PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Dr Olly Clabburn

10 August 2020

My research interests lie broadly within the field of health, care and well being. As such, I have specific interest in holistic care, family carers, terminal illness, palliative care and bereavement. My PhD research synthesised these interests through investigating the use of digital legacies (video recordings) with people affected by motor neurone disease.

As a qualitative researcher, I have worked on a variety of projects such as developing tools for patients and carers living with motor neurone disease, exploring primary school teachers experiences of food poverty, medical education, social worker mental health, and also service evaluations.

Being a Fellow of the HEA, I have lectured on a variety of health and social care modules, and also led modules focussed upon qualitative research methods.

I am now working as a research associate  at WCCEH on two projects.

The first is in collaboration with We Hear You and is investigating the experiences of how cancer affects couples, and importantly,  the impact of counselling  as a means of psychosocial support for adult relationships. The Lockdown Blues is the second project which is centered upon developing an online scrapbook of people’s experiences of loneliness and isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Simon Benham-Clarke

7 May 2020


I graduated from Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England) with a BSc (Hons) in Systems Design. This led on to a career with Dell Computer Corporation. After 13 years my wife and I decided to relocate with our young family from Surrey to North Devon. I then became a househusband, father and volunteer helping community and citizen groups. Due to a fascination with my children’s development and involvement with the educational settings they attended, as well as my learning from a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics, the importance of education to support well-being throughout the life course was made acutely clear to me. To make an educational contribution I achieved a Certificate in Education at Petroc College of FE and HE and taught a variety of courses and performed personal tutor roles.

To learn more about research in this field I completed an MSc in Educational Research in 2018 at the University of Exeter which has resulted in me being a researcher based in the College of Medicine and Health, but also collaborating with the Graduate School of Education and the Law School.

My broad research interests lie in the promotion of well-being and the prevention and mitigation of mental health difficulties, inequalities and exclusion in society.

Highlights of my research career to date
In my first year as a researcher I am delighted to have worked with many fine scholars and researchers across the University to contribute to the understanding and knowledge of; behaviour management in schools through a systematic literature review for the Education Endowment Foundation; access to HE for disadvantaged groups for the University of Exeter Centre for Social Mobility and Communications, Admissions & Marketing Services; lesson study and related practices for SEN education for the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education; agonism as a framework to navigate tensions in education for the University of Exeter Graduate School of Education. Also to have supported elements of PPI and website design and content development in the National Institute for Health Research funded Children and Adolescents with ADHD in Transition between Children’s and Adult Services (CATCh-uS) research project and data collection for the ERASMUS+ Supporting Practices for Inclusive Schooling & Education for the Youth (SPISEY) project.

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre
Transforming relationships and relationship transitions with and for the next generation.

Something about me you can’t Google!
After listening to David Gower do a talk, he asked my wife and I out for a drink.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Daniele Carrieri

17 July 2019

Daniele is a Research Fellow working on: ‘Care Under Pressure: a realist review of interventions to tackle doctors’ mental ill-health and its impacts on the clinical workforce and patient care’.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Michael Flexer

30 May 2019

I am the the publicly engaged research fellow working on the Wellcome-funded ‘Waiting Times’ project.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Martin Moore

30 May 2019

My work in the centre

I work on the Wellcome-Trust funded project “Waiting Times“, led by Laura Salisbury and Lisa Baraitser. The project is an interdisciplinary exploration of waiting in and for healthcare, asking what it means to wait “now”.

As part of this project, I am writing a history of time and waiting in British general practice under the National Health Service. My work asks how major transformations in the economics, political dynamics and cultural promises of medicine since 1948 have affected the ways that patients and professionals conceptualised, managed and experienced time and forms of suspended temporality in primary care. In so doing, this research complicates existing narratives of the period as characterised predominantly by a growing sense “time pressure”, or an economisation discourse in which time is seen as a limited resource requiring efficient allocation. Instead, it explores the historical plurality of time and temporality in post-war general practice, and articulates the diverse historical meanings associated with waiting for, and in, twentieth century healthcare. For some early thoughts on this work, see here.

