Who we are

Jessica Hobson

Jessica (BA Hons Dance and Professional Practice; MSc Dance Science) is Dancing the Blues' research assistant.

Jessica is a trained performer and choreographer in contemporary dance and following the completion of her Master’s degree at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and dance, gained extensive experience in Trinity Laban’s Dance Science team, carrying out dancer screening and delivering educational sessions. Prior to joining Edge Hill University, Jessica was module leader for Dance, Health and Wellbeing and Dance Science lecturer at the University of Worcester. Jessica has also choreographed professionally for a mass movement company creating work for the UK’s most prestigious sporting events and worked with artists such as Pixie Lott and Alexandra Burke and was a Disney Cast Member at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, Florida.

Supritha Aithal

Supritha will be working alongside fellow investigators to establish and monitor the impact of the research gathered throughout the Dancing the Blues project. Her current position at Edge Hill University is PhD candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Education and Training

Dance Movement Therapy (Certificate Course) 2015 Artsphere, Pune M.F.A in Bharatanatyam, Bharatidassan University 2014, Trichy, India B.Sc. (Speech & Hearing) 2012, All India Institute of Speech & Hearing (AIISH), University of Mysore Teaching qualification for University level from University Grants Commission National Eligibility Test June 2014, India. Bharatanatyam (Final Proficiency/ Vidwath Final) 2013, Karnataka Secondary Education Board, Government of Karnataka

Supritha’s PhD Topic is: Contribution of Dance Movement Psychotherapy for the Wellbeing of Children on Autism Spectrum and their care givers: A Multidisciplinary Mixed Methods Approach. In this study I will be exploring the neuroscience basis for the effectiveness of DMP along with artistic inquiry methods to understand the processes underneath.

Within her research & professional work experience, Supritha has been an active resource person for Rehabilitation Council of India, held a CRE credited workshop on Creative Art Based Therapy at All India Institute of Speech &Hearing on 29th August – 3rd September 2016. Supritha has also worked as a part time creative movement therapy practitioner at Sabari Vidhyashram, Puducherry, in 2016, and worked as a Research assistant for the project “Impact of linked Phonic charts on recall of Phonic association in children requiring additional support for print decoding” funded by “Krigo Alternatives for Learning”, Mysore. (Ongoing Project from 2014 May).


Supritha Aithal, Swathi, S., & Rajasudhakar, R. (2011). Effect of Different Levels of Training on Singing Power Ratio and Singer's Formant in Classical Carnatic Singers.Journal of ITC Sangeet Research Academy, 25, 46-57.

Supritha Aithal, Manjunath, Y.N., & Shyamala.K.C. (2011). Rett Syndrome - A case study of Malayalam Speaking Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. LanguageinIndia, 12, 304-320.

Indira, C.P, Lakshmi, M.S., & Supritha Aithal. (2016). Auditory Temporal Processing in Dancers and Non Dancers. JAIISH, 35, 37-43


Supritha, A., Sandeep, M., & Dwaritha, V. (2014). Utility and perception of Dance to improve Body Balance. Masteral dissertation for partial fulfilment of M.F.A in Bharathanatyam , Bharathidasan University, Trichy.

Supritha, A., & Anubha, D., (2015). Effectiveness of Dance Movement Therapy on Wellbeing of Children with Hearing Impairment. Internship Project for partial fulfilment of Certificate course on Dance Therapy, International Dance Council, UNESCO, Paris, France.

Here Is some background knowledge of Supritha as a performer: ‘A’ Grade Bharatanatyam artist of Doordarshan. (National TV Channel, Govt. of India) International conference on Rama, 2017, India Nritya Sandhya Dance Festival 2016, Shilpi Bhavan, New Delhi Naada Nartan Music and Dance Festival 2016, IHC, New Delhi Ananya Nrutya Neeranjana, 2015, Bangalore. International conference on Nephropathalogy, 2014, India Jain Basati Festival 2013, Palakkad , Kerala Sripuram Sri Lakshmi Narayani Golden Temple 2013, Vellore, Tamil Nadu. Indian national music festival 2007, Hubli. Guruvayur Sri Kishana Temple and Trissur , Kerala in 2007 Yuva Sourabha Program 2007 Bangalore Vishwa Kannada Samskruti Sammelana 2006, Bharain Laksha Deepotsava festival, Shringeri Sharada temple 2006 Arangetram/Rangapravesham in 2004 at Sri Marikamba Temple, Sirsi.

