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Personal profile

Scholarly biography

I am a principal lecturer in occupational therapy. I qualified as an occupational therapist in 1996 at the University of Brighton, after successfully completing a degree in biological sciences at the University of Sussex. My work in the fields of physical and mental health with adults of all ages was complemented by a Masters degree in occupational therapy in 1999.  

I am course leader for the accelerated MSc Occupational Therapy (pre-registration).  I enjoy my role as a problem-based learning tutor, and teacher of therapeutic use of gardening. I lead an intensive module focused on developing advanced client-centered treatment planning. I also teach the gardening skills option undertaken by course participants, facilitate a small community gardening group on the university site, and coordinate a community volunteering opportunity in partnership with Active Student.

Research interests are focused on the occupation of gardening, and leisure in later life. I lead a leisure in later life research group, with several Masters students presenting at national conferences and some peer reviewed publications. I completed a PhD exploring leisure in 21st century later life in September 2019. In addition to this I am active in the sustainable health academic research enterprise (Share) group.

Approach to teaching

I am intensely engaged in the development of learning, asking questions that encourage enquiring minds. Always challenging, always with humour, I really care about how understanding develops. I have a passion for assessments that teach rather than test, and am therefore extremely lucky that I mainly teach on a course underpinned by evidence based learning theory, that fully practices Problem Based Learning, with high quality interactive small group tutorials at the core of teaching, working on real life problems together, and learning as part of a team.

I also uses blended learning approaches to support this ‘in the room’ time, both within tutorials, and in support of tutorials e.g. ‘You-Tube’ videos to facilitate discussion, sharing theoretical knowledge via ‘subject expert’ sessions and recorded presentations and guiding reading with digital reading lists. Through a Higher Education Academy Teaching Development Grant, awarded to the occupational therapy team, digital learning resources have been developed to stimulate emotional engagement in learning.  I believe that compassion and love of learning are essential for a rewarding career, and I aim to create space for these attributes to develop.

Research interests

The world of therapy where we meet only the ‘frail and vulnerable’ can have a devastating effect on how later life is viewed, and the consequences of this for learners about later life can be tragic. The aspirations for those people whose lives are temporarily interrupted by illness or disability are very low if based in a view of later life as a time of disability, poverty and loneliness. This view is helpful to society, it encourages people to care for each other, and save for a rainy day. However new ageing populations are emerging in the UK, and all over the world, people are surviving into later life in greater numbers than ever before and many of those people are healthy, which is a new phenomenon.

My research considers theory and research from subjects that often consider later life to be problematic, but reads them from a more optimistic perspective. Leisure research and theory, occupational science, gerontology, sociology, public health, epidemiology, and UK office for National Statistics reports all contribute to creating a new critical perspective on active ageing. As we all tiptoe towards later life it is time to start looking for another story, one of hope and fun and occupational fulfilment.

Supervisory Interests

My research and supervisory interests involve everyday aspects of later life.  

Leisure in later life is active, passive and connected, and it should be judged, if at all, on its own terms.  I aim to support researchers to take a critical stance on ideas around active ageing and tell stories that persuade people to value the whole spectrum of leisure in later life, for fun, sociability and connection with self and others.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Brighton

Award Date: 19 Sep 2019

Master, University of Brighton

Award Date: 1 Jul 1999

Keywords

  • GV Recreation Leisure
  • Critical active ageing
  • Later life
  • Passive Leisure
  • vicarious leisure
  • freedom
  • constraint
  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
  • active ageing
  • passive aging
  • Ageing
  • Agency
  • HM Sociology
  • Mass Observation Project
  • Narrative

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