Persephone Sextou

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Happiness then, is found to be something perfect and self-sufficient, being the end to which our actions are directed.
Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

Biography

Professor Persephone Sextou holds a PhD from Goldsmiths University of London and previous to that an MA with Lancaster University and a BA (hons) from the University of Ioannina in Greece. She is a Professor of Applied Theatre for Health and Wellbeing at Newman University Birmingham (UK), and the Founder and Director of the Community & Applied Drama Laboratory (CADLab), a research hub for theatre and child wellbeing (HEFCE and UnLtd. grant). She is the leader of Theatre for Children in Hospitals internationally with over 25 years of academic experience and leadership of applied theatre projects in the UK, Europe and Australia. Persephone’s book ‘Theatre for Children in Hospital. The Gift of Compassion’ (2016) has gained appraising reviews. Her research is cited in influential reports about the benefits of Arts for Health (i.e. WHO World Health Organisation Review 2019; The Y Connect Project Report Australia 2019; All-Party parliamentary Group on Arts, health and Wellbeing-Inquiry Report 2017 etc). In response to Covid-19, she has been using funding from The Lottery Fund and BBC CiN to create innovative child-focused ‘Rocket-Arts’ storytelling E-Resources to help sick and injured children in Birmingham Children’s Hospital to get through the extraordinary times we are living in. She works in partnership with the NHS and J. Brindley Academies and she is member of the Arts Steering Group within BCH NHS contributing to policy. Persephone is also Adjunct Research Fellow and External Examiner of PG theses in the Griffith University’s Centre for Social and Cultural Research in Australia. She is collaborating with NSW Sydney University on ‘Future Stories’ an innovative inter-disciplinary project that combines VR Technology with the Arts at Children’s Hospital Queensland. Persephone is currently writing her new book “Applied Theatre in Hospitals. Children, Stories and Synergy of Emotions” (Routledge).

Profile

Research Interests

Professor Sextou welcomes PhD students in the wider field of Applied Theatre and more specifically in relation to Healthcare, Wellbeing and Education (i.e. Theatre and illness, theatre for children and young people in hospital and palliative care; theatre for the elderly in care homes, and theatre and immersive storytelling). She is currently leading grants from The Lottery Community Fund and BBC Children in Need to research the impact of ‘Rocket-Arts’, a specially-developed bedside performance with digital technologies for children in hospitals in England.

Teaching

Prof Persephone Sextou teaches various theoretical and practical aspects of Applied Theatre with focus on educational, health and wellbeing concepts, practices, contexts and environments.

She is PhD supervisor with Liverpool Hope University. She is currently supervising two PhD theses: ‘Applied Theatre practices in residential care homes: Can they effect the social wellbeing of residents in care homes in Wales?’ and ‘An investigation into the personal experiences of theatre practice and disability among professional directors and disabled actors in theatres funded by Arts Council England from 2015-2018’.

Administrative Responsibilities

Member of the Research Committee
Research Director of the Community & Applied Drama Laboratory (CADLab)
Founding member of the Newman Humanities Research Centre
Member of Validation Panels (UG and MA programmes)
Member of the Moderation Approval Panel
Member of the Editorial Board of Critical Commentary

Membership of Professional Organisations

The Rockefeller Foundation

International Drama & Education Association (IDEA)

Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA)

International Universities Association (IUTA)

Medical Humanities Association

Arts in Society Community of Scholars

International Health Humanities Network

The National Research in Arts and Health Network

Creative Arts Therapies and Neuroscience

Consultancy

Culture, Health and Wellbeing Alliance, West Midlands

Arts Steering Group Birmingham Women and Children’s Foundation NHS Trust

Editorials

Editorial board member for Arts & Health Journal (0.65, 10 H-Index)

Editorial board member for Applied Theatre Research Journal (0.1, 1 H-Index)

Co-Editor of the double special issue ‘Applied Puppetry in Health’, Applied Arts and Health Journal, (2020), 11;1&2.

Associate Editor of the Arts in Society Journals, Common Ground Publishing, USA.

Peer-review Board for Research in Drama Education (0.219 9H—Index), Drama Research, and Palgrave McMillan Publisher, NY.