Professor Vicky Karkou

Professor Vicky Karkou, MD (Honoris Causa), PhD, MEd, PgDip(DMT), RDMP, BEdSc(Honors) os the lead researcher on the Dancing the Blues project.


Chair of Dance, Arts and Wellbeing


She offers supervision to PhD and MA students and contributes to topics relating to arts psychotherapies (and dance movement psychotherapy in particular) and the broad area of the use of the arts in health and wellbeing at an undergraduate level. She is currently working part-time for the Department of Performing Arts and part-time for the Faculty of Health and Social Care, also contributing to teaching in Counselling Degree.


Vicky’s main research area is around arts psychotherapies and the use of the arts (and improvisation) for health and wellbeing which she explores through a range of qualitative, quantitative and arts-based methodologies. She has gained funding from the European Union and from other funding bodies for a number of projects in applied uses of the arts. She has completed two Cochrane Systematic Reviews on depression and dementia:

  • Meekums B, Karkou V, Nelson EA. (2015) Dance movement therapy for depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD009895. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009895.pub2 (Impact factor IF 5.912)

  • Karkou V, Meekums B. (2014) Dance movement therapy for dementia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD011022. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011022. (IF 5.912)

She is well published in national and international peer-reviewed journals, while has published chapters and books:

  • Karkou V and Sanderson P 2006. Arts Therapies: A Research-based Map of the Field. Edinburgh: Elsevier

  • Karkou V 2010 ed. Arts Therapies in Schools: Research and Practice. London: Jessica Kingsley

  • Karkou, V, Oliver S and Lycouris S (2017) (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Wellbeing. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Zubala a and Karkou V (2018 in press) Arts Therapies Practice in the Treatment of Depression: International Research in Arts Therapies. London: New York.

She acts as the reviewer for a number of different journals including The Arts in Psychotherapy and The American Journal of Dance Therapy. She is the co-editor for the international journal Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy. She acts as a consultant for different organisations including Crew 2000, a charity offering support to people with addictions, and Spinning Worlds, a voluntary service offering CAMHs services in schools in Liverpool and offers clinical supervision and support.

Dr Scott Thurston

Scott Thurston is a poet, mover and educator working in higher education in Manchester, UK. With regards to Dancing the Blues, Dr Scott Thurston is one of four co-researchers and part of the steering group for the project.

He has published twelve books and chapbooks of poetry, including three full-length collections with Shearsman: Hold (2006), Momentum (2008) and Internal Rhyme (2010). More recent work includes Reverses Heart’s Reassembly (Veer, 2011), Figure Detached Figure Impermanent (Oystercatcher, 2014) and Poems for the Dance (Aquifer, 2017). Scott is founding co-editor of open access Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry and co-organizer of the long-running poetry reading series The Other Room in Manchester. Since 2004, he has been developing a poetics integrating dance and poetry which has seen him studying with dancers in Berlin and New York and collaborating with dancers Sarie Mairs Slee and Julia Griffin in the UK. His poetic work responds to ongoing encounters with various dance and movement practices including Five Rhythms, Movement Medicine and Open Floor, alongside Authentic Movement, Qi Gong and Alexander Technique.

Dr Joanna Omylinska-Thurston

Joanna is a Counselling Psychologist with the Greater Manchester Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust and a co-researcher and member of the steering group for the Dancing the Blues project.

