Presenters Biographies in order of the programme Further info on performers is in the programme Prue Thimbleby Prue Thimbleby has been leading the Arts & Heritage Team at Swansea Bay Health Board since 2012. During that time the team has grown from two to seven part-time staff who deliver an extensive Arts programme. The programme includes employing Artists to work on new buildings and refurbishments, large scale heritage exhibitions, drama projects for staff wellbeing and dance for falls prevention. As part of her role Prue has established an extensive digital patient story programme and trained NHS staff across the UK as story facilitators. Prue has personally facilitated many patient stories which have improved healthcare, including – transforming incident reporting, improving cancer pathways across Wales and helping people find resolutions to complaints. She convened a series of international conferences called Storytelling for Health which have now become an ongoing biannual event across the world. This is one of them :-)
Lesley Goodburn Lesley has worked in patient experience and public and patient involvement for the last 10 years after a career in the customer service industry. She now works as Experience of Care Lead for Provider Improvement at NHS England NHS improvement. This involves working with NHS trusts to do organisational development diagnostics for experience of care looking at leadership, culture and learning. Lesley also leads the Heads of Patient Experience (HoPE) Network She has shared her personal story of the death of her husband Seth via a play, a film and educational package called Seth's Story. Find out more about her personal improvement work and its three aims :-
Raise awareness of signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer.
Improve psychological support for patients and families given a late terminal diagnosis with a short prognosis.
Emily Underwood-Lee Dr Emily Underwood-Lee is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales. Her research focuses on feminist performance, autobiographical performance, and narrative in performance. Emily has a particular interest in performance and the maternal and storytelling in health. She is PI on the AHRC funded Performance and the Maternal project andco- created the Kicking Up Our Heels project at Great Ormond Street Hospital commissioned by GOSH Arts. She co-convenes the Storytelling for Health conference and sits on the steering group of WAHWN. Recent publications include ‘On the Maternal’ Performance Research (22:4), ‘Storytelling for Health’ Storytelling, Self, Society (15:1), and the forthcoming book Maternal Performance: Feminist Relations, co-authored with Lena Šimić, Palgrave (2021) and edited collection Mothering: Processes, Practices and Performances co-edited with Lena Šimić, Routledge (2022).
Glenn Miles I am a researcher, just completed a ten year longitudinal research project with survivors of sex traffic coming in Cambodia listening to their stories.
Cathy Walsh Cathy Walsh is the Associate Director for Patient and Carer Experience at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHSFT. Cathy joined the NHS in 1981 as a pupil nurse in mental health and has worked in the NHS for 40 years. She has a wealth of experience having worked as a Registered Mental Health Nurse across a variety of mental health care settings. Including roles such as Modern Matron, General Manager, Head of Mental Health & Learning Disability Commissioning and she is still registered as a nurse. For the past 3 years Cathy has been consolidating her learning and experience and championing CWP’s person centred framework, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and working to support people to be the best they can be. When not working Cathy is passionate about storytelling, learning and is working to develop her skills in sketchnote, graphic facilitation, graphic recording and visual coaching.
Larisa Sioneriu Larisa Sioneriu is a staff member of the Matt Talbot Community Trust and a PhD student at Bristol University. As an educator, she has been working with various communities at risk both in Ireland and abroad exploring co-production, project-based learning approaches and digital storytelling as ways to create and sustain positive identities. Her doctoral research is focused on the use of digital storytelling in exploring the interaction of identity and peace education with teachers in rural Colombia in the aftermath of the peace agreement recently signed.
Karen Taylor Karen Taylor has worked at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospital since 2014. Her first role was as Head of Arts, where she led a successful arts programme, rb&hArts. Her current role, Lead for Arts & Patient and Public Engagement is focused on delivering the hospital’s PPE strategy - listening to patients, learning from their experiences of care and leading improvements with them. She has worked in arts and health for over 20 years with 11 years at Arts Council England. This included leading Be Creative Be Well, a pioneering community development project to increase health and wellbeing in deprived communities.
