Job Title and Responsibilities
Senior Researcher, Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies
I am a Senior Researcher working across the Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies at Staffordshire University. I contribute to the on-going development of the Faculty's two Applied Research Centres: the Institute for Applied Creative Thinking (I-ACT) and the Centre for Media Arts and Technology (C-MAT). My role includes fostering research collaborations within the university and with external partners; identifying funding opportunities, and organising events and activities that further develop and sustain the culture of research within the faculty. I undertake research activities on a range of projects across the university, and I teach research methods to postgraduate students.
After 14 years of self-employment, I decided on a change of direction and went to Staffordshire University as a mature student. I gained a BA (Hons) degree in Applied Social Studies (Social Research Route) in 2005, and also went on to successfully complete a Graduate Certificate in Community Practice (Community Arts Route), which introduced me to the work of the Creative Communities Unit (CCU). I subsequently worked as a part-time Senior Lecturer in the CCU from 2006 onwards, alongside studying for my PhD and my teaching qualification, and undertaking research consultancy work on a freelance basis. I was appointed as Senior Researcher in 2013.
My personal research interests focus on arts engagement, cultural value, community, social capital and ageing. I specialise in qualitative methodologies. I am experienced in conducting interviews and focus groups, and in participatory and creative approaches. I have a growing list of publications and I have also produced a wide range of written reports relating to completed projects. My PhD (completed in 2011) investigated the meanings that older people attach to their participation in collective arts activities throughout their life course.
In 2014, I was Principal Investigator on an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded Cultural Value project, investigating the value of arts and culture in relation to empathy, compassion and understanding. I was also previously part of an AHRC Connected Communities project, which used creative writing as a method for investigating people's experiences of healthcare in North Staffordshire. The project, called 'And the Doctor Said...', was a partnership between Staffordshire and Keele Universities. I am committed to developing impact and engagement through research: in recognition of this, I was selected by the AHRC to attend a three day Engaging with Government course at the Institute for Government Offices in London that took place in February 2015.
PhD in Social Gerontology (2011) Keele University (Funded by RAE Investment Studentship)
Thesis Title: Creative Ageing: Exploring Social Capital and Arts Engagement in Later Life
Graduate Certificate in Community Practice - Community Arts Route (Distinction). Staffordshire University.
BA (Hons) Applied Social Studies – Social Research Route (1st Class) Staffordshire University
Professional Memberships and Activities:
British Society of Gerontology
Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education (2013) Staffordshire University
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
Member of the British Society of Gerontology
Social gerontology, qualitative research methods, participatory approaches, project evaluations, and community consultations (including World Cafes).
Enterprise and Commercial Activities
Commissioned Applied Research and Consultancy
2013 Collaborative project with the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Sciences to develop user-led assistive technology in relation to smart phone developments for visually impaired users. With Dan Lewis and Guy Peters.
2012-13: Miniature Stoke workshops: consulting with a wide range of community groups. The workshops have involved discussion and action planning around the building of stronger communities in Stoke-on-Trent. With Adrian Ball and Penny Vincent, funded by Stoke-on-Trent Healthy Cities initiative.
2012: Gingerbread evaluation: The CCU was commissioned to undertake an evaluation of Gingerbread, a local homelessness charity. With Pete Twilley and Anne Revell.
2009-2010: ‘Museums aren’t for me’: a consultation project exploring ways of developing greater community participation in the planning of the museum service in Stoke-on-Trent. With Janet Hetherington.
2007 Bridge Project: Evaluation of B Arts’ project working with refugees and asylum seekers. With Mark Webster. Evaluation funded by Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
Examples of recent/current projects include:
2014 ‘The Story of Lidice and Stoke-on-Trent: Towards Deeper Understandings of the Role of Arts and Culture’. And AHRC funded project investigating the value of arts and culture in relation to empathy, compassion and understanding; based on the case study of Stoke-on-Trent and the village of Lidice in the Czech Republic.
See project blog for films, photographs, reports and other research outputs: https://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/culturalvalue/
2012-13 ‘And the Doctor Said....’ project: A Connected Communities project, funded by the AHRC, and a partnership between Staffordshire and Keele Universities. Involved creative writing workshops led by actors, writers and storytellers, in which participants reflected on their experiences of health, illness and medicine in North Staffordshire.