Joanna is an experienced Counselling Psychologist who has been practicing within NHS for the last 20 years providing psychological therapy, supervision and placements for Counselling Psychology Trainees at the University of Manchester and the BPS’s Qualification in Counselling Psychology. She integrates humanistic, cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic approaches in her work and has worked in learning disabilities, psycho-oncology and mental health. Joanna has undertaken several research projects using qualitative methods examining the psychological aspects of immigration, the therapist’s use of self and helpful factors in psychological therapy with cancer.

Joanna currently works for IAPT (Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust) where she works with clients who present with common mental health issues such as anxiety and depression as well as complex issues such as complex trauma. She won a BACP grant to explore the unhelpful factors in CBT. She is also co-leading the Dancing the Blues project exploring the use of creative methods (inc. dance/ movement and creative writing) in the treatment of depression. Joanna is interested in autoethnographic research exploring her development as a counselling psychologist and the role of creativity and spirituality in that journey. She uses journalling, movement and other creative methods as well as personal therapy in her own development. She has currently become interested in the menopause and middle life changes. Joanna has a small private practice where she sees Polish clients and supervises. She lives and practices in Manchester.

Julianne Harlow

Julianne is a Senior Lecturer in (Applied) Health and Social Care and part of the clinical group in the Dancing the Blues project and working predominantly on phase two of the project.

Julianne is currently the Programme Lead MSc Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellbeing and Senior Lecturer for BSc Child Health and Wellbeing. Julianne is also the Module Leader for; FDH1103 Child Development in the Social Context HUG2229 Public Health and Health Promotion HUG3238 Positive Behaviour Support HUG2135 The Safeguarding Agenda. Other elements of her role include dissertation supervisor for undergraduate and postgraduate (MSc Advanced Practice) dissertations. Julianne is also the departmental representative on Retention Committee, delivers Solihull Parenting Training, facilitates British Red Cross Paediatric First Aid Training and is the external examiner for BA Health & Social Care, Nottingham Trent University.

Julianne’s Academic Qualifications include:

  • PGCE (Further, Higher & Adult Education), MA (Distinction) Child Care Law and Practice, BSc (1st Class Hons) Community Health Care Nursing (Public Health Nursing – Health Visiting).

Julianne’s Professional Qualifications include:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Recordable teacher status, Leading an Empowered Organisation, Programme Registered Specialist Community Public Health, Nurse – Health Visitor, Recorded Community Practitioner Nurse Prescriber, Management Introductory Award, Teaching and Assessing in Clinical Practice.

Here are some of Julianne’s publications to date:

Books – chapters:

  • COOPER, L., HARLOW, J., 2018. “What is physical development? in Johnston, J., Nahmad-Williams, L., Oates, R. and Wood, V. Early Childhood Studies: Principles and Practice. 2nd ed. London: Routledge.

  • HARLOW, J., and SMITH, M. 2016. “Safeguarding Children: Debates and Dilemmas for Health Visitors” in Luker, K., McHugh, G., Bryar, R.M (eds). Health Visiting: Preparation for Practice. 4th ed. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.

  • HARLOW, J., and SMITH, M., 2012. “Safeguarding Children: Debates and Dilemmas for Health Visitors” in Luker, K., Orr, J., McHugh, G (eds). Health Visiting: A Rediscovery. 3rd ed. Chichester: Wiley.

  • SMITH, M., and HARLOW, J, 2009. “Community Health Services” in Tabernacle, B., Honey, M., Jinks, A. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Nursing Older People. Oxford University Press: Oxford pp 78-81.

  • SMITH, M., and HARLOW, J., 2009. “Health Visiting” in Tabernacle, B., Honey, M., Jinks, A (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Nursing Older People. Oxford University Press: Oxford pp 84-85.

Journal articles (ii) non-refereed:

  • HARLOW, J., 2011. Baby Friendly Accreditation. Community Practitioner. 84 (10), pp 40-41.

Conference contributions (ii) non-refereed:

  • Gaining Baby Friendly Accreditation for a specialist community public health nursing (health visiting programme), UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative Annual Conference 2011. Liverpool BT Convention Centre, 24-25 November 2011.

