Deirdre McConnell

BA (Hons), PGCE, MA

School of English

Research Student

dmcconnell1@sheffield.ac.uk

Full contact details

Deirdre McConnell
School of English
Jessop West
1 Upper Hanover Street
Sheffield
S3 7RA
Qualifications
  • Combined Hons BA in Italian and Fine Art, Exeter University (and Exeter College of Art) 1982
  • PGCE Didsbury School of Education, Manchester, 1983
  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Art Therapy, Sheffield University, 1989
  • Post-Registration research MA in Art Psychotherapy - Leeds Metropolitan University, 2012
Research interests
  • School-based Art Therapy
  • Narratives
  • Creativity
  • Social, Emotional well-being and Mental Health
  • Trauma
  • Critical Psychology
  • Art-based Research

This study is born from my experience. Firstly, from my reflections on many years of personal practitioner experience in the field (as teacher, then art therapist) and secondly from my sense of the need to respond to the current crisis of concerns about the mental health needs of children and young people in the UK.

I will be taking a close look at what happens when art therapy addresses emotional well-being and mental health needs of pupils in schools.

I will explore how this fascinating reality is constructed, investigating the relationship between the systemic functioning of the school, which provides the safe space within which therapy takes place and the inner experiences of the child.

My inquiry will involve consideration of decision-making by school leaders, the practice of qualified art therapists and the engagement of children themselves.

It aims to gain understanding about what matters most to each of these people and to define more clearly what is working well and why.

Methodological approaches will be used to ensure transparency and accountability including triangulated case studies, outsider-witness team reflecting and reflexive journaling.

I aim to build upon previous research into the effectiveness of art therapy in working with children affected by emotional trauma and to address some significant gaps in research on school-based art therapy in particular.

This research intends to extend practical and theoretical knowledge in the field, and point towards areas for further research.

Publications

Chapters

Research group

Supervisors

  • Professor Brendan Stone
  • Dr Antony Williams
  • Dr Chris Wood
Teaching activities
  • “School-based Creative Therapies: Accessible interventions for working safely and effectively with trauma”
  • PhD candidates – Educational psychology. Manchester University. Full day. February 4th 2013
  • “Art Therapy in Education”
  • Lecture on the Art Therapy Foundation Course, run under aegis of Chester University. Location: The Lowry Centre. Salford. Art education space. February 28th 2014
  • “Art Therapy in Education”
  • Lecture on the Art Therapy MA course at Chester University. Chester. March 24th 2014
  • “The Doughnut, the Cave and the Door: Environment and Access”
  • Presentation to Masters Art Psychotherapy Trainees – Northern Art Psychotherapy Programme, Sheffield NHS and Leeds Beckett University. February 3rd 2015
  • “School-based Creative Therapeutic Approaches”
  • PhD candidates – Educational psychology. Manchester University. Half day session. June 15th 2015
  • “School-based Creative Therapeutic Approaches”
  • PhD candidates – Educational psychology. Manchester University. Half day session. May 9th 2016
  • "Theory and Practice - a Weaving of warp and weft"
  • Masters Art Psychotherapy Trainees – Northern Art Psychotherapy Programme Sheffield NHS and Leeds Beckett University. 6th June 2017
Professional activities
  • Full member of the British Association of Art Therapists - BAAT
  • Health and Care Professions Council – HCPC. Registration number AS02089