Kath MacDonald Dr Kath MacDonald R.N, SFHE, is an Honorary Lecturer in Nursing at Queen Margaret University. She is an Apprentice Storyteller and set up a Social Enterprise: ListenUpStorytelling.co.uk in 2019 as a means to support professionals who care for others to care for themselves. Her research interests include patient experience, long term conditions, adolescence, creative methods and the student experience.
Joseph Sobol Joseph Daniel Sobol, Ph.D. (Northwestern University, 1994) is Director of the George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling at the University of South Wales in Cardiff. From 2000 until 2017 he was Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Storytelling at East Tennessee State University. He has lectured, keynoted, and concertized across the United States and the British Isles, and in 2009 presented along with a select group of scholars at the first International Storytelling Conference in the Kingdom of Bhutan. From 2003-2015 he led the storytelling strand of the ETSU Cancer Stories Project, a collaboration between family medicine, oncology, and storytelling. Brin Hodgskiss Dr Brin Hodgskiss realised, after 20 years in the public sector, that he was doing it wrong. Training originally in psychology, his career took him from police investigations, to operational management, and onward into large scale transformation. There it dawned on him: it's not about managing the process, or even about managing the people. It's about managing meaning. So he became interested in how the stories we tell can help us connect better, and influence more.
Kate Mahoney Kate Mahoney is a historian of modern Britain, specialising in the history of feminism and women’s health. She completed her PhD on feminist mental health activism at the University of Warwick in 2017, and is currently a postdoctoral research assistant on the Wellcome Trust-funded project ‘Body, Self and Family: Women’s Emotional, Psychological and Health in Britain, c. 1960-1990’ (Department of History, University of Essex). Kate has used creative and digital practices to develop several public engagement initiatives. These have included ‘Seeing Red: Periods and Protest’, a series of poster-making workshops with 120 girls from across Essex, that raised awareness about period poverty, and a digital toolkit that uses the history of women’s health to boost young people’s self-esteem. Kate explores her experience of public engagement in her forthcoming Medical Humanities article, ‘Women’s Voices, Emotion, and Empathy: Engaging Different Publics in “Everyday” Health Histories’, co-written with Tracey Loughran and Daisy Payling. David Messer I am a developmental psychologist who often works in multi-disciplinary research teams. My current research concerns communication, language and literacy in children and young people with a range of disabilities. I have been interested in learning, education and technology since the 1980s when BBC computers were introduced into primary schools. Currently I am involved in several projects that concern technology in relation to children’s health and am working with Speech and Language Therapists. I am Emeritus Professor at the Open University and Visiting Professor at City, University of London. At the Open University I was an academic advisor to the BBC series ‘Child of Our Time’.
Lucy Podgers With an academic background in Psychology and English, I am myself a patient with almost 20 years’ experience of navigating chronic illness across healthcare, workplace and personal settings. The power of storytelling to both make sense of and interrogate these experiences has long been an interest which I have explored privately through my own expressive writing, collectively when working with other patients in support contexts, and collaboratively through my research. In particular, I am fascinated by how stories are told and co-constructed across different mediums and in social media settings. How do the forms we use work to communicate the complex emotions and identities that we negotiate? And how does it feel to write these stories, to communicate them, and for them to be both researched and re-told?
Paula Hopes My name is Paula Hopes, I am a Learning Disability Nurse Consultant. I work in Swansea Bay health board and have previously worked as a nurse lecturer and in a variety of roles in the NHS. My background has been working with people who’s behaviour is described as challenging, I have an M.Sc in positive approaches to challenging behaviour. I am very recent to digital storytelling and have found the process a very personal and reflective journey. Meeting people with learning disabilities through Covid to hear and develop their stories has been a highlight of my work over the last year and I strive to increase the numbers of people who are able to have this opportunity.
Kimberly Littlemore Kimberley Littlemore is a former award-winning BBC filmmaker. At the BBC Kimberley oversaw the creation of documentary content on international development issues to raise funds for the developing world via the British charity Comic Relief. One of these fundraising films raised £5 million in 5 minutes – possibly the most successful fundraiser ever broadcast in the UK. As Creative Director Kimberley is responsible for producing high quality film content, working with award-winning crews and graphic animators. Her strong academic abilities (MA, Oxford University, Dip Journ) allow her to combine visual flair with an ability to master and communicate complex theoretical content. eHealth Digital Media seeks to find subjects that are underserved by digital media support and dementia would appear to be one of those topics. Supporting health and social care professionals as well as family members to better understand dementia and help people to live as well as possible with this challenging disease is really important to Kimberley and her team.