  • Seeking accreditation of baby friendly standards to a specialist community public health nursing (health visiting) programme: Success to stage one assessment, CPHVA Annual Conference: Health Family, Healthy Child, Harrogate International Centre, 20-22 October 2010.

Shelly Haslam

Shelly’s employment background is diverse, having worked across a range of care settings including; children, young people, adults and older adults. As a registered Mental Health Nurse, Shelly also has a range of experiences working in forensic, acute, learning disability and long term care settings and with these service user groups. She has a passion for improving the quality of health and social care, having worked in workforce development for eight years prior to moving into lecturing.

More recently, Shelly has combined the nursing role with lecturing, commencing at Edge Hill University in January 2014. Academically, she has studied in the fields of social sciences, psychology, health, social care and education. Shelly currently lectures on the Child Health and Wellbeing degree, but also has input in other subject areas. Shelly is currently undertaking a PhD focusing on Service Quality, happiness and satisfaction in the elderly care setting. Other areas of research interest include; Crime, deviance and youth offending, Third sector offender management, Mental Health, Change management in health and social care services and Quality improvement in social care.

Professor Stephen Davismoon

Professor Stephen Davismoon is currently the Head of Performing Arts at Edge Hill University and Chair of Contemporary Composition. With regards to the Dancing the Blues project, Stephen is part of the creative team and will be working predominantly on the first phase of the project.

Teaching – (UG, MA and PhD) Composition, Modern and Postmodern Theory, Dissertation/Thesis, Creative Digital Technology (interactive and immersive).

Education and Training – PhD Music Composition, University of Edinburgh 1997; BA (Hons) Music, University of Southampton 1990.

Research & Professional Practice

Main focus of my research is as a composer. I have written for a wide variety of voices, instruments and media, from solo, orchestral through to electroacoustic/sound installation works. I have had performances throughout Europe and the Americas.

In addition to my work as a composer I also write regularly on contemporary music history and practice. His scholarly work on Luigi Nono and Edgard Varèse for Routledge were well-received.

Recent work includes:


God’s Own Caught in No Man’s Land commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme 1stJuly 2016; broadcast BBC Radio 3 Remembrance Sunday 2016.

Driven Voids – for voice, harp, violin and live electronics setting texts by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Steven Holl and Johnny Rodger on the importance of time and place in architecture; commissioned by Glasgow School of Art to sonify the new Reid Building designed by Holl in September 2015.

Thrones – an audience interactive sound-art work, premiered at the Intetain Conference at Columbia College Chicago, USA July 2014

Well Yeah – a fixed-medium sound-art work premiered simultaneously by way of a LOLA streaming systems at MCUK Salford and Columbia College Chicago February 2014


Hybridity of Practice and Aesthetics Between Electronic Dance and Electroacoustic Musics – a collection of edited papers for Contemporary Music Review published by Routledge 2016.

Music and Technologies (Edited with Professor Darius Kucinskas, Kaunas Techical University, Lithuania – 2012, Cambridge Scholars Publishing)

Further to this, Stephen is involved in many editorial and panel positions along with guest lectures and conferences around the world.


Stephen has served as an external examiner and course consultant at undergraduate, MA and PhD levels at the following institutions: University of Surrey, Columbia College Chicago, University of Plymouth, University of York, University of Edinburgh, Strathclyde University, Queen’s University Belfast and Liverpool Hope University.

Julia Griffin

Julia is currently a senior lecturer in dance at Edge Hill University and her role in the Dancing the Blues project is choreographer and artist. Julia will be working with Scott and Stephen to create various performances as part of phase one of the project.

Education and Training

MA. Media Arts, MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University, AHRC Award holder, 2002.

PGCE, Dept of Education, Huddersfield University, 2001.

Special Certificate in Choreography and Performance, London School of Contemporary Dance, 1989.

B.A.(Hons), Performing Arts, majoring in Dance, Middlesex University, 1985.