From September 2020 I will be a Lecturer in the Centre, researching histories of commuting and wellbeing in post-war Britain. Provisionally titled Commuting Britain, this work will examine how anxieties around commuting’s effects on social and individual wellbeing developed in medical and public discourse between 1945 and the early 2000s, placing such concerns in conversation with the ways that commuters experienced and used their commute as part of their everyday life. It will, I hope, generate new insight into how commuters responded to the changing shape of Britain’s post-war urban environments, and explore how they worked creatively with the time and space of daily travel to address the perceived pathological effects of the city itself.

Academic bio

I gained my PhD in the History of Medicine from the University of Warwick in 2014, writing a thesis on the history of diabetes management in twentieth-century Britain. Following this, I joined the University of Exeter to work with Mark Jackson on his Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, “Lifestyle, health and disease: changing concepts of balance in modern medicine”. My work here traced the shifting models of physiological and emotional balance in diabetes management, and examined the ways in which the pursuit of balance in clinical practice and everyday life both produced – and was in turn remade by – new forms of subjectivity, regulation and social relations. See below for publications.

Something about me you can’t Google (though other search engines are available)

I suffer from a touch of the “Swanson’s” when it comes to the information super-highway, so this is a rather large field… I once mistakenly paid €60 for a melon. And I didn’t even get to eat it. (Thankfully, I have no financial responsibilities for the Waiting Times grant.)




Managing Diabetes, Managing Medicine: Chronic Disease and Clinical Bureaucracy in Post-War Britain, (Manchester University Press, 2019). [Available here] [And here Open Access]

Balancing the Self: Medicine, Politics and the Regulation of Health in the Twentieth Century, edited with Mark Jackson, (Manchester University Press, 2020). [Available here] [And here Open Access]


Articles and Book Chapters

‘Harnessing the Power of Difference: Colonialism and British Chronic Disease Research, 1940-1975’, Social History of Medicine, 29:2, (2016), 384-404. [Available here]

‘Reorganising Chronic Disease Management: Diabetes and Bureaucratic Technologies in Post-War British General Practice’, in Mark Jackson (ed), The Routledge History of Disease, (Routledge, 2017). [See here]

‘Food as Medicine: Diet and Diabetes Management in Twentieth Century Britain’, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 73:2, (2018), 150-67. [Available here]

‘Balance and the “good diabetic” in Britain, c.1900-1960’, in Mark Jackson and Martin D. Moore (eds.), Balancing the Self: Medicine, Politics and the Regulation of Health in the Twentieth Century, edited with Mark Jackson, (Manchester University Press, 2020). [Available here]

‘Historicising “containment and delay”: COVID-19, the NHS and high-risk patients’, Wellcome Open Research, 5:130 (2020) “Waiting in Pandemic Times” Collection. [Available here]

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Amy Jones

15 May 2019


I began my academic journey in 2006, when I studied Sociology and History at undergraduate level, and attained a First Class Honours degree. Following this, I went on to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Education with Masters, training as a secondary school and post-16 History teacher. In 2012, I completed a Masters of Research degree course at Keele University (with Distinction), and subsequently went on to study for a PhD. My research focusessed on the ways in which neoliberalism and the economic recession have affected older people living in a deprived area in Stoke-on-Trent. In October 2018, I became a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Wellcome Centre, working with the Transforming Engagement project.

Highlights of my career to date

– Head of Access Sociology at Newcastle-Under-Lyme College from 2011-2015 and achieved five consecutive grade one observations, including two from Ofsted. The students achieved some of the highest grades in the country.

– Taught various modules to undergraduates at Keele University, such as ‘Sociological Research Methods’, ‘Mediated World’ and ‘Analysing Culture’. Nominated for an ‘Excellent Teaching Award’ in 2016.

– Designed the Sociology undergraduate degree course for Arden University and subsequently became Module Leader for five modules from Level 4 to Level 6, including ‘Introduction to Sociology’, ‘Medicalisation of the Self’, ‘Inequalities in the Modern World’, ‘Consumer Society and the Commodification of Beings’ and ‘Insecurity and Precariousness in the Globalised World’.

– Social Science Editor for the journal Under Construction from 2015-2018.

