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Since Arts for Health was taken under the wing of Manchester Metropolitan University back in 1987 it has had many members of staff who have come and gone over the years but who have played a vital part in the organisations constant evolution. These include amongst others its first Director, Peter Senior and a cavalcade of staff to numerous to mention in their entirety but acknowledgment has to be made of Dawn Prescott, Charlotte Garner, Philip Pugh, Langley Brown, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbit, Katherine Taylor, Ellie King and Helen Felcey.

While many of these people were project-funded there have been a constant number of volunteers and interns moving through this space and particularly under and post-graduate students have been the lifeblood, who alongside numerous members of the North West Arts & Health Network and partner organisations, have contributed to rich outputs ranging from the Manifesto for Arts and Health to the co-facilitation of large-scale events like Chaos & Comfort. You can find out more about just a handful of the students here.

The following people are key members of Arts for Health and the wider arts, health and social change Critical Research Collective, which spans multiple faculties across Manchester Metropolitan University and the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change.

Dr Clive Parkinson

Clive Parkinson is the Director of Arts for Health and the convenor of the Manchester Institute for Arts, Health & Social Change. He has previously been Development Director of Arts for Health Cornwall and Isles of Scilly, a Health Promotion Specialist for Morecambe Bay PCT and Voluntary Sector manager supporting people affected by schizophrenia. He began his career as an artist working in a hospital for people with learning disabilities.

Dr Clare Devaney

Clare Devaney is an experienced researcher, strategist and communicator. She is a strong advocate for socially engaged practice. She is founding Director of Citizen-i Ltd, a platform for citizen-led research and civic innovation. As a Research Fellow with the Royal Society of Arts, she led its “Heritage, Identity and Place” (2014-7) and “Citizens and Inclusive Growth” (2017) programmes. Clare’s broad portfolio of consultancy work includes retainers with New Economy (GMCA), where she delivered the GM ‘Smart Specialisation’ and ‘Science and Innovation’ strategies (2013), and with Heart of Glass, St. Helens (2013-18), leading its successful Arts Council NPO bid in 2018. Clare has recently completed her PhD at the University of Salford. Her proposals for a new economic paradigm - “A Fourth Way” - are widely published and the subject of two TED-x talks. She holds both MA and BA degrees in English Literature from St Catharine’s College, University of Cambridge.

Dr Lucy Burke

My primary area of research investigates current critical, cultural and creative responses to dementia. I address this from two main perspectives. Firstly, how dementia is represented across a range of literary, filmic, televisual and auto/biographical texts, and secondly, how we might think about the role of the arts and humanities in relation to the lived experiences of dementia, ageing and the meanings of care. I am particularly interested in how we think about value in this context and what it means to try to measure and capture the value of the arts or creativity more generally. I am also interested in literary, televisual and cinematic representations of learning disability and I work closely with younger people with learning disabilities. I also teach and write on current bioethical debates around personhood, citizenship and biosociality in the age of the genome. I work closely with Dr Hannah Zeilig, a colleague at University of the Arts, London and alongside joint publications our aim is to develop an international network of Literary and Cultural Dementia Studies.

Professor Rebecca Lawthom

I am a professor in Community Practice working across the Psychology department and the Research Institute for Health and Social Change (RIHSC). Recently, I led the Social Work Social Policy UoA submission for the REF 2014. My research interests are in the areas of community psychology, disability and feminism. I have undertaken research projects which take experiences of marginalisation seriously and works in participatory ways with others to achieve social change. I am interested in qualitative, creative and collaborative methods and have published in this area. I direct the Social Change Centre within RIHSC and am a member of Critical Disability Studies, collaborating with colleagues across recent projects such as:

  • Resilience and disability across the life course
  • Exploring participation in community based arts and health
  • Chinese migrant worker experiences of forced labour

Dr Stella Bullo

I supervise research in critical/discourse analysis, including systemic functional linguistics, appraisal theory, socio-cognitive approaches, conceptual metaphor/blending theory, multimodal discourse as well as pragmatics and intercultural communication applied to advertising discourse, corporate communication, educational discourse, identity, and health and medical discourse. I especially welcome projects that wish to explore discourse approaches to health, illness and medical discourse, intercultural studies of health, and other related areas of the Medical Humanities and Health Communication.

Professor Amanda Ravetz

Amanda Ravetz is a visual anthropologist with research interests and expertise in the interdisciplinary connections between anthropology and art/design; the theories and practices of observational cinema; and artist development.

Professor Alice Kettle

Alice Kettle is a contemporary textile/fibre artist based in the UK. She has established a unique area of practice by her use of a craft medium, consistently and on an unparalleled scale. Her stitched works, many the size of huge figurative tapestries, exploit the textures and effects made possible through the harnessing of a mechanical process to intuitive and creative ends.

Dr Langley Brown

Langley Brown is a visual artist and researcher whose involvement with arts and health began in 1978 when he joined the Hospital Arts Team (later Hospital Arts, now Lime) at Manchester's St Mary's Hospital. In 1986 he was co-founder, with Peter Senior MBE and Professor Francis Creed, of START (Manchester) which he served as director for ten years. He helped establish related projects in Salford, Oldham and Stockport, and advised on setting up similar schemes around the UK. Since 2010 Langley has been preserving and developing the extensive Arts for Health Archive as a source for researchers and practitioners, which in 2017 was collated alongside other national archive material and taken into the Wellcome Collection for digitising and making freely, publicly available. Langley continues to work with us at Arts for Health in an honorary capacity.