Mental Health Activist, Researcher, Artist, Speaker, Author, Lecturer, Consultant...
All of these titles both correctly and incorrectly describe what I do. "Productive disruptor specialising in trauma" would be a more appropriate description. My work weaves scientific approaches with creative methods (and vice-versa) and focuses on trauma - often with an activist agenda. The commonality in all that I do is a shift in the dynamics: I believe that trauma survivors are not powerless broken individuals - we are survivors who have the power and the resources to lead our own healing and growth, and contribute to the healing and growth of our communities and the world at large.
SO WHAT DO I DO?
A key aspect of my work is developing novel interventions to respond to violence, abuse, and neglect. My main focus in this area is on the neurophysiology of childhood trauma and the use of creative body-based methods to both manage post-traumatic expressions and enable traumatic memories to be expressed and processed, thereby supporting healing. The theoretical basis is scientific, the practice is creative, the approach is survivor-led, and the applications are both clinical and non-clinical. For this work, I was awarded Improvement Leader Fellow by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CLAHRC NWL.
Through arts, I raise awareness of trauma and create opportunities for the voices of trauma survivors to be heard and traumatic experiences to be reframed as narratives of resilience, not victimisation. I have exhibited my artworks and films in the UK and internationally since 2005 at venues such as Central Saint Martins Museum Collection, the Whitechapel Gallery, the BFI, and the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, and I now also organise and curate group exhibitions by artists who identify with having experienced trauma.
With talks and lectures, I discuss and aim to inspire action on matters related to violence and abuse, trauma healing and growth, mental health, radical vulnerability, arts as activism, arts for health, redesigning PPI, and more. I have spoken at conferences and events in the UK and Europe, including several keynote speeches and TEDx. I am a Special Lecturer at Central Saint Martins and UCL, and I give guest lectures at other universities. I also use my voice through the written word with texts that are sometimes academic and sometimes creative. I have notably been published by The Lancet Psychiatry, Palgrave, and House Sparrow Press.
I also work as a consultant in trauma-informed practice, interdisciplinary practice, and working with lived experience in mental health research and healthcare improvement (often called 'patient and public involvement' or PPI) - because I believe that the best way to ensure that science and clinical practice are relevant, timely, and meaningful is through the co-learning and partnership of expertise by experience and expertise by profession. Organisations and institutions I have worked with include the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Northwick Park Hospital, King's College London, and Nesta, among others.
I serve on the Editorial Advisory Board of The Lancet Psychiatry, I am an Honorary Research Fellow of NIHR ARC NWL, I work as a Public Involvement Coordinator and Researcher with the McPin Foundation on the Public Mental Health research programme for England, and I am part of the Creative Practices, Education, and Wellbeing Community of Practice at the University of the Arts London.
Conferences & Events
2019 Speaker, Royal College of Psychiatrist Annual Conference for NW England, Nottingham, UK
2019 Speaker & Panelist, Vulnerability and Resistance, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2019 Keynote Speaker, Brunel Occupational Therapy Conference, Brunel University, London, UK
2019 Plenary Speaker, Wellbeing Conference for Anaesthetists, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, UK
2018 Plenary Speaker, Journée Romande des Soins Infirmiers, healthcare conference, Lausanne, Switzerland
2018 Keynote Speaker, The Bigger Picture: Activism, Social Practice & Art for Health, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2018 Keynote Speaker, Sheffield Healthcare Improvement, Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
2018 Panelist, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Glasgow, UK
2018 Speaker & Panelist, MCA Expo, healthcare improvement & leadership conference, Sheffield, UK
2018 Plenary Speaker, Healthcare Improvement Event, NIHR CLAHRC NWL, London, UK
2017 TEDx Talk Speaker, The Happy Generation, TEDxULB, Brussels, Belgium
2017 Speaker, Future Citizen Innovation Series: Reinventing Healthcare Technology, Amazon WS, London, UK
2016 Speaker, Kent Mental Health Festival, Folkestone, UK
Exhibitions, Screenings, Performances
2019 Exhibition Traumatised Selves: A Collective Voice of Lived Experience, Willesden Gallery, London, UK
2019 Film Screening Cinemas of Sisterhood: Trauma and Resistance, Whitechapel Gallery, London, UK
2018 Film Screening, Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Glasgow, UK
2018 Film Screening, Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Lisbon, Portugal
2018 Film Screening, national television, Switzerland
2017 Exhibition The Traumatised Self: Mind, Brain, and Body, Willesden Gallery, London, UK
2017 Exhibition The Character of Physical Law: Physics & Art, Willesden Gallery, London, UK
2017 Exhibition The Traumatised Self: Mind, Brain, and Body, MRC Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre,
King’s College London, London, UK
2017 Exhibition Trauma-Focused Movement Language, Central Saint Martins Museum, London, UK
2017 Film Screening, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2016 Performance, community project, Royal Albert Hall outreach program, Royal Albert Hall, London, UK
2016 Film Screening & Live Score, collaboration with London Sinfonietta Orchestra, Southwark Playhouse, London, UK
2016 Exhibition Focal Perception, ArtMoorHouse, London, UK
2015 Film Screening & Live Score, collaboration with London Sinfonietta Orchestra, British Film Institute, London, UK
2015 Exhibition Femme, 1650 Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
2014 Performance, PDP Collective, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
2013 Exhibition Waters, 1650 Gallery, Los Angeles, USA
2013 Exhibition Human and Machine, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2010 Exhibition Body Language, Metropolis, Morges, Switzerland
2008 Exhibition Body Language, Le Tempo, Yverdon, Switzerland
2005 Exhibition Through My Lens, Art Gallery Casamundo, Lausanne, Switzerland
2020 Palgrave (forthcoming)
Contributor to the book Patient Knowledge: A Cornerstone for the Transformation of Care and Health Organisations
2019 The Lancet Psychiatry
Trauma Focused Movement Language, series of 12 photographs published as covers
and an article on my work on trauma and the body
2019 House Sparrow Press
Violence and Trauma: A Societal Reality We Are All Responsible For, essay written for the
book Doorways on homelessness, women, trauma and resistance
2018 CSM Public
Trauma-Focused Movement Language, article on my work, vol. 2, pp. 49
2018 Poésie en Mouvement
Contributor to the book Arythmie
2018 Winner, Mental Health Arts and Film Festival of Portugal, Lisbon, Portugal
2017 NOVA Award Nominee, Central Saint Martins, London, UK
2011 BCV Prize for Academic Excellence, Marcelin, Morges, Switzerland
2008 Prize in Visual Arts, Morges, Switzerland
2008 Prize in Photography, Morges, Switzerland
2008 Prize in Political Science, Morges, Switzerland