Nicola Abraham Lecturer in Applied Theatre Practices at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has most recently been working on a range of applied theatre, film and VR projects in NHS hospitals to develop new person-centred approaches to creating bespoke artefacts, including VR 360 videos, intergenerational augmented reality-based process dramas with primary school children and older adult patients living with dementia, and films to improve subjective wellbeing of patients in acute dialysis wards. She has published in Research in Drama Education: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance (RiDE), Applied Theatre Research, international arts and English Education journals including: TVOŘIVÁ DRAMATIKA: Časopis o dramatické výchově, literatuře a divadle pro děti amládež), ETAS, and co-edited the 2nd Edition of TheApplied Theatre Reader (2020), and Applied Theatre with Urban Youth: Witnessing Change (forthcoming, 2020/2021).
Ruby Colley Dementia clinical nurse specialist for the Dementia care team within Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust working collaboratively with Dr Nicola Abraham on the Student Knowledge Exchange project in partnership with Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She qualified with a bachelor’s of science in Mental Health Nursing in 2015, working in inpatient dementia and forensic and prison psychiatric services before moving to research in dementia and Parkinson’s disease. She worked for the National Prion clinic, working with patients with extremely rare dementia, young onset dementia and Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease before moving to her current role at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. She has a special interest in surgical interventions for patients with dementia and has recently led a quality improvement project with the aim of developing a dementia surgical pathway.
Nick Andrews Nick Andrews initially studied at Durham, Oxford and Liverpool Universities and is a social worker with many years experience in community social work, service planning and therapeutic education across children and adult services. In 2019 he was awarded 'The Spirit of Social Work' award by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) Cymru. He is currently based in Swansea University where he co-ordinates the Developing Evidence Enriched Practice (DEEP) programme. This is a particular approach to knowledge mobilisation that is grounded in social pedagogy and promotes knowledge democracy through the use of story and dialogue based methods in learning and development. In the spirit of Paulo Freire, Nick sees the primary aim of education as "creating a world in which it is easier to love".
Georgie Steele I’m a storyteller and theatre performer, and a carer for my two sons, who have a degenerative disability. For the past decade I’ve mostly been a carer: you could call that a career break (I was working in physical theatre before), but in the sense of being broken up and transformed, rather than having a temporary swap-out. I’m still a carer but am now also back in the room as a storyteller and facilitator. In October I was commissioned by Arts at the Old Fire Station Oxford for ‘Lockdown Cinderella’, a community storytelling project for carers. Now I’m preparing a storytelling project with older carers, ‘Drawing Up Stories’. And I’m continuing to work on my biographical show, ‘Pig v. Wolf’ which I anticipate completing at the SBW Creative Lab at the School of Storytelling, September 2021. I also make story videos for, and do online workshops with, primary school children.
Kate Hewett Kate Hewett is a writer, coach, leadership and organisational development (OD) practitioner. Her current creative exploration is around how to create and embody new narratives that shift patterns of behaviour in individuals, communities and organisations. She is currently a student on the MA Poetics of Imagination at Dartington Arts School, University of Plymouth, which examines the role of storytelling in relation to the development of culture. She is an Accredited EMCC Senior Practitioner Coach with a PG(Dip) in Coaching and Mentoring who has held Organisational Development roles within the NHS. She has been on the boards of a number of innovative businesses and social enterprises and has trained and coached leaders from all sectors. Always interested in health and wellbeing, she was a yoga and meditation teacher for fifteen years and remains a keen practitioner.
Eifion Jones I’m a filmmaker and sound designer with a passion for honesty and authenticity in storytelling. I have more than 15 years media industry experience ranging from the BBC to corporate work to award winning independent film and art projects. I’m currently interested in exploring the power and value of helping people tell their personal stories through film.