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

I am part of a research team looking to unearth the ways in which transformative engagement affects  relations between local residents and service providers, and health and well-being, in the low-income area of Stoke-on-Trent. Drawing from the principles of C2 (Connecting Communities) and complexity theory, the aim of this research is to measure (both quantitatively and qualitatively) the extent to which people in areas of deprivation experience feelings of isolation and loneliness, and identify ways to overcome these through community-led initiatives, which will serve to strengthen social bonds, increase access to services and resources, and release the potential in communities. This research ultimately seeks to overcome some of the structural inequalities prevalent in low socio-economic areas, enhance levels of social capital and contribute to improved health and well-being.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Fred Cooper

15 May 2019

I am a research fellow in evidence-based policy, supported by the Strategic Priorities Fund. I am also the lead academic on the Centre’s Beacon project on loneliness, which includes my colleagues Charlotte Jones, Manuela Barreto, and Mark Jackson.

I am also a historian of medicine with interests in loneliness, solitude, alienation, exclusion, culture, gender, the social and psy sciences, and public health. Completed in 2018, my PhD explored the interplay between psychiatric and feminist discourses on women’s care and labour in post-war Britain, as part of the Wellcome-funded project Lifestyle, Health and Disease: Changing Concepts of Balance in Modern Medicine. My current historical research centres on the recent history of loneliness as an object of medical concern.

Current projects:

With Charlotte Jones, I co-founded a student lived experience group on loneliness in 2019. We are now part-way through a creative journalling project on loneliness and Covid-19.

I am leading a policy report for the WHO Regional Office for Europe on the cultural contexts of youth loneliness.

I am a co-investigator on the research project Caring Through Coronavirus, led by Siobhan O’Dwyer at the University of Exeter Medical School.

With Charlotte Jones, Olly Clabburn, Devon Libraries and Exeter Phoenix, I am in the process of developing a UNESCO-funded repository for reflections on isolation in lockdown in Devon and Exeter.

With the playwright Natalie McGrath and Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, I am collaborating on an an original theatre performance, drawing in part on creative exchanges with Centre researchers and LGBTQ+ people with lived experiences of loneliness and isolation.

Recent posts:

Covid-19 and the Loneliness Crisis (Pathologies of Solitude, QMUL).

The post-war adverts that tried to cure lonely women (Wellcome Collection).

Twitter: @drfredcooper

Please feel free to get in touch if there’s anything you’d like to talk about.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Branwyn Poleykett

15 May 2019


Rooted in long-term ethnographic research in Dakar, Senegal, my work is interdisciplinary, drawing on perspectives from medical anthropology, social epidemiology, political ecology and STS to intervene in critical global health. My current research concerns everyday eating and the emergence of cardiovascular diseases in Senegal, examining how economic precarity, chronic disease and food insecurity affects how people in Dakar procure, prepare and share food.

My PhD (LSE, 2012) examined recruitment to transnational medical research in Dakar. This fieldwork stimulated my interest in the ethnographic study of sites of scientific research in Africa. As a postdoctoral fellow with the Anthropologies of African Biosciences research group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the University of Cambridge I developed a project exploring how capacities in science are gained, experienced, and lived through time, and how scientific values are imagined and re-made in contemporary East Africa in the era of Global Health.

From 2014-2018 I worked at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Cambridge as a Research Associate on an ERC-funded project on the visual representation of epidemics. The primary outcome of this post is my book manuscript Lines of Sight: Development, Decolonisation and the Image World of Senegalese Hygiene. The book examines the role images have played in various political and aesthetic projects targeting the body in Senegal. I examine authorised and official public health communication, including educational cinema, television clubs, manuals, murals and video, as well as the Senegalese vernacular tradition of ‘Set’ public art that emerged from the popular ecology movement Set/Setal meaning ‘clean and be clean’.

With Karen Jent at Cambridge I collaborate on Biocircularities, a project on time, technology and the remaking of the life course. I am co-editor of the ‘Think Pieces’ section of the open access journal Medicine, Anthropology, Theory.

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

In 2017 I began conducting ethnographic research, shopping, cooking and eating with families in suburban Dakar. I work with people in households that are characterised by the double burden of malnutrition: the coexistence of multiple forms of malnutrition and diet related NCDs. Rather than experiencing linear epidemiological and nutritional “transition”, Sahelian households are characterised by the coexistence and interaction of malnutrition, food insecurity, and high levels of chronic disease. Rapid transformations in urban food systems, the marketing of high calorie processed food to “bottom of the pyramid” African consumers, shifting taste preferences, the displacement and devaluing of local nutritional knowledge, shrinking dietary diversity, lack of access to micronutrient rich food, and the exposure of West Africa to climate change all play a role in this highly complex context.

