The centre has developed over the last decade from an active research group that have engaged in interdisciplinary research activities in the form of research projects, publications, events and masterclasses.
Research methodologies celebrate creative and arts-based methods next to verbal accounts of lived experiences and standardised methods of measuring change, allowing for diverse types of evidence to emerge that speak about different aspects of the work to different audiences. The centre draws expertise from across faculties, championing interdisciplinary research. The three main strands are as follows:
Bringing together psychological, health and educational research with research in performance and the arts. It focuses on the development of performative material that challenges perceptions around mental health, and encourages aspects of wellbeing for artists and audiences. It also supports dissemination of existing research findings from different disciplines in artistic forms. This strand focuses on partnerships with cultural organisations and independent practitioners.
Working with key partners on participatory arts that will be tailored to different groups, their communities and workplaces. Collaborations with voluntary organisations, mainstream and special needs schools, private organisations and businesses will develop and make direct use of good practice in arts-based interventions, aiming to support people’s wellbeing including both service users as well as the organisation’s workforce.
Researching the use of the arts in health contexts and environments with people who are vulnerable either because of mental or physical ill health, their age, disability, gender, socioeconomic disadvantage and/or inequality. Collaborations will be fostered with partners with clinical expertise such as psychotherapists, arts psychotherapists, psychologists, nurses and medics as well as other health professionals. The centre has strong partnerships with a number of NHS trusts.
Who we are
The Centre has an advisory, steering, and operational group whose members include academic staff with a wealth of experience and research activity spanning across departments and facilities. This includes Performing Arts and The Arts Centre, English, History and Creative Writing, Media, Education, Applied Health, Social Care and Medicine, Psychology and Social Sciences. External members from key organisations will also be invited to the advisory group as the Centre grows.Our manifesto
Director- Professor Vicky Karkou
Vicky is the Director of the Research Centre for Arts and Wellbeing. She joined Edge Hill University in 2013 and currently holds a split post between the School of Applied Health and Social Care and the Department of Performing Arts, spending her time teaching and researching equally between these two subject areas.
After gaining her MEd and PhD, Karkou’s doctoral work was published in her first co-authored book Arts Therapies: A Research-Based Map of the Field. Her success in external funding allowed her to research topics relating to the use of the arts and arts therapies and to generate material for her second edited book Arts Therapies in Schools.
Vicky’s research work remains diverse ranging from artistic inquiry to systematic reviews and meta-analyses. For example, with a team of two colleague from Leeds University, she has completed two Cochrane Reviews on the effectiveness of Dance Movement Therapy for Depression and Dementia. Vicky was awarded the title of Honorary Doctor of Medicine from Riga Stradins University in Latvia for her services in supporting the development of arts psychotherapies in this country.Read more about Vicky Karkou’s work
Deputy Director- Dr Stergios Makris
Dr Stergios Makris is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology. He is a BPS chartered psychologist with particular research interests in biological psychology and neuroscience. As part of his research, Makris has worked with professional athletes to look at the brain mechanisms involved in human perception to investigate their superior perceptual and action skills. Makris is an expert at the use of non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and direct current stimulation (tDCS).
Most of his work is now published in internationally recognised peer-reviewed scientific journals and he has presented in more than 30 national and international conferences.Read more about Stergios Makris’ work
Deputy Director- Dr Michael Richards
Dr Michael Richards is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Health and Social care. Richards is a community and chartered psychologist, with particular research interests in working collaboratively with marginalised groups using different methods, including art, poetry, film, photography, film, and drama.
His academic experiences are coupled with his extensive experiences of working in the community, and with professional organisations including social services, housing associations, youth projects, charities, schools, and colleges. He has worked with the most marginalised people in society, research that aided his PhD, one that aimed to provide a rich and contextual account from the perspective of men labelled with learning difficulties on their understanding of health promotion.Read more about Michael Richards’ work
Steering, advisory and operational group members
- Prof Martin McQuillan (Chair)
- Prof Vicky Karkou (Director)
- Dr Michael Richards (Deputy Director)
- Dr Stergios Makris (Deputy Director)
- Dr Cathy Butterworth (Head of Arts Centre)
- Magdalen Faulds (Research Office)
- Prof Helen Newall (Creative Arts)
- Dr Joanne Powell (Psychology)
- Alex Coulter, Director of Arts and Health South West and Director of the National Centre for Creative Health
- Dr Simon Hackett, Consultant Art Psychotherapist, Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust & Senior Clinical Lecturer in Mental Health, Newcastle University
- Andy Kerr, Independent Member. Andy is a performer, a trustee board member of YPAS (Young Person’s Advisory Service) and takes an active interest in social injustice, mental health, LGBT and community arts.
- Clare Mahoney, Senior Programme Manager, Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group.
- Sarah Niblock, Chief Executive, UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).
- Nisha Sajnani, Director of the Dramatherapy program at New York University & Principal Editor of Drama Therapy Review.
- Rebecca Ross-Williams, Creative Director & Chief Operating Officer, Liverpool Lighthouse.
- Valentina Cazzato, Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience, Liverpool John Moores University
Edge Hill University Members
- Prof Helen Newall, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/helen-newall
- Dr Lena Simic, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/lena-simic
- Dr Jenny Daniel, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/jenny-daniel
- Prof Owen Evans, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/owen-evans
- Dr George Meikle, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/george-meikle
- Dr Gina Giotaki, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/georgia-giotaki
- Dr Kim Wiltshire, English and Creative Arts https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/kim-wiltshire
- Dr Victoria Foster, Social Sciences https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/victoria-foster
- Dr Zana Vathi, Social Sciences https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/zana-vathi
- Dr Sally-Ann Ashton, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/sally-ann-ashton
- Dr Michael Richards, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/michael-richards
- Shelly Haslam, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/shelly-haslam
- Dr Joanne Inman, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/joanne-inman
- Dr Irene Swarbrick, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/irene-swarbrick
- Dr Suzy Hansford, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/suzy-hansford
- Lee-Anne Widnall, Applied Health and Social Care
- Fleur Vickery, Applied Health and Social Care
- Gergana Ganeva, Applied Health and Social Care
- Dr Lucy Gibson, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/lucy-gibson
- Dr Supritha Aithal, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/supritha-aithal
- Dr Sean Creaney, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/sean-creaney
- Dr Shaun Liverpool, Applied Health and Social Care https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/shaun-liverpool
- Dr Joann Kiernan, Nursing https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/joann-kiernan
- Bhuvaneswari Bibleraaj, Allied Health Professions https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/bhuvaneswari-bibleraaj
- Dr Tom Simcock, Unit for Evaluation & Policy Analysis https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/tom-simcock
- Prof Ella Pereira, Computer Science https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/ella-pereira
- Dr Ghada Nakhla, Secondary, Further Education and Training https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/ghada-nakhla
- Dr Christine Lewis, Faculty of Education https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/christine-lewis
- Dr Themis Karaminis, Psychology https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/themelis-karaminis
- Dr Stergios Makris, Psychology https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/stergios-makris
- Dr Joanne Powell, Psychology https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/joanne-greig
- Dr Gray Atherton, Psychology https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/gray-atherton
- Dr Liam Cross, Psychology https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/liam-cross
- Dr Karen Ludke, The Language Centre https://research.edgehill.ac.uk/en/persons/karen-ludke
- Emma Perris
- Erin Power
- Carly Marchant