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Anna Dadswell

Research Fellow
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Allied Health and Social Care
Areas of Expertise:
Arts and health research , Community Arts Engagement , Gender , Health and social care , Health and wellbeing

Anna is an early career researcher with expertise in using qualitative, participatory, and creative methods to explore various aspects of mental health and wellbeing. Her doctoral research takes a feminist social constructionist approach to understanding young women’s experiences of anxiety.


Anna studied BSc Psychology at the University of Sussex and gained experience working with young people for national charities. She then studied MSc Health, Community and Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science and worked as a Research Intern in Social Policy for Inclusive Development at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.

Anna joined ARU in 2016 as a Research Assistant working on a range of research projects broadly focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of different marginalised groups, as well as supporting the Social Work and Social Policy submission to the REF 2021. She began her ongoing doctoral research with ARU in 2017 and became a Research Fellow in 2019.

Spoken Languages


Research interests
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Reciprocity and social relationships
  • Women and young people
  • Participatory arts
  • Participatory research
  • Feminist research

Anna’s research projects have included participatory and inclusive approaches to explore the role of participatory arts in promoting social relationships for older people in care homes; how artists and care homes can work together to embed creativity in caring for older people; the role of outreach in supporting women with several and multiple disadvantages to rebuild their lives the experiences of young people who have self-excluded from school due to severe bullying and the support experiences of care leavers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


Anna teaches and supervises students on the MA Social Work dissertations course and teaches on the MA International Social Welfare and Social Policy course. She holds Associate Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.

  • MSc Health, Community and Development, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • BSc Psychology, University of Sussex
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Core member and coordinator, ARU Participatory Research Group
  • Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy
  • Alumni, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • O’Brien, N. (Principal Investigator) and Dadswell, A. (Co-Investigator), Department for Education (through Essex County Council) 2020-2021, £33,440. Care leavers’ experiences of support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Bungay, H. (Principal Investigator), Munn-Giddings, C. (Principal Investigator), Wilson, C. (Co-Investigator) and Dadswell, A. (Co-Investigator), Paul Hamlyn Foundation (though Magic Me) 2019-2021, £40,000. Evaluation of the Magic Me Artists’ Residencies in Care Homes, Essex programme.
  • Boyce, M. (Principal Investigator) and Dadswell, A. (Co-Investigator), The National Lottery Women and Girls At Risk Initiative (through women@thewell) 2017-2021, £50,000. Evaluation of women@thewell outreach support for women involved in prostitution.
  • Munn-Giddings, C. (Principal Investigator), Bungay, H. (Principal Investigator), Wilson, C. (Co-Investigator) and Dadswell, A. (Co-Investigator), Arts Council England Research Grants Programme Round Two (through Essex County Council) 2016-18, £125,680. The role of the arts in building creativity and community for older people in care settings.
Selected recent publications

Bungay, H., Wilson, C., Dadswell, A. and Munn‐Giddings, C. (2021) 'The role of collaborative working between the arts and care sectors in successfully delivering participatory arts activities for older people in residential care settings', Health & Social Care in the Community. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13290

Dadswell, A. and O’Brien, N. (2020) 'Working with adolescents to understand bullying and self-exclusion from school', International Journal of Developmental Science, 14(3-4), pp. 63-73. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3233/DEV-200288

O’Brien, N. and Dadswell, A. (2020: Reflections on a participatory research project exploring bullying and school self-exclusion: power dynamics, practicalities and partnership working. Pastoral Care in Education. doi: 10.1080/02643944.2020.1788126

Dadswell, A., Bungay, H., Wilson, C., Munn-Giddings, C. (2020) 'The impact of participatory arts in promoting social relationships for older people within care homes' Perspectives in Public Health. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/02643944.2020.1788126

Wilson, C., Dadswell, A., Munn-Giddings, C. and Bungay, H. (2019) 'The role of participatory arts in developing reciprocal relationships amongst older people: A conceptual review of the literature', The Journal of Aging and Social Change, 9(4), pp. 1-16. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/1757913920921204

Dadswell, A., Wilson, C., Bungay, H. and Munn-Giddings, C. (2019) 'The role of participatory arts in addressing the loneliness and social isolation of older people: A conceptual review of the literature', Journal of Arts & Communities, 9(2), pp. 109-128. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1386/jaac.9.2.109_1

Malone, J. and Dadswell, A. (2018) 'The role of religion, spirituality and/or belief in positive ageing for older adults', Geriatrics, 3(2), pp. 28. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/geriatrics3020028

Mannell, J. and Dadswell, A. (2017) 'Preventing intimate partner violence: Towards a framework for supporting effective community mobilisation', Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 27(3), pp. 196-211. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/casp.2297

Recent presentations and conferences

O’Brien, N., Dadswell, A., 2019 Working with young people to understand bullying and self-exclusion from school. Workshop on Aggression: International Perspectives on Bullying, Segregation and Inclusion, Stavanger, Norway. November 2019.

Dadswell, A., 2019. Social constructions of anxiety mediated by gender. Anglia Ruskin University Postgraduate Student Conference, Chelmsford, UK. July 2019.

Munn-Giddings, C., Wilson, C., Dadswell, A., 2019. Participatory Arts and Social Relationships for Older People in Care Settings. Arts in Society International Conference, Lisbon, Portugal. June 2019.

Boyce, M., Dadswell, A., 2018. Undertaking a ‘collaborative’ evaluation with women involved in prostitution. Collaborative Action Research Network Conference, Manchester, UK. October 2018.

Wilson, C., Dadswell, A., 2018. Participatory arts and social relationships for older people in care settings. International Health Humanities Conference, Southampton, UK. August 2018.

Bungay, H., Wilson, C., Dadswell, A., 2018. Participatory arts and social relationships for older people in care settings. New Perspectives in Participatory Arts Conference, Norwich, UK. May 2018.

Bungay, H., Munn-Giddings, C., Wilson, C., Dadswell, A., 2017. Creative Ageing: Arts and Social Relationships. Culture, Health & Wellbeing International Conference, Bristol, UK. June 2017.