Research & Professional Practice

It is through a hybrid practice within academia, community and professional sectors, that the `testing’ of dance/movement vocabulary through exploring, investigating and creating new ways of moving through artistic collaboration, devising new methodologies for creating original and thought provoking works that encourage participation and cross fertilisation of art forms. It is my contention that exploring dance through various creative contexts such as, multi-media installations, sited and re-sited spaces and filmed dance works, opens the boundaries of dance to critical cultural debates and to develop new aesthetics for the next generation of dance makers.

Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall

Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall is a clinical and counseling psychologist (HCPC Registered) and a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist. Within the Dancing the Blues project, Linda will be involved with the clinical team and be working towards the aims involved in the second phase of the project.

Linda is also a lecturer in Applied Psychology (Therapies), and teaches at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Previously, Linda has designed and managed the new Counselling and Wellbeing Service at the University of Salford, and taught for the MSc in Counselling (Professional Training). Linda describes herself as an integrative psychotherapist, and incorporates hypnotherapy and EMDR into practice. Linda obtained her PhD in Counselling Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Research interests include: Psychology of undue influence and coercive persuasion (e.g. cults and extremist groups), group dynamics and family systems, ethical psychotherapy, psychotherapy outcome, practitioner self-care, CBT and physical health, and single session psychotherapy. Linda is also a peer reviewer for the Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal, published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and Routledge, and a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Cultic Studies.

Ailsa Parsons

Ailsa is currently a lecturer/educator, wellbeing coach, dance movement psychotherapist at Authentic Moves and University of Salford. Within the Dancing the Blues project, Ailsa will be working with the clinical group on phase two of the project.

Ailsa's qualifications and memberships: BSc MSc MBPsS fHEA

Ailsa's teaching modules include: Psychology of Exercise & Health, Innovations in Exercise & Health, Behaviour Change and Research Methods. Her research interests consist of behaviour change, individual-environmental interactions in lifestyle, body and movement in psychotherapy, physically active interventions for mental health, obesity and eating disorders.

Ailsa is currently the Programme Leader of BSc (Hons) Psychology of Sport at the Unversity of Salford and module leader in Innovations in Behaviour Change and Psychology of Exercise & Health. Her other teaching/tutoring responsibilities include: continuing professional development workshops: Behaviour change & motivational interviewing for health professionals, research methods (qualitative) and dissertation and research proposal supervision. Further to this, Ailsa is the founder of Authentic Moves. Authentic Moves came into being to assemble and extend Ailsa's existing areas of work with individuals, families, groups and organisations. The aims are to educate and increase health and wellbeing, and better facilitate access to these services. Ailsa applies an integrative approach to body-mind, Dance & Movement Psychotherapy, health psychology, behaviour change and personal development, and has special interests in distance learning delivery and technology, neuropsychology, eating disorders and habits/addiction. Ailsa also works with parents/carers in wellbeing, stress management, parent-child physical activity and attunement.

Kerry Nair

Kerry currently works as a Counsellor and Supervisor in South Manchester IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), part of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Trust. IAPT is an initiative to improve access to Psychological Therapies for those presenting with Depression and Anxiety.

Kerry offers a Person-Centred approach when engaging in a therapeutic relationship with a client. However, also offers the use of creative media with her clients such as the use of art materials; miniature figures and objects; psychodrama chair work and working with emotions in the body using mindfulness techniques. Kerry facilitates Mindfulness groups within the service, and also works alongside secondary care wellbeing provision to provide Art-Wellbeing groups for clients. Kerry has completed a foundation course in Art-Therapy and worked on a pilot project for two years with our Eating Disorder Service, providing such a specialist service in the community.

In previous roles Kerry has managed and worked in Young Person’s Counselling Services in Stockport and West Sussex. I have also worked as a counsellor overseas as a Bereavement Counsellor in Sydney Children’s Hospital, Australia.

Kerry will be working as part of the Clinical Group and is very excited to be part of this project potentially bringing the use of creative media into Healthcare services.

Jennifer Lewis

Jennifer Lewis