See project website for further information and project films: www.andthedoctorsaid.org
2013: AHRC Follow-on project, with Keele University (Research Associate):
Ages and Stages: Translating Research into Practice. A partnership with New Vic
Theatre, Newcastle-under –Lyme, led by Prof. Miriam Bernard, Keele University.
2010-12 ‘Localise’: Two year funded project through The Leonardo Da Vinci programme. Involving student and practitioner exchange, researching into comparative practice in Community Arts in Lithuania, Poland and the UK. Resulting in a conference and a book, written in collaboration between the three Partner Universities. With Mark Webster, CCU colleagues and partners.
2011: Volunteering Journeys: A research informed teaching project involving training undergraduate research students and community volunteers in digital storytelling as a community research method. Stories of volunteering are then used as a teaching resource on the Volunteering: Action and Experience module. With Penny Vincent.
2011: A Transformative Innovation in Assessment and Feedback project, which involved a participatory evaluation of assessment and feedback in the CCU programme with the aim of developing and validating more inclusive alternatives. With Barbara Emadi-Coffin.
Webster, M. Tomkins, A. Walton, G. & Reynolds, J. (Eds) (2014) And the Doctor Said… Stories of Health, Illness and Medicine in North Staffordshire. Stoke-on-Trent, North Staffordshire Press.
Jones, T. & Reynolds J. (2012) ‘Mandays Photography Group Case Study’ in Z. Dworakowska (Ed) Creative Communities. Institute of Polish Culture, University of Warsaw.
Rose, J. (2008) ‘Connecting Cultures and Learning for Life: The Bridge International Youth Project’ in M. Webster (Ed) Personalised Learning: Taking Choice Seriously. Nottingham, Educational Heretics Press.
Reynolds, J. Hetherington, J. O’Sullivan, A. Clayton, K. Holmes, J. (2014) ‘The Story of Lidice and Stoke-on-Trent: Towards Deeper Understandings of the Role of Arts and Culture. (AHRC Cultural Value report) Available from: http://blogs.staffs.ac.uk/culturalvalue/our-research-project/full-report/
Reynolds, J. (2015) Stories of Creative Ageing Working with Older People. Vol.19 No.1 pp.33-40
Reynolds, J. (2013) ‘And the Doctor Said…’ – The Value of the arts in health and wellbeing. Mailout.co Vol 2013, No. 3 May/June 2013, pp.27-30
Reynolds, J. (2012) Creative Ageing: Exploring Social Capital and Arts Engagement in Later Life. Generations Review Vol 22, No.2 pp.16-17
Rose, J. (2008) Creative Ageing: Identity, Community and Arts Engagement in Later Life. Generations Review Vol. 18, No. 3, July 2008.
Reynolds, J. Rickett, M. Bernard, M. (2012) Ages and Stages Policy Brief. An outcome of the New Dynamics of Ageing funded research project entitled Ages and Stages: the place of theatre in representations and recollections of ageing. The project was a collaboration between Keele University and the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.
Recent Conference Talks
Reynolds, J. (2014) And the Doctor Said… Creatively Researching Healthcare in North Staffordshire. Presentation at the British Society of Gerontology 2014 Conference, University of Southampton, 1st-3rd September 2014.
Reynolds, J. (2014) Stories of Creative Ageing. Invited speaker at the ‘Portraying Ageing: Cultural Assumptions and Practical Implications’ Conference at the British Library Conference Centre, April 2014.
Reynolds, J. (2014) And the Doctor Said…. A Creative Approach to Researching Healthcare in North Staffordshire. Presentation at the ‘Daring to Make an Impact: Dynamic Qualitative Research’ Conference at Keele University. 22nd-23rd March 2014.
Reynolds, J. (2012) Inclusive Practice in Assessment and Feedback workshop. Following a successful funding bid to the Higher Education Academy (Workshop and Seminar Series), this workshop shared the findings of the Transformative Innovation in Assessment and Feedback project
Module leader: Approaches to Flexible Learning (MA module – Masters by Negotiated Study)
Dissertation workshops: teaching MA students studying with Staffordshire University’s Creative Communities Unit.
Staffordshire University, Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies
t: 01782 295789