, and integration of ‘lived experience’ expertise into both teaching and research. As a Reader he has a number of leadership roles across his school and the wider university – including, research bid review, external ethics panel reviewer and providing academic development support to colleagues. Externally he is a regular reviewer for a number of academic journals, book proposals and applications to funding bodies such as the Medical Research Council.

He is actively engaged in both teaching and research with key interests in mental health and employment, resilience, occupational science and research methodology. He is a member of the university's research and enterprise centre of excellence, the Centre of Resilience for Social Justice for which he leads the adult resilience strand.

Approach to teaching

"Teaching is one of my favourite aspects of my work – indeed at times it can feel like play. I teach students from undergraduate through to post-graduate (including doctoral) level. Many of my students are studying occupational therapy and a range of other health and social care subjects. I draw on my particular areas of expertise relating to occupational therapy, mental health, employment, resilience and research methodology.

Over the years I have developed extensive experience of using a Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach to teaching. This involves skilled design and facilitation of groups of students to engage them actively in learning – as a result we often get feedback from practice partners and employers that our students are adept at proactively identifying and meeting their learning needs. I find that this active approach to learning really engages students and I transfer aspects of it to other forms of teaching: seminars, workshops, lecturers and individual research supervision and personal tutorial sessions.

This approach works best when students are supported to understand the process and are made aware of expectations from fellow students and lecturers to actively participate in sharing learning. Key resources that I find help this include use of a combination of research, policy and theory literature, but I also emphasise the value of making use of ‘lived experience’ expertise (e.g. that people may have of living with a mental health challenge) and of interprofessional learning. Some students experience specific learning challenges and I have found that the University of Brighton provides excellent support through Student Services, specific learning skills sessions and Student Support and Guidance tutors.

It is very satisfying to get feedback from past students that they have continued to remain interested in the topics I have taught and that they actively use the teaching methods themselves and share them with others to address real world concerns. I am also proud to have supported many of my doctoral and masters students to publish and/or present their research".


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