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Personal profile

Research interests

Philippa's main research focus is on a range of drawing practices, particularly in health and wellbeing, art and design education and in research. She has an interest in manual drawing that takes place within clinical settings, in the pedagogy of drawing in higher education, the uses of drawing within visual methodologies and approaches to arts/health research. Her background is in literary criticism and literature teaching.

For some scholars, drawing is characterized by its subjective nature: its ‘awkwardness, resistance to ‘conventional’ subject matter and to academic style’ (Petherbridge, 2010). In the expanded field of contemporary practice, drawing is no longer defined, necessarily, in terms of medium or dimension. Outside the domains of professional art or higher education there are many everyday drawing practices that are deeply embedded as acts of communication and thought, yet they are often unexamined or unacknowledged. Drawing research and the use of drawing in (or as) research cross a wide range of disciplinary territories.

In applied drawing, she has two main strands of interest: the first is the potential impact of collaborative drawing approaches in cross-disciplinary higher education; and the second is why, how and with what impact manual drawing occurs in professional settings, such as medicine and surgery (Lyon, P. (2016). Visualising and communicating illness experiences:drawing, the doctor-patient relationship and arts-health research). In relation to methods, she is interested in the potential and the limitations of drawing, particularly participatory drawing, as a type of visual research method. Can textually-dominated qualitative research traditions acknowledge or accommodate drawing as a meaningful, generative activity capable of producing ‘legitimate’ data? What might the appropriate uses of this method be? A forthcoming chapter in the second edition of the Sage Handbook of Visual Methods, edited by Luc Pauwels and Dawn Mannay, will explore this.

Philippa is also interested in curation, both in terms of its importance as a skill for art and craft students, and as a method through which practice-based research data can be analysed, selected and communicated. She has been involved in curating and organising a number of exhibitions, including two that reappraised the work and impact of the artist and designer MacDonald Gill (2011, 2013), one looking at the role of art in considering environmental change (at ONCA Gallery, 2015 with D. Bullen, L. Coleman and A. Clayton), two cross-disciplinary drawing exhibitions at the University of Brighton (2014 with M. Turland; 2015 with D. Bullen) and other internal exhibition for taught and research postgraduates and colleagues. The latter included a show by Sirpa Kutilainen exploring conservation as research: 'Behind the scenes at the University of Brighton Design Archives;, February 2015; a show by Juliana Sissons, 'Cloth and Skin: a research-based and knowledge-transfer collaboration between pattern cutting and plastic surgery', June 2015; and a joint show by Louisa Buck and Gavin Fry on 'The visual diary as method in practice-based research', October 2015.

Scholarly biography


Philippa began her career in university administration and management. Following an MA in Twentieth Century English Literature, she completed a PhD, Anthologies of British Second World War Poetry: A Literary and Cultural Analysis, awarded in 2005. In parallel with this, she wrote the genre study Twentieth-Century War Poetry: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism (published 2005), commissioned by Palgrave Macmillan.

Philippa has taught on continuing education courses at the University of Sussex and on undergraduate and postgraduate courses in English Literature and 3D design and craft at Brighton. Following a postdoctoral period of employment as a Research Officer for the National Physiotherapy Research Network based in the University of Brighton’s Clinical Research Centre, Philippa developed an interest in arts/health research.

Philippa was appointed as a Research Fellow in the then Faculty of Arts and Humanities on a project to mark the 150th anniversary of the Brighton School of Art. She co-edited (with J. Woodham) the book From Arts to Manufactures: Art and Design at Brighton, 1859-2009. She then embarked on ‘outsider’ research into both higher education and museum-based projects funded by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Through Design (CETLD). This led to a journal article and a book: Design Education: Learning, Teaching and Researching Through Design, published by Gower. In 2011, she project-managed a major exhibition and symposium reappraising of the work of the designer, MacDonald Gill. 


Since 2012, Philippa has focussed on drawing research, with interests in collaborative drawing as a cross-disciplinary educational tool and in the role of drawing within health professional practice. This has led to research collaborations on projects including:


Collaborative Drawing (with Letschka, Ainsworth and Haq);

Conversational Drawing (with Letschka, Ainsworth and Haq);

Manual Clinical Drawing (with Turland);

Touching the World Lightly (with Bullen and Fox);

Year of Drawing (with Make Your Mark, Sussex NHS Partnership Trust).



With Duncan Bullen and Jane Fox, Philippa gained APPRI funding in 2016 and School of Art funding in 2018 for the research project 'Touching the World Lightly'.


Granted internal funding for the project Manual drawing in the clinical consultation: a pilot study, with Martha Turland. 

With Patrick Letschka and Tom Ainsworth, she was awarded Springboard funding for the Conversational Drawing video research project, 2013. Open access resource on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/77975872

She established a studentship in Drawing, Medicine and the AHPs through competitive University studentship scheme, July 2012 (see Curie Scott's PhD under supervision).


Research leadership roles:

Philippa is Research Leader for 3D Design and Craft in the School of Art (2017-current)

She is also Research Leader for the Drawing Research and Enterprise Group (2017-current)

She co-convened the College of Arts and Humanities Research Forum, 2015 - 2018.


