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Personal profile


Alison is a Senior Researcher, with particular research interests and expertise in dementia, creative engagement and wellbeing, and patient and public involvement. Alison has a strong background in service evaluation and mixed methods research, working with a range of charitable and health organisations. Alison is also the Lead of the Centre for Health Sciences and Services which supports and builds on the research and enterprise work of the Faculty of Health, Education and Society.

Alison was awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship 2015, part of the Baring Foundation’s Creative Ageing scheme, to visit Denmark and lead a project exploring the experiences of people with early stage dementia through photography and storytelling. This work has inspired Alison’s PhD, which explored how photography and storytelling can be used as a way to engage people with dementia in the research process. Alison is also developing research to explore and evaluate the use of drama with younger people, and is particulalry interested in using drama and creative methods within the reserach process.

Alison is a member of the University of Northampton’s Joint Action Dementia Forum, is a founding member of the Forget Me Nots young onset dementia social group and is a certified TimeSlips storytelling facilitator, delivering sessions with patients at a local hospital. Alison therefore brings experience of both research and practice, which supports her understanding of the current field of arts and older people. This understanding is strengthened by involvement with a number of national organisations such as, the Royal Society for Public Health’s Special Interest Group in Arts, Health and Wellbeing, the Arts Health Early Career Researcher Network, Arts4Dementia and the Creative Arts Dementia Network. Alison is also Co-Chair of the Faculty’s Research Ethics Committee and is committed to working to high ethical standards of practice.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Northampton

Award Date: 27 Mar 2019

Master, The Open University

Award Date: 30 Jun 2010

Bachelor, University of Leicester

Award Date: 28 Jun 1996


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Dementia
  • Creativity
  • Wellbeing
  • Qualitative
  • Photography
  • Storytelling
  • Photo elicitation
  • Drama

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Alison Ward is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

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Research Output

Future Focused: Young People’s Aspirations Explored Through Drama

Ward, A. & Pyer, M., 19 Mar 2020

Research output: Non-Textual OutputDigital or Visual Media

  • Open Access
  • Life Story Sharing: A Therapeuitic Intervention in Palliative Care

    Quinney, M., Ward, A. & Youell, J., 27 Mar 2019, Voices of Illness: Negotiating Meaning and Identity. Brill/ Rodopi, p. 48-70 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapter

    Open Access
  • A community event to raise awareness of dementia

    Ward, A., Pyer, M., Parkes, J. & Hughes-Rowland, R., 1 Mar 2018, In : Journal of Dementia Care. 26, 2, p. 18-19 2 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

  • A visual and creative approach to exploring people with dementia’s experiences of being students at a school in Denmark

    Ward, A., Schack Thoft, D., Lomax, H. & Parkes, J., 12 Jul 2018, In : Dementia. 19, 3, p. 1-19 19 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Does a 24/7 hospice at home service prevent or postpone acute hospital admissions?

    Ward, A., Graham, A. & Sixsmith, J., 15 Mar 2018.

    Research output: Contribution to ConferencePoster

    Open Access
  • Going back to school – an opportunity for lifelong learning for people with dementia in Denmark (Innovative practice)

    Ward, A., Sorensen, K. A., Kousgaard, H., Schack Thoft, D. & Parkes, J., 11 Mar 2018, In : Dementia. p. 1-8 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

    Open Access
  • Prizes

    Winston Churchill Fellowship

    Ward, Alison (Recipient), Feb 2015

    Prize: Other distinction

  • Activities

    Young people’s aspirations explored through drama

    Alison Ward (Author) & Michelle Pyer (Author)

    9 Jun 2020

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


    Life after Doctorate: Working in Academia

    Alison Ward (Speaker), Kathleen Mortimer (Speaker) & Meanu Bajwa-Patel (Speaker)

    25 Jan 2020

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsSeminarResearch


    University College of Northern Denmark

    Alison Ward (Visiting researcher)

    19 Nov 201922 Nov 2019

    Activity: Public Engagement and OutreachVisiting an external academic institution

    Exploring the Experiences of People with Early Stage Dementia through Photography and Storytelling

    Alison Ward (Speaker)

    22 Oct 2019

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch

    Fermynwoods Contemporary Art

    Alison Ward (Visiting researcher)

    14 Nov 2017

    Activity: Public Engagement and OutreachPublic lecture/debate/seminarResearch

    The value of using photography and storytelling with people with dementia

    Alison Ward (Speaker)

    1 Mar 2017

    Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


    Caritas Social Action Network

    Alison Ward (Visiting researcher)

    7 Sep 2016

    Activity: Public Engagement and OutreachPublic lecture/debate/seminarResearch

    National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference

    Juliet Usher Smith (Participant), Barbora Silarova (Participant), Alison Ward (Participant), Jane Youell (Participant), Kenneth Muir (Participant), Jackie Campbell (Participant) & Joanne Warcaba (Participant)

    6 Nov 20169 Nov 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising a conference or workshopParticipating in a conference or workshopResearch


    Helping Northampton Filmhouse become more dementia friendly through the Dementia Friendly Organisation Awards

    Alison Ward (Principal Investigator), Michelle Pyer (Principal Investigator) & Kathleen Mortimer (Facilitator)

    Impact: 03: Good Health and Well-Being (UN SDG), Cultural impacts, Quality of life impacts, Health and Well-Being impacts


    Using Photography and Storytelling With People With Early-Stage Dementia to Understand Their Lived Experience and Enable Them to Tell Their Stories

    Author: Ward, A., 27 Mar 2019

    Supervisor: Parkes, J. (Supervisor) & Lomax, H. (External person) (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis