Deirdre McConnell

Contact

Deirdre McConnelld mcconnell profile picture

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

Supervisors

Brendan Stone, Tom Billington, Chris Wood & David Forrest

Research interests

School-based Art Therapy; Narratives; Creativity; Social, Emotional well-being and Mental Health; Trauma; Critical Psychology; Art-based Research.

Contact

dmcconnell@sheffield.ac.uk

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

Professional associations

Full member of the British Association of Art Therapists - BAAT
Health and Care Professions Council – HCPC. Registration number AS02089

Publications and Papers

“The Dome and the Cave: Safe Enough Spaces for Creativity – a study of how a project sustained itself through economic crisis”
MA Dissertation, Leeds Metropolitan University (Unpublished) 2012

“Creative Interventions – Working with Trauma. Assessing change - in clients, in systems” Paper presented at ‘Sharing Best Practice in Assessment in the Arts Therapies’ Conference 2008
conference organised by the Scottish Arts Therapies Forum and NHS Quality Improvement, Edinburgh, Scotland.

”The Tamil People’s Right to self-Determination” *
Article published in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 21 (1): 59-76. Routledge, UK. 2008

“Crossing Bridges of Difference… Witnessing and celebrating”
Peer reviewed paper, Art Therapy Race and Culture - BAAT conference workshop (event postponed) 2007

“Art Therapy – Dynamic traces of gesture”
Paper presented at conference on the Arts and Disabilities, University of Lodz, Poland 2006

Presentations/ Workshops From 2013

“Creative ways of working with challenging behaviours”
SENCO conference, Health Training and Development Centre, Halifax. Workshop. March 14th 2013

“The internal world of the child: working with imagination to support emotional wellbeing in school”
SENCO conference: ‘Putting Children First, supporting children to succeed’. Etihad Stadium, Manchester . Workshop. April 17th 2013

“The needs of refugee children in schools”
Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture (now renamed Freedom from Torture) Presentation on Open day, in capacity as adviser to the Children and Young People’s work of the charity. 22nd January 2014

“Adapting to a changing work landscape” Speaker at the AGM of the British Association of Art Therapists – BAAT. London Resource Centre, Holloway Road, London. May 10th 2014

“Art Therapeutic Skills for YOT workers”
Merseyside Youth Offending Team – YOT, Sefton, Liverpool. Devised and delivered two full days of workshops and training. 2014

“Creativity for Learning, growth and emotional health. How creativity and the arts therapies can help traumatized children” Chinese Head-teachers visit from Bejing. Talk and workshop at Universal Square, Manchester. November 20th 2014

“Supporting traumatized children in the classroom”
Safeguarding conference – workshop - Etihad Stadium, Manchester. 2015

“Engaging children in decision-making”
SENCO conference – workshop – Etihad Stadium, Manchester. 2015

“Helping children express the unutterable: The continuum of school-based early interventions from Social and emotional Learning – SEL – to Behaviour and mental Health.”
National Exhibition Centre - Birmingham. The Education Show. March 20th. 2015

“Art Therapy in Education”
Lecture on the Art Therapy Foundation Course, run by the British Association of art Therapists - BAAT. Location: Manchester Art Gallery. Art education space. July 22nd 2015

“Working creatively with ourselves and with children who have unmet emotional needs”
Whole school Full-day training for 60 members of staff at Fairfield Primary, Widnes. September 2nd 2015

“Getting started – I want to work in schools: Skills for Practice training for Northern BAAT members”
Delivered with colleague Gillian Cowling, for British Association of Art Therapists - BAAT Mechanics Institute, Manchester City Centre. Sept 26th. 2015

“I want to thrive not just survive: Working with refugee children in schools in holistic and compassionate ways”
English as an Additional Language - Annual conference – One Community. Delivered with colleague. Nov 26th. 2015

“Safeguarding in educational settings: Skills for Practice training for Northern BAAT members”
Delivered with colleague, Andy Comley, for British Association of Art Therapists - BAAT. Mechanics Institute, Manchester City Centre. 5th December 2015

“School-based therapeutic interventions: Research and evidence ”
Led One Education full-day training delivered with team members. Universal Square. January 12th. 2016

“Case Study: Multi-modal Approaches – Introduction to One Education”
Presentation at the First Northern Region Art’s Therapy Conference. Middlethorpe Hall Conference centre, York. April 23rd and 24th 2016

“Meeting the emotional needs of international new arrivals / refugee pupils”
NASSEA – conference talk and workshop. Friends Meeting House. Central Manchester. May 20th. 2016

“I want to thrive not just survive: working with vulnerable children and young people in holistic and compassionate ways” Social Work PROTECT team, Greenheys Police Station. June 7th. 2016

“Introduction to children’s mental health and emotional well-being needs”
Whole school staff twilight INSET training. Oswald Road Primary school. September 14th 2016

“Support for traumatized children in school – Using creative approaches”
Experiential interactive workshop at safeguarding conference – AJ Bell Stadium, Eccles. January 26th. 2017

“Addressing the wellbeing and mental health needs of refugee children and young people” CAMHS specialist full-day workshop for tier 1 workers. Co-ordinated training team & jointly led training, Feb 7th 2017

Northern Association for Support Service for Equality and Achievement
Speaker at Conference, Friends Meeting House, Manchester 9th June 2017

“Therapist as Witness - Where Daemons tread"
Presentation at the Second Northern East Arts Therapies Conference. Middlethorpe Hall Conference centre, York. June 17th and 18th 2017

University Teaching

“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