Other Activities

Conferences and Other Research Activity

Keynote speeches

‘Theatre for Children in Hospital. The impact of intimate theatre performance on children’s hospital and hospice experiences in the UK’ 10th Annual International Arts and Health Conference, NSW, Australia. 2018

‘Theatre for children in hospital: Enhancing child well-being’ followed by a workshop titled ‘Hospital space as stage: Applied Theatre, children, bedtime stories and puppets’ Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane, Australia. 2018

‘Theatre in hospital: children, puppets and synergy’ Broken Puppet Symposium 1, University of Cork, Ireland in conjunction with UNIMA. 2017

‘Theatre for children in hospital. A political act’, VIII Festiwalu Akcept organised by Gdanski Archipelag Kultury. 2017

‘Applied Theatre, Health & Wellbeing; theatre in the service of vulnerable children’ VII Festiwalu Akcept organised by the University of Gdansk Institute of Education. 2016

‘The Negotiation of Mental illness in Applied Theatre and Ethics’ Negotiating Space for (Dis)ability in Drama, Theatre, Film and Media Conference, University of Lodz. 2015

International Conference presentations

‘Emotional related skills for Applied Theatre Practitioners performing in Health Care context: A qualitative approach’, poster presentation, 33rd Annual Conference of the European Health Psychology Society, Croatia. 2019

‘Puppetry: Community, Health, Well-being and Disability: Professional Training Opportunities’, Broken Puppet 3 International Symposium, Newman University with UNIMA Research Commission. 2019

‘The Applied Theatre practitioner in Healthcare: training, education and development’, Culture, Health and Wellbeing International Conference 2017, Bristol. 2017

‘Theatre for children in hospital and compassion: Enhancing child well-being’, Health Humanities and Arts in Health International Symposium, University of Derby. 2017‘

Applied Theatre and Healthcare: Performing within illness in clinical settings’ Eleventh International Conference on The Arts in Society Los Angeles, USA. 2016

‘Theatre for children in hospitals: involving undergraduate drama students in research as co-participants’, Art as Research in Learning & Teaching International Conference, University of Wolverhampton. 2016

‘Spending childhood in hospital: Performance, stories and wellbeing gifts’ Children and Childhoods Biennial International Conference, University of Suffolk, Ipswich. 2015

Older presentations at international conferences are available upon request

National Conference presentations

‘Performing arts and health. The pros and cons of inter-disciplinary impact’, Midlands Universities Impact Group, University of Wolverhampton. 2020

‘Applied Theatre and puppetry in child healthcare: objects, care and training’, TaPRA Applied and Social Theatre Working Group interim event, Northern Ireland. 2018

‘Applied Theatre for children in hospital: A Mixed research methodology’, The Cathedral’s Group Arts in Health & Wellbeing Initiative: follow-up action on Research to PG students at the University of St. Davis in Swansea Wales. 2017

‘Bird Island Hospital theatre’, a performance with a post-show talk, The Cathedral’s Group Arts in Health & Wellbeing Initiative, Newman University. 2017

‘Applied Theatre research in child healthcare: mixed methods of examining the experience of a child’s hospital life through the art form’, Troubling Research Conference. 2016

‘Theatre as research in clinical settings; adopting a mixed-method’, Intersections Conference “Practice (…) Research”, investigating the blurring boundaries of the practicing researcher. Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. 2016

‘Breathing with Love’: Theatre for children in hospital’, ‘Social Inequalities and cultural differences’ Annual Learning and Teaching Conference, Newman University. 2015

Conference Organiser

The Broken Puppet 3 International Symposium on ‘Puppetry: Community, Health, Well- being and Disability: Professional Training Opportunities’ in conjunction with UNIMA at Newman University https://bit.ly/2Htubf1 2019

The Cathedrals Group Conference on ‘Arts, Health and Wellbeing’ at Newman University. https://youtu.be/jKaLIbHZihI 2017

Publications

Peer-reviewed articles

Sextou, P., Karypidou, A. and Kourtidou-Sextou, E. (2020), ‘Applied theatre, puppetry and emotional skills in healthcare: A cross-disciplinary pedagogical framework’, Applied Theatre Research, 8:1,1, pp. 89-105.