My research has focused on the impact of hypertension and diabetes on everyday consumption and care, examining how chronic illness exacerbates and magnifies household food insecurity. Studying urban food systems through the perspective of consumers struggling to nourish relations with varied nutritional needs, my work complicates narratives of nutritional transition and global dietary convergence, showing how people use processed condiments and flavourings to maintain contact with heritage tastes and to produce a locally valued taste profile known as saf.

In close collaboration with Senegalese partners I am currently working to connect everyday consumption in suburban households to other sites: the clinics, wards, farms, markets and laboratories where behavioural, nutritional and agricultural solutions to food insecurity are engineered.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Charlotte Jones

15 May 2019


My main research interests lie in gender, sexuality, disability and health, and particularly the intersections of these areas. I am developing a new project at the Wellcome Centre that will explore new ways of thinking about (in)fertility, time and the life course (see below).

I also work in collaboration with colleagues at the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society at the University of Edinburgh on the relationship between sexuality, activism and biological citizenship in the context of HIV PrEP provision in the UK, and in partnership with the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University on work arising from Around the Toilet, a series of AHRC Connected Communities projects about the politics and accessibility of public toilets.

My doctoral research at the Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield, centred on the theorisation and medicalisation of sex, and explored personal experiences and broader social conceptualisations of intersex/variations in sex characteristics in the UK.

Highlights of my career to date

It’s been a privilege to work on a number of interdisciplinary projects with amazing research teams, who have taught me so much about how to approach political, engaged research with creativity. These projects have offered many highlights, from producing collaborative zines, digital toolkits and comics on the inadequacy of public toilets, to generating guidance for universities on how staff can support survivors of sexual violence.

I particularly loved working collaboratively to produce a short animated film called The Toilet., which was selected for three international film festivals and has been shown at a number of other special events and conferences. It was amazing to see it shown on a big screen. It was also a highlight to see illustrations from the project printed on to toilet rolls (it seemed like the best place for them). In 2016, we won the NCPPE Engage Award in the Arts, Humanities and Social Science category. 

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

I am developing a new collaborative project at the Wellcome Centre called ‘Reprofutures’, which will explore (in)fertility from a life course perspective. Drawing on my previous research, I will be focusing on experiences of infertility and other reproductive barriers that occur alongside variations of sex characteristics/intersex traits, raising important questions about autonomy, support and temporality.

This project will contribute to ideas about healthcare and the life course, asking how normative development narratives and perceptions of embodied ‘timeliness’ or synchronicity influence our ways of understanding in/fertility. I will consider the role of time and diagnosis in forming reproductive ideals and visions of futurity, and ways of troubling predictability, linearity and continuity.

I am also contributing to one of the Centre’s Beacon projects, Loneliness and Community, and continuing cross-institutional projects in Edinburgh and Sheffield.


Research collaboration team:
Charlotte Jones (principal investigator)
Rachel Purtell (engagement facilitator)
Anis Akhtar
Paul Dutton, Klinefelter’s Syndrome Association UK (KSA UK)
Sara Gillingham
Magda Rakita, intersex activist
Tabitha Taya, founder of LivingMRKH (Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser)
Kaz Williams, adult support coordinator of the CAH (congenital adrenal hyperplasia) support group, part of Living with CAH
Alex Woodward
We are also joined by a number of other valued collaborators who have chosen not to be named.

Our research addresses the reproductive, fertility, relationships and parenting concerns of people with variations in sex characteristics (VSCs). This engaged research project brings together people with direct experience of VSCs, support group facilitators, activists, and campaigners, to draw on a range of expertise and recommend how reproductive information and support can be improved for people with VSCs in the UK.

Since November 2019, the collaboration team have been working together to plan the shape of this research. In the next stage, members of the team will participate in a series of written activities and co-design workshops across four key areas of support which have been identified collectively. The reflections and proposals presented at these workshops will be developed into a guidance document (currently referred to as our ‘support manifesto’). We will then share the manifesto with members of selected VSC support groups for further input, discussion and consultation, adapting and developing the document in collaboration.

Through our support manifesto, we hope to imagine how a different and better world can be created for people with experience of VSCs, and to highlight reproductive concerns as a key area for improvement in healthcare, policy and everyday relationships. This work is funded by the WCCEH and the Engaged Research Exploratory Awards.

PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Lorraine Hansford

15 May 2019


I have worked as a researcher at the University of Exeter Medical School for eight years, most recently on the DeStress Project, examining the medicalisation of distress in low-income communities. Working with partner organisations and individual people in two low-income areas, the study explored how moral narratives (relating to individual responsibility and welfare entitlement) affect healthcare decisions, prescribing practice and experiences of health and well-being. Previously, I worked in the child mental health team on various projects including looking at parenting support and adolescent self-harm.

My first degree (a lifetime ago) was in English and Education. I then completed a post-graduate Diploma in Youth and Community Work and worked for 17 years with a wide range of young people and families in different settings (youth clubs and detached work, a hostel, women’s refuge, community projects) in Manchester, London and the South West. After moving into management and evaluation roles I then worked as a freelance consultant helping local authorities and voluntary sector organisations with service evaluations, reviews and policy development, and worked as an Additional Inspector for Youth Services with Ofsted.

After completing an MSc in Educational Research I moved into research; my interest is in health inequalities and in engaged approach working alongside communities and individuals to better understand the complex issues affecting health and well-being.

Highlights of my career to date

I’m proud to have been involved in the DeStress project, a collaboration between researchers, local residents, health practitioners, policy makers and local organisations which has resulted in the co-creation of training materials for GPs to help them better understand and support people experiencing poverty-related mental distress.

Emerging partly from this project, Dr Felicity Thomas and I have been awarded two Engaged Research Exploratory Awards; the first was working in partnership with Barnardo’s and with local families to look at Plymouth’s Child Poverty Action Plan, and to create a forum for parents to suggest what should be the key issues to be addressed. This led to us securing a larger ESRC Impact Acceleration Award, to work with local parents to ensure they had a voice in developing and improving local Early Help services for families.

For the second Engaged Research Award we worked with three cancer counselling charities to explore why people from low income communities don’t tend to access their services; the findings from this led to my current interest in inequalities in access to end of life care. I have now been awarded further funding to work in partnership with hospices in Exeter and Plymouth, and other interested organisations and people, to begin to frame key research questions

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

The Checking Out project will focus on inequalities in access to end of life care, using narrative approaches to advance understanding of the ways in which end of life care services may be failing to meet the needs of those living on a very low income. The research will explore the notion of ‘a good death’, working in partnership with community organisations, health practitioners and those with lived experience to sensitively explore the ways that individuals talk about and experience terminal illness and dying.

By critically analysing issues of class and culture in relation to death, the project aims to understand the ways in which fear, stigma and trust impact on communication and relations (between patients, carers, families, social networks, healthcare professionals and organisations) and the impact of illness and bereavement on identity within social networks. It will explore possibilities for new ways of introducing and talking about death in communities that can transform understanding, awareness and access to end of life care.


PEOPLE – Research Fellows

Lara Choksey

15 May 2019


I’m working on “Postgenomic Environments”: a project which brings literary and cultural studies approaches to questions of health, care, community, and environment in the genomic and postgenomic eras, as well as looking at uses of precision genomic medicine locally, nationally, and globally. I received my PhD in English and Comparative Literary Studies in 2017 from the University of Warwick, and I have an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths College, London (2011), and a BA in English from the University of Leeds (2010). I’m currently writing my first monograph, Narrative in the Age of the Genome: Genetic Worlds, under contract with Bloomsbury.

Before my PhD, I worked as a journalist in India, writing on urban development, crime, and health for the Statesman newspaper in Kolkata. Lots of the questions I work on now around environment, public health, and government policy came out of stories I covered there. I’m also a member of the Global Warwickshire Collective, a group of academics and community activists exploring methods of investigating local histories with descendants of the Windrush generation in the Midlands.

The research I will be undertaking in the Centre

At the Centre, I’m working on speculative methods of approaching new (and old) narratives of complexity, interdependence, and influence, via current work on epigenetics and the microbiome. A particular interest I have is in the relationship between possible and speculative practices of precision genomic healthcare, and postgenomic research on environmental and non-genealogical influences on genetic expression. What new narratives does postgenomic era yield for the ways we consider and carry out care within and between communities, and how is this new paradigm registered through shifting conceptions of “community” and “environment”? I’m looking forward to drawing the vast range of methodological expertise at the Centre into collaborations in and out of the university on postgenomic narratives, attending to how the idea of the genome continues to shape the imaginative possibilities of lifeworlds in policy and practice.

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