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PhD projects

Writing as inquiry, collaborative writing as inquiry, or autoethnography ('assemblage/ethnography')<br/>Deleuze and Guattari<br/>Post-structural, post-humanist, new materialist, and 'post-qualitative' inquiries<br/>The experience of loss<br/>The therapeutic encounter<br/>

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Personal profile


I have taken a circuitous route to being here. I was originally an English teacher and youth worker before moving into counselling, staff development and training. I trained as a counsellor at the Isis Centre, Oxford, and worked for ten years as a counsellor in primary care; and was Head of Professional Development at the University of Oxford alongside my NHS counselling role.

I completed my doctorate at Bristol (supervised by the wonderful Jane Speedy) in 2009, with a thesis (co-authored with Ken Gale) about Deleuze and collaborative writing that became a book, Between the two: A nomadic inquiry into collaborative writing and subjectivity. I am an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, and a member of the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry, the Arts and Narrative Inquiry Network at Bristol and the Centre for Arts Therapies Research, Roehampton. I chair the committee of the annual ICQI Qualitative Book Award

I am director of the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry

My research in a nutshell

My research examines the entanglement of self and other within and beyond the therapeutic encounter; and it troubles what we mean by ‘self’ and ‘other’. I undertake this research through autoethnography (or, better, 'assemblage/ethnography'), collaborative writing as inquiry, and, latterly, through bringing these together with performance, including stand-up comedy, dance/movement, and film. My work connects the dots between collaborative inquiry in the context of research and collaborative inquiry in the context of therapy, searching for – and doubting – the transformative resources in each.

I grapple with the ethics of what is mine to tell: how to write stories of, for example, the therapist - but also client, son, partner, father, brother, friend, colleague - ‘becoming’ in relationship with the human, material, and more-than-human other. I'm working at an approach to theorizing experiential accounts without depersonalizing them.

My research examines the links between research and therapeutic practice, provides exemplars to write with and against, and makes explicit some methodological possibilities and limitations.

Current Research Interests

I am working on a new book project, 'Writing, the Everyday, and Creative-Relational Inquiry', to be published by Routledge in 2023 or 2024, that will explore how the everyday is not (only) mundane but replete with possibility, not (only) a given but riven with politics and contingencies, not (only) prosaic but imbued with the poetic. To some extent this new book will build upon a previous book, also published by Routledge, 'Therapy, Stand-up, and the Gesture of Writing: Towards Creative-Relational Inquiry', reviewed by Nini FangTatiana Chemi, and Dave Clarke, which won the 2020 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Book Award. I made a few forays into stand-up, some more successful than others, in Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle, mostly as part of 'Bright Club' - an occasional evening of academics doing stand-up about their research.   

Both books and my other work puts theory - Deleuze and Guattari, poststructural, new materialist, and affect theory - to work through, with and against 'assemblage/ethnography', (collaborative) writing as inquiry and other embodied practices.

I am involved in a number of research collaborations: with Karen Serra (Edinburgh) on post- and de-colonial challenges to the new materialisms and posthumanism; with Fiona Murray (Edinburgh) on creative-relational inquiry; with Ken Gale (Plymouth) in a continuation of our work on Deleuzian collaborative inquiry; and with Keith Tudor (Auckland University of Technology) on an edited book project, 'Qualitative Research Approaches for Psychotherapy: Reflexivity, Methodology, Criticality', published by Routledge in July 2023.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Education, Between the two: a nomadic inquiry into collaborative writing and subjectivity, University of Bristol

Award Date: 1 Jan 2008

External positions

Member of editorial board, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research journal, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (mBACP), Leicestershire, UK

2016 → …

Board member, CRUSE Bereavement Care Scotland



  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Narrative
  • Deleuze
  • Loss
  • Autoethnography
  • Poststructuralism
  • Counselling
  • Psychotherapy


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