Personal profile

Research interests

Drawing pervades the activities of the art school but there are many other contexts in which drawing takes place, supporting explanation, communication, expression and thought. Philippa's main research interest is in drawing practices, particularly in applied settings where drawing impacts on health and wellbeing, within art and design education, and in research. She leads the drawing theme in the Centre of Research Excellence in Arts and Wellbeing.

In recent years she has researched and published on the manual drawing that takes place in clinical contexts, on the concepts of 'touch' and 'presence' in drawing, on the impact of drawing as a tool in cross-disciplinary learning and the uses of drawing within visual research methodologies. Philippa's work on clinical drawing with Martha Turland has been published in Medical Humanities Journal and she has an open access paper in which she explored some of the problematics of visual representation within clinical communication (Lyon, P. (2016). Visualising and communicating illness experiences:drawing, the doctor-patient relationship and arts-health research).

Philippa has an interest in the use of drawing within research and in developing a greater understanding of its potential and the limitations as a type of visual research method. What kind of 'data' can drawing produce? What might the appropriate uses of this method be? A chapter in the second edition of the Sage Handbook of Visual Methods, edited by Luc Pauwels and Dawn Mannay, explores this.

Drawing is to some extent fraught with notions of legitimacy and skill, with who can and can't draw. Whilst celebrating and investigating the value of various types of specialist and highly skilled drawing, Philippa also believes in the importance of seeing drawing as a wide spectrum of practices, many of which are open and inclusive, which we all have the right to take part in, and which bring benefits to many. The desert island drawing project is a collection of filmed selections of drawings from a range of contributors, with accompnaying personal narratives about why drawing matters.

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 exhibition selection panels and 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 (Utility of the Line in 2014 with M. Turland; Marks Make Meaning in 2015 with D. Bullen) and other internal exhibitions for taught and research postgraduates and colleagues. With D. Bullen and J. Fox she curated an exhibition in Norway in 2019, as part of the Touching the World Lightly project. 

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 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, health and wellbeing. She was theme lead for drawing, health and wellbeing in the Centre for Arts and Wellbeing (2019-2023), Research Leader for the Drawing Research and Enterprise Group (2017-2019) and founder and facilitator of the Drawing Research Interest Group (2012-2017). She has been a peer reviewer for a range of journals from the journal of Anatomical Sciences Education, to Qualitative Research and Visual Methodologies journal. Philippa was Research Mentoring Lead for the School of Art 2019-22, sitting on the university's Research Mentoring Group, and continues to be active as a research mentor.

Philippa teaches on the BA 3D Design and Craft. Previously she taught on both MA Craft and MA Textiles, specialising in critical thinking, research, writing and presenting skills for creative practitioners. She contributes to research methods programmes for PhD students. 

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:

Vanessa Marr (PhD, School of Art and Media) with Jessica Moriarty;  

Caehryn Tinker (PhD, School of Art and Media) with Heidi von Kurthy and Kay Aranda;

James Murray (PhD, School of Art and Media) with Gavin Fry and Duncan Bullen;

Lindsay Sekulowicz (AHRC Collaborative Doctorate, School of Humanities and Social Science) with Claire Wintle at Brighton, William Milliken and Mark Nesbitt at Kew Gardens and Luciana Martins at Birkbeck;

Muna Al-Jawad (PhD by Publication) with Jayne Lloyd;

Duncan Bullen (PhD by Publication).

I worked for a 3 year period as a learning mentor for a PhD student in the School of Art and Media. They completed successfully in February 2024.

I have supervised 4 PhD students to completion: Dr Simon Bliss, Jewellery, Silver 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 been an independent chair for two PhD examinations (Andrew Cross and Ada Hao) and have examined seven PhDs: Mingyi Wang, University of Brighton, 2023 (internal examiner); Jane Shepard, University of Brighton, 2022 (internal examiner); Melissa Cheung, University of Sydney, Australia, 2019 (external examiner); Louisa Buck, University of Brighton, 2018 (internal examiner); Samantha Lynch, University of Brighton, 2018 (internal examiner); Mike Sadd, University of Brighton, August 2015 (internal examiner); Tanja Golja, University of Technology Sydney, Australia, January 2012 (external examiner).

I've acted as internal examiner for three MRes students: Claire Scanlon, 2019; Diana Brighouse, 2015; and Mark Lander, 2014.

I have also been an independent reader for MPhil/PhD transfers and Annual Progression Review reader for 5 students.

Knowledge exchange

Philippa has been contributing ideas and infomation to a media production company's proposal for a radio series on drawing. During 2020/21, Philippa contributed to the discussions and plans of a company developing Virtual Reality art therapy technology.

Philippa developed a multi-stakeholder network for Drawing, Health and Wellbeing Research, including patient and service user representatives and members of the public, clinicians, artists, academics and arts/health specialists. This brings together existing connections with academics and clinicians working in this field in the US and Australia, as well as the UK.

Philippa was 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 involved collaborating to share the practice and learning through exhibitions and a symposium. Philippa was invited to give a talk at the opening of the exhibition of work by Elaine Foster-Gandy, Meaning Makes Marks, in ONCA Gallery, Brighton, in 2019.

Philippa has connected with the organisation 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, and work was included in the 2018 Marks Make Meaning exhibition.

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).

Following the 150th anniversity, 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 Fellowship (D2), Higher Education Academy

1 Sept 201822 Mar 2019

Award Date: 22 Mar 2019

PhD, Anthologies of British Second World War Poetry: A literary and cultural analysis, University of Sussex

Award Date: 1 Mar 2005

Master, Twentieth Century English Literature, University of Sussex

Award Date: 1 Sept 1998

Bachelor, English Literature, University of Sussex

Award Date: 1 Jun 1990

External positions

AHRC peer college reviewer, AHRC

1 Jun 2019 → …


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


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