Refereeing and reviewing:

Journal of Anatomical Sciences Education, 2019

Journal of Natural Science Collections, 2016

Qualitative Research, 2016

Visual Methodologies, 2016

Medical Practice and Review, 2014

Visual Studies, 2014

Comparative Literature, 2010


Committee and selection panel roles:

Member of the Steering Committee for the Brighton Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Brighton - 2017;

Member of the Arts and Humanities Postgraduate Research Strategy Committee, October 2015 - 2017;

Member of the Social Sciences Tier 2 College Research Ethics Committee– December 2015 – 2017;

Member of the School of Art Research and Enterprise Committee (current);

Member of the selection panel for the UoB Marks Make Meaning exhibition, 2018;

Member of the selection panel for the UoB Show & Tell: The Image in Research, 2019;

Member of the selection panel for the UoB John Andrews Drawing Prize, 2019.

Supervisory Interests

My main supervisory interests are in the understanding and applications of drawing in clinical settings, the use of drawing as a tool of learning, approaches to arts/health research, the relationship between drawing and writing and creative/visual research methods.

I am currently supervising one PhD student: Vanessa Marr, with Jessica Moriarty.

I have supervised 4 PhD students to completion:

Dr Simon Bliss, JewellerySilver and the Applied and Decorative Arts in the Culture of Modernism, 2019.

Dr Gavin Fry, Male textile artists in 1980s Britain: a practice based inquiry into their reasons for using this medium, 2018.

Dr Curie Scott, Elucidating perceptions of ageing through participatory drawing: a phenomenographic approach, 2018.

Dr Sarah Haybittle, Correspondence, trace and the landscape of narrative: a visual, verbal and literary dialectic, 2015.


I have examined five PhDs:

External examiner for Melissa Cheung, University of Sydney, Australia, 2019.

Internal examiner for Louisa Buck, University of Brighton, 2018.

Internal examiner for Samantha Lynch, University of Brighton, 2018.

Internal examiner for Mike Sadd, University of Brighton, August 2015.

External examiner for Tanja Golja, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, January 2012.


And three MRes examinations:

Internal examiner for Claire Scanlon, 2019.

Internal examiner for Diana Brighouse, 2015.

Internal examiner for Mark Lander, 2014.


I have also been an independent reader for two MPhil/PhD transfers.

Knowledge exchange

Philippa is working in conjunction with members of the Drawing REG to build a multi-stakeholder Drawing, Health and Wellbeing Research Network, including patient and service user representatives and members of the public, clinicians, artists, academics and arts/health specialists. The aim of this will be to share good practice and identify ways to improve the evidence base for drawing as a tool of health and wellbeing. A funding application to support this work is currently being developed. This brings together existing connections with academics and clinicians working in this field in the US and Australia, as well as the UK.

Philippa has been involved in the Year of Drawing arts/health project as part of the Creative Team. This project was run by Make Your Mark, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and aimed to increase access to the arts for people living with mental health conditions. This has involved collaborating to share the practice and learning through exhibitions and a symposium, and will lead to a book chapter.

Philippa collaborates on another external project, Drawing Life, run by Judy Parkinson. This project explore the benefits that engaging in life drawing can have for people living with dementia and their carers.

In 2016, Philippa organised a Refugee Solidarity Day of Drawing public event, in conjunction with MARS (Migrant and Refugee Solidarity group at the University of Brighton) and the Drawing Research Interest Group (DRIG), the forerunner of Drawing REG.

Following the 150th anniversity project, Philippa was invited to deliver a public lecture at Ditchling Museum, ‘Connections: Brighton School of Art, Ditchling and Louis Ginnett’, on 3 June 2009.

Education/Academic qualification

Unknown, Higher Education Academy

1 Sep 201822 Mar 2019

PhD, University of Sussex

Master, University of Sussex

Bachelor, University of Sussex


  • NC Drawing Design Illustration
  • Drawing, health, wellbeing
  • drawing research
  • visual methods
  • PR English literature
  • war poetry
  • second world war

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Research Output

Using drawing in visual research: materializing the invisible

Lyon, P., Dec 2019, The Sage Handbook of Visual Research Methods. Pauwels, L. & Mannay, D. (eds.). 2nd ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd, p. 297-308 11 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter

Visualising the body: health professionals' perceptions of their clinical drawing practices

Lyon, P. & Turland, M., 20 Nov 2019, In : Medical Humanities. p. 1-30 30 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • Marks Make Meaning: Drawing across the disciplines

    Lyon, P. & Bullen, D., 9 Mar 2018

    Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition

    Open Access
  • Manual drawing in clinical communication: understanding the role of clinical mark-making

    Lyon, P. & Turland, M., 1 Jan 2016, In : Visual Methodologies. 5, 1, p. 39-44 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Activities

    Movement Makes Marks

    Jane Fox (Presenter), Philippa Lyon (Presenter), Joanna Stevens (Presenter), Julia Winckler (Presenter)
    3 May 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    Movement Makes Marks exhibition

    Philippa Lyon (Presenter)
    3 May 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    Talk to the Art and Law Group at the University of Sussex

    Philippa Lyon (Presenter)
    10 Apr 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    Touching the World Lightly

    Philippa Lyon (Presenter), Duncan Bullen (Presenter), Jane Fox (Presenter)
    21 Jan 201925 Jan 2019

    Activity: External talk or presentationInvited talk

    AHRC Techne Peer Review College (External organisation)

    Philippa Lyon (Member)
    7 Nov 2018

    Activity: External boards and professional/academic bodiesRepresentation of University on boards and bodies