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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Having no history of higher education in my family, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have begun my academic career 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 occupatonal therapy practice settings. In 2010, I started as a Lecturer 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 team here at the University of Brighton as a Senior Lecturer, where I continue to enjoy my academic career in the School of Sport and Health Sciences.   

Research interests


The Dark Side of Occupation is a concept I created and am working on developing. This means I aim to continue to research aspects of occupation, and of people's subjective experiences of occupation, that have previoulsy 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 range 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 resilience, survival, and identity renegotiation through a range of occupations that could be considered 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

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 the Dark Side of Occupation. 

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

  • Exploration of the subjective occupational experience of a European male living with HIV/AIDs
  • 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
  • Childhood occupations during bereavement
  • 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

I am currently lead supervisor for a doctoral (PhD) student and I am keen to continue to supervise doctoral students. I feel my experience of the doctoral journey and supervisory relationship, coupled with externally examining a professional doctorate (ProfDoc), and also editing a text regarding the doctoral journey 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

PhD, University of Plymouth

1 Oct 20124 May 2016

Award Date: 4 May 2016

University of Plymouth

Award Date: 26 Aug 2011

Master, University of Brighton

Award Date: 26 Aug 2005

Bachelor, University of Plymouth

Award Date: 25 Aug 2000

External positions

External Examiner, Teesside University

2019 → …


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