Penny Vincent

Job Title and Responsibilities

Senior Lecturer in Creative Communities and the Staffordshire Graduate

I am a Senior Lecturer with the Academic Development Unit and based in the Creative  Communities Unit.  I teach, provide consultancy and undertake research related to volunteering, active citizenship, community engagement and participation. I work across the whole University to identify and establish best practice in student volunteering and community engagement and support colleagues to integrate public engagement into the curriculum.

I develop activities to bring the University and communities together for mutual benefit. I host four Community Organisers, act as panel partner to three Community First panels and co-facilitate a community champions network in the city of Stoke on Trent ( I lead community engagement activity in the University Quarter ( . I coordinated the Staffordshire University Fringe Festival 2013 (

About me

I worked at a senior/ strategic level in public and voluntary services for the 11 years before coming to Staffs in 2007. This included community development, community planning and partnership-working for regeneration and public service improvement, latterly in health and social care planning and commissioning. I completed my PG Dip in Health and Community Development with De Montfort University by distance learning during this time.

I have been an active volunteer since I was a teenager, including being a Trustee and Chair at Mind in North Staffs from 1998 -2006. After graduating with a BA Ed in 1993, I trained and worked as volunteer advice worker and as a counsellor and counselling supervisor, going on to manage the alcohol advisory services locally. Every job I’ve had since graduation has involved me in training volunteers and paid workers.

I am currently a “Valued Volunteer” with Stoke on Trent City Council - befriending people with learning disabilities. I am a member of the Photographers Collective North Staffs, voluntarily managing a community photographic gallery at Burslem School of Art. I am a musician/ singer and regularly lead community choirs workshops.


MA Community Practice, Staffordshire University 2013
Post Graduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education, Staffordshire University 2012
Service Delivery for a Modern City management development programme (30 credits M level), Staffordshire University, 2005
Post Graduate Diploma Health and Community Development, De Montfort University 2004
Certificate in Counselling Supervision, Keele University, 1998
Certificate in Counselling, Stoke on Trent College, 1996
BAEd honours degree English and Professional Studies in Education, Liverpool Institute of Higher Education (Hope) 2003
Professional Memberships and Activities
Higher Education Academy Fellow
Federation for Community Development Learning member


Professional Memberships and Activities

Participatory Practitioners for Change Network – member of lead group
Federation for Community Development Learning – member


  • Training and teaching for community practice

  • Participatory Action Research

  • Networking and partnership working

  • Community development and engagement

  • Anti-discriminatory practice

  • Clear communication

  • Active citizenship

  • Arts and cultural development

  • Counselling, mentoring and supervision


Enterprise and Commercial Activities

We have a close partnership with Stoke on Trent City Council, who commission the 1000 Lives community champions network in the city, which I co-facilitate. They previously commissioned us to provide training (accredited and non) for local residents, public and voluntary sector staff and elected Councillors. Two of these courses were shortlisted of a Staffordshire LearnMore Award and won the University’s Sustainability in the Curriculum Award in 2010.

I have developed the Get Talking creative consultation course, delivered as a short course, bespoke training, or as an integral part of a participatory research project.  Previous clients include Appetite Stoke (Arts Council funded project 2013-16), Changes wellbeing, Stoke on Trent City Council and Staffordshire Adult and Community Learning. We had HEIF funding in 2007-08 for the development of this training and to research the learning needs of public, voluntary and private sector staff in community engagement roles.

The Localise project funded by the European Lifelong Learning Programme involved the coordination of two study trips in the UK, Poland and Lithuania exploring adult learning for active citizenship and community arts, each trip with participants from all three countries. (

Research and Interests

I am developing a process and tools to support community involvement in teaching and collaborative e-learning, using digital stories hosted on a Ning social networking internet site. We have previously had funding from the Technology Support Learning fund and the Transformation Fund.  We support people to tell and share their digital stories of involvement in decision making and to discuss them online. This is called the Talk:Share project. Participants are active citizens and community practitioners.

Member of the Institute for Applied Creative Thinking research centre in the Faculty of Arts and Creative Technologies.

Selected Publications

• Making Digital Stories guide (2011) publication by Staffordshire University in partnership with REACH
• Contribution to the Service User and Carer Involvement in Education Toolkit
• Contribution of 2 articles in the Community Work Skills Manual (2009), published by the Federation of Community Development Learning.
• Presentation and workshops at conferences about Talk:Share and Get Talking including Adult and Community Learning conference in Staffordshire 2008, national Creative Industries and Communities conference 2009 (IESR) and National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement conference Engage 2011


Current Teaching

Certificates of Credit – 15 credits

Get Talking: Creative Community Consultation
Making a Difference in Your Community - Community Leadership for the 21st Century level 4
Volunteering: Social Action and Change level 4,5 and 6
Contribution to Mentoring and Coaching courses

Foundation level 3
Get Talking : Creative Community Consultation
Community Volunteering
Making a Difference in Your Community - Speaking Up
Making a Difference in Your Community - Taking Part

Get Talking: Creative Community Consultation
Managing Volunteers
Supervision in the Helping Professions
Contribution to modules in the MA Community Practice including:
Participatory Research and Project Cycle Management

Non-accredited courses
Supervision study days
Masterclasses including creative consultation
Heart of Engagement world cafe workshops
Taster workshops in a range of subjects


Penny Vincent
Academic Development Unit
Staffordshire University
Flaxman Building
Room L214 - Creative Communities Unit
College Road
t: +44 (0)1782 294540
f: +44 (0)1782 294644