We have had a paper accepted at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy World Congress, in Cape Town, South Africa, May 2018


Preparation for an uncertain world: international curriculum development for mental health occupational therapy

Wimpenny, K., Gordon. I., Lewis, L., Roe, S., Desiron, H. & Hwei Lan Tan


Occupational therapy graduates are entering increasingly complex practice landscapes. Supported by funding from the Thelma Cardwell Research Foundation, WFOT, an international, online learning module involving four countries (UK, South Africa, Belgium, Singapore) was developed and researched with the aim to improve graduates’ preparedness for practice. The project offered undergraduates the opportunity to explore a globalised picture of mental health practice, pedagogically designed, to encourage students to critically reflect, engage in problem-solving, develop culturally-sensitive services, take calculated risks, and consider ways and means of extending professional reach.


The paper will:

  1. Detail the research process and present the study findings with recommendations for curriculum development.
  2. Discuss how a richer understanding of occupational therapy in other contexts, including enhancement of students’ intercultural sensitivity and critical self-reflection, equips students to deal with greater levels of complexity in their practice.


Using an Open Moodle platform, 215 final year occupational therapy students engaged in an online discussion forum, drawing on complex scenarios donated by graduate therapists. Case study methodology and mixed methods were used to explore student and staff perspectives about the learning experience.


The study revealed significant increases in intercultural sensitivity amongst students measured pre-and post-project, alongside numerous challenges in engagement for both staff and students. Findings from the study provide opportunity to compare work contexts and pedagogic responses.


Augmented learning opportunities within the curriculum are vital to equip graduates with enhanced agency, and greater resilience for managing complexity to inform the professions role in mental health practices.



I went to The Hague University of Applied Sciences 19th & 20th September, 2017,  with colleagues for ‘The Development of Lecturers: The Missing Link in Internationalisation’ conference.


‘Supporting Academics to Design and Deliver Virtual Exchanges: A research design proposal’

Authors: Daniel Villar-Onrubia, DMLL, Coventry University, UK, and Katherine Wimpenny, Research Centre for Global Education, Coventry University, UK.

Collaborative OnLine International Learning, referred to hereafter as virtual student exchange, is an emerging practice that is gaining importance as a tool to internationalise home curricula. Lecturers need special skills to appreciate / understand which educational, cultural and language related processes are at work in on line collaboration virtual exchange between students. How do lecturers collaborate to facilitate online interactions between students? Which forms of training for designing and facilitating virtual student exchange have been found effective?


This paper shares some preliminary analysis of data collected from examples of virtual exchange evaluated at Coventry University and presents a research design that could help shed light on the key attributes that academics facilitating virtual exchanges need to have and how institutions can build that capacity. The proposed study aims to generate findings that could be relevant for theory-building purposes – in both the field of IoC and educational technology – as well as have important practical implications for institutions wanting to support their staff by means of academic development opportunities and other mechanisms.


I presented a paper at the BERA Conference this year as part of the Creativity and pedagogy SIG, 5 – 7th September, University of Sussex

Abstract accepted:

A/R/Tography and managing uncertainty through creative learning

The current climate of assessment and performativity works against opportunities for students in higher education to explore their creativity, an essential element of education, not only for engaging students in their learning but also, as evidenced by the literature, in preparing graduates for complexity. This paper will present research findings from projects conducted over the last two years exploring different approaches to creative pedagogies, involving alternative, imaginative ways, to challenge, evoke, provoke and capture learners’ attention, whilst equipping graduates to manage uncertainty.

Specifically I will present A/R/Tography (Springgay, Irwin et al., 2005)[1] whereby Artist, Researcher and Teacher perspectives weave together in partnership with students, through problem-posing, curiosity, exploration and artistic creativity. Four projects will be shared, their overarching aims being:

  1. Engaging with students as active learners, to understand and make sense of complex disciplinary subject material through artistic and creative processes, to heighten self-esteem and skills for living and working in complex, messy, real-world situations.
  2. Encouraging academics out-with the arts disciplines, to explore creative inter-disciplinary pedagogy alongside their subject expertise.


[1] S. Springgay, R. L. Irwin, C. Leggo & P. Gouzouasis (2005) (Eds.) Being with A/r/tography. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.


I recently presented a paper with colleagues at the Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference and Exchange in Bristol, 19 – 23 June, 2017.

Abstracts accepted:

Making drama accessible to the 50+ community

This paper reports on the evaluation conducted by researchers at Coventry University, of Year 1 of a drama for health programme for people aged 50+ that is taking place at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry in 2016-2017. It places attention to a particular strand of the programme being tailored to meet the needs of people living with memory impairments and/ or early stage dementia. By examining this strand, the purpose of the paper is to show (1) how theatre and drama activities may yield new insights into supporting a person with dementia; (2) how people with dementia and their carers experience the significance of the theatre within their own lives. The paper will examine how drama activities appeal to participants’ creativity and imagination and, in doing so, stimulates cognitive and communicative functions, whilst reducing feelings of isolation and depression.

Wimpenny, K., Charitonos, K. , S., Williams, A., Cole, N. (2017) The Belgrade’s Arts Gymnasium Project: Making drama accessible to the 50+ community, Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference and Exchange, 19–23 Jun 2017


A further paper accepted was ‘Films to Make You Feel Good’

Phoenix Independent Cinema and Arts Centre commissioned researchers in the DMLL, Coventry University, to conduct a research project alongside a new strand of Phoenix’s Community Cinema Programming, Films to Make You Feel Good (FTMYFG). The mobile cinema programme, showing uplifting films at matinee events, was delivered between October 2015 and June 2016 at community venues in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, and specifically targeted elderly and vulnerable people. Funding was received from the Film Hub Central East and Public Health.

The research question was: “How might the screening of afternoon films attract new audiences to community cinema screenings, including people who are lonely or marginalised, to help enhance wellbeing, to uplift and inspire”

This paper will present how the following evaluation aims were addressed:

  1. To understand the benefits of participants attending FTMYFG events, in particular responses to film screenings and their ability to uplift, inspire and impact wellbeing.
  2. To examine how film can connect people with members of their community
  3. To understand best practice when delivering community arts programmes which address the needs of new, harder to reach audiences
  4. To explore higher education undergraduate students’ opportunities to engage with arts/health projects

Wimpenny, K. & Varnam, S. (2017) Films to Make You Feel Good, Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference and Exchange, 19–23 Jun 2017

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