Fisher, E., Astles, C., Purcell-Gates, L. and Sextou, P. (Eds.) (2020) ‘Applied Arts and Health on Puppetry, Object theatre and Health, Wellbeing and Disability’, Journal of Applied Arts and Health, Double Volume 11:1&2, pp. 3-13.

Sextou, P. and Rolston, W. (2020), ‘Exploring methods of training the actor/puppeteer in healthcare: a Socratic dialogue’, Applied Arts and Health Journal, 11;1,2, pp: 171-176.

Sextou, P. and Karypidou, A. (2018), ‘What does the actor need to perform in health care? Emotional demands, skills and competences’, Applied Theatre Research, 6:2, pp. 107-19, doi: 10.1386/art.6.2.107_1

Patterson, P. and Sextou, P. (2017), ‘Trapped in the Labyrinth’ – the use of symbolism, time and aesthetic distance in exploring the impact of mental illness through theatre’, Medical Humanities, 43:2, pp. 86-91, doi: 10.1136/medhum-2016-011094

Sextou, C. and Smith, C. (2017), ‘Drama is for Life! Recreational drama activities for the elderly in the UK’. Text matters A Journal of Literature, Theory and Culture, 7:7, pp. 273-290, doi: https://doi.org/10.1515/texmat-2017-0015

Sextou, P. and Hall, S. (2015), ‘Theatre & Community: Bedside theatre promoting child wellbeing in cardiac and cancer units’, Applied Theatre Research, 3:1, pp. 67-84.

Sextou, P. & Patterson, P. (2014), ‘Theatre, Stigma and Society: Mental illness on stage’, The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, 9:1, pp.1-10.

Sextou, P. and Trotman. D. (2013), ‘Devised Drama, Shakespeare and Creativity; Practical work on Othello’s Pathos’, The International Journal of the Arts in Education, A section of the Journal of the Arts in Society, 7:1, pp.47-56.

Sextou, P. and Monk, C. (2013), ‘Bedside theatre and its effects on hospitalised children’s wellbeing’, Arts & Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, 5:1, pp. 81-88. Doi: 10.1080/17533015.2012.712979

Sextou, P. (2012), ‘Devising monologues on domestic violence for the development of inter-professional training and community support services’, Drama Research Journal, Available at: http://www.dramaresearch.co.uk/journal/

Sextou, P. (2011), ‘The Pedagogy of Drama Supervision in Higher Education’, Brookes e Journal of Learning and Teaching (BEJLT), 3:1. Available at: http://bejlt.brookes.ac.uk/article/the_pedagogy_of_drama_supervision_in_higher_education/

Sextou, P. (2011), ‘Drama Tickles Student Imagination and Verbal Expression’. In Coreil, C. (ed.) ‘The ‘X’ Point in Education: Where Imagination is Lost’, The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning, 9, pp. 225-231.

Sextou, P. (2008), ‘Anorexia and Teenagers; Applied Theatre and Health Education’, National Drama, 15:2, pp. 20-24.

Sextou, P. (2006), ‘A Theatre-in-Education Study of Multicultural Understanding in Hellas’, Youth Theatre Journal, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, 20, pp. 77-94.

Sextou, P. (2005), ‘A Respond to “Educational Research Through Drama; presenting data and beyond’, Research in Drama Education, 10:1, pp. 74-80.

Sextou, P. (2005), ‘The Cocoa Smell Programme. Drama and social inclusion in primary schools’, National Drama, 13:1, pp. 13-18.

Sextou, P. (2003), ‘Theatre in Education in Britain: Current Practice and Future Potential’, New Theatre Quarterly (NTQ 74), XIX:2, pp. 177-188.

Sextou, P. (2002), ‘Drama Teacher Training in Greece: A survey of attitudes of teachers towards drama teachers’, Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research and Pedagogy, 28:2, pp. 123-13.

Monographs

Sextou, P. (2016), Theatre for Children in Hospitals. The Gift of Compassion. Bristol & New York: Intellect.

Sextou, P. (2010), (5th edition) Dramatisation; The teacher-facilitator’s book, Athens: Kastanioti. (in Greek)

Sextou, P. (2007), Applied theatre in primary secondary and elementary education, Athens: Kastanioti. (in Greek)

Sextou, P. (2005), Theatre-in-Education programmes in schools, Athens: Metaixmio (my Ph.D. translated in Greek)

Book chapters

Sextou, P. (2011), ‘Theatre for children in hospitals’. In Schonmann, S. (ed.) Key Concepts in Theatre/Drama Education. The Netherlands: The SENSE publishers, pp. 313-318.

Sextou, P. (2006), ‘Drama’s contribution in Evaluating Creative Writing; a Survey’. In Kakana, D. Botsoglou, K. Haniotakis, K. & Kavalari, E. (eds.) Evaluating Education; Educational and Teaching Approach, Thessaloniki: Kiriakidis, pp. 663-672 (in Greek).

Sextou, P. (2004), ‘Theatre and social learning in schools: Preparing active citizens. In Govas, N. (ed.) Metamorphosis and Creativity, Athens: Metaixmio, pp. 177-184 (in Greek).

Sextou, P. (2003) ‘Greek examples of theatre practice that could serve the introduction of Theatre-in-Education (TiE) to Greece’. In Govas, N. (ed.) Building Bridges, Athens: Metaixmio, pp. 171-179 (in Greek).

Sextou, P. (2003), ‘The Shadow Technique and its Magical world in Theatre and in Education’. In Anagnostopoulos, V. (ed.) Shadow Theatre and Education, Athens: Kastaniotis, pp. 155-165 (in Greek).

Sextou, P. (2002), ‘Theatre Plays for Children and Young People: a wonderful ‘canvas’ for School Drama and School Plays’. In Roilou, J. & Kalogeropoulou, X. (eds.) Theatre for Children 2: Theatre and School, Athens: Theatre Centre for Children and Young People, pp. 198-201 (in Greek).

Sextou, P. (2001), ‘Theatre Education: Theoretical and practical in-service training for pre-school and primary teachers.’ In Xohellis (ed.) Long-life Learning: Athens: Atrapos, pp. 481-492 (in Greek).

Reports

Sextou, P. (2019), ‘Report on Broken Puppet 3 International Symposium on Puppetry: Community, Health, Well-being and Disability: Professional Training Opportunities’. Available at: https://www.newman.ac.uk/knowledge-base/cadlab/

Clift, S. & Sextou, P. (2017), ‘Report on a Cathedrals Group Conference on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.  Available at: https://www.newman.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2018/01/Cathedrals-Group-Conference-Report.pdf

Children’s Books and films as research tools

Sextou, P. (2020), CADlab Rocket-Arts E-resources: ‘Simba and the Space Cave’, ‘Simba’s Dream’ and ‘Welcome to Rocketarts online!’. Available at: https://www.newman.ac.uk/knowledge-base/cadlab/

Sextou, P. (2018), Lollie the rough collie and the magic kiss, Birmingham: Tulleys Print Ltd. (1,000 copies). Funded by The Grimmitt Trust.  Also published on line by The Letterpress Project (2019). Available at: https://bit.ly/3bKsqs4

Sextou, P. (2007-2009), ‘88 Oak Trees and 1000 anemonesTheatre-in-Education pack, Thessaloniki: National Theatre of Northern Greece (3,000 copies). Funded by the Hellenic Ministries of Education and Culture.

Media publicity

Brindley Academies website: https://www.jamesbrindley.org.uk/page/?title=Rocket%2DArts&pid=1416&action=saved

Broken Puppet 3 Conference in the media (2019) https://bit.ly/37A8rcj

ABC Australia Radio (2018): The file is archived and available upon request.

Generalitat de Catalunya Gencat.cat (2017): https://publicsculturals.blog.gencat.cat/?s=pallapupas

Arts Professional (2017): https://www.artsprofessional.co.uk/magazine/article/escape-hospital-stress

‘Goldlink’ Goldsmiths University of London (2017) : https://goldlink-online.com/2017/02/22/guest-post-theatre-for-children-in-hospital-the-gift-of-compassion/

Lancaster University ‘Steps’(2017): http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/steps/features/dr-persephone-sextou-helps-secure-children-in-need-grant/

Medical Humanities Blog (2017): https://bit.ly/2P4iiRc

Gdansk TV Poland (2017): The file is archived and available upon request.

South Korea media (2013): http://arte365.kr/?p=10485

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