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The group brings together scholars from a range of disciplines including drama and performance, design, games, computer programming, anthropology, social work, psychology, digital arts, film, creative writing and architecture.


Dr Mariza Dima Dr Mariza Dima
Senior Lecturer in Games Design
Mariza is a Senior Lecturer in Games Design. She specialises in User Experience and User Interface design for developing meaningful and engaging interactions particularly using mobile, AR and haptic technologies. She has worked between academia and the creative industries as an interaction designer and creative technologist in R&D projects combining engineering and design approaches grounded on theoretical contexts of narrative, affective dramaturgy, and audience/player engagement. A keen knowledge hunter, she is often inspired by and experiments playfully with perspectives from different fields that could offer a useful alternative lens on user experience design and then turns them into a tool for designing engaging experiences. Her design approach is holistic and experiential where the designer embeds and immerses herself in a collaborative design process and views it as an educational and transformative experience rather than participating in it as a design expert. She also consults on strategies for devising and developing digital projects and user interactions in the creative industries and has expertise in design methods for collaboration and co-creation. UI/UX Design for Games, Games Programming (Python), Concept Communication, Studio Practice
Dr Yohai Hakak Dr Yohai Hakak
Senior Lecturer in Social Work
Dr Yohai Hakak joined Brunel in September 2014 as a lecturer in social work. His practice experience as a social worker is in mental health where he worked with long-term service users. Yohai’s research interests are in the sociology of risk-perception, youth, religion, parenting, gender and mental health and the connection of these areas with social work. Yohai's last manuscript titled Haredi Masculinities between the Yeshiva, the Army, Work and Politics: The Sage, the Warrior and the Entrepreneur was an ethnographic study of Jewish Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) young men in Israel. It was published by Brill in 2016. The outcomes of Yohai’s academic work included also several award-winning documentary films. Yohai is interested in supervising students in the following areas and in relation to social work: Migration Embodiment Religious minorities Masculine identities Mental health Risk and its perception Mixed couples
Dr Maria Kastrinou Dr Maria Kastrinou
Lecturer in Anthropology
Anchored in political anthropology, my research focuses on sectarian politics and national belonging, religion, state, conflict and energy in the Middle East and South-Eastern Mediterranean. For my PhD, I conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork research in Syria (2008–2011) looking at contested identities and politics between the Druze sect and the Syrian state. In response to the ongoing war in Syria, my research has incorporated political economy and historical approaches in ongoing projects on the politics of energy and resource conflict in Syria and Lebanon (Durham Energy Institute 2013-2014; AHRC/ESRC Conflict grant 2016-2017), as well as new fieldwork with Syrian refugees in Greece and stateless Syrians in the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights (BRIEF Award 2015-ongoing).QualificationsBA (Hons) Anthropology (Durham)PhD Anthropology (Durham) Module convenor• Introduction to Social Anthropology (UG)• Anthropology, Objects and Images (UG)• Political and Economic Issues in Anthropology (UG + PG)• Anthropological Perspectives on War and Humanitarian Assistance (UG + PG) Module contributor• Ethnographic Encounters (PG)
Dr Sharanya Murali Dr Sharanya Murali
Lecturer in Theatre
My first degree was in English Literature, having minored in French Literature and Philosophy. I received my MA the following year in Early Modern performance, with a focus on Shakespeare. I subsequently worked in New Delhi in the long-form journalism and publishing industries. I returned to the UK on a fully-funded scholarship to do a split-site, interdisciplinary PhD between the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS, Bangalore) and the University of Exeter. My PhD interrogated walking in contemporary Delhi as a form of everyday performance. It argued that some of the productive ways to engage with walking practices are by re/considering walking as a practice of performance-ethnography of the city, through the selective lenses of Situationist everyday life, heritage and urban memory. Following the PhD, I guest-lectured at Sophia College, Mumbai, and worked as a lecturer and studio demonstrator at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance (London). Prior to joining Brunel University in 2020, I was a lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter. ​For a significant portion of my research life, I have worked on South Asian urban cultures of performance, specifically walking as performance-ethnography, and New Delhi. My evolving interest in this area surrounds decolonial possibilities of walking art, and in the relationship between Situationist practices and race. My current longterm project examines the genealogy of South Asian feminist performance art against imperial and communal legacies. I am currently writing a monograph on the gendered technologies of risk and labour in contemporary Indian photo-performance. I am interested in variants of intermedial performance practices undertaken and created by women and women-identifying performers. As part of this, I am examining the politics of ingestion in Indian performance art. In addition to my primary interest in performance and live art, I have written on Modern Indian poetry. I continue to publish on women in Indian cinema. My teaching interests emerge from and influence my research practices: I enjoy teaching playwriting, critical theory, devising, live art, feminist performance, theatre history and intermedial/visual performance.
Dr Meriel Norris Dr Meriel Norris
I qualified as a Physiotherapist in 1993 (Leeds) and worked in the NHS for several years specialising in neurology and specifically stroke rehabilitation. My last clinical post held was as a stroke clinical specialist at St Mary’s hospital, London. I have also worked for a number of years in India and Indonesia in both disaster and development projects related to disability and rehabilitation. My MSc in Medical Anthropology was completed in 2002 (London) and PhD in 2009. My PhD topic brought together the fields of stroke, rehabilitation and anthropology by exploring the experience and health seeking behaviour following stroke in Aceh, Indonesia.Qualifications:PhD, MSc, BSc (Hons), PGCert (LTHE) Teaching Responsibilities:BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy Module Leader - Research Proposal, Rehabilitation II Teach – Anatomy, Rehabilitation II, Neurology, Research Methods, Research Proposal, Clinical preparation Supervisor Research Proposals Clinical link tutor Personal tutor MSc Neurorehabilitation Lecturer- Research Methods, Project proposal, Clinical Applications Supervisor MSc Dissertations Personal tutor Superivsor for MPhil and PhD studentsOther Teaching Responsibilities: Academic skills liaison Co-ordinator Centre for Research in Rehabilitation (CRR) Erasmus link tutor
Mr Colin Riley Mr Colin Riley
Reader in Music
Colin Riley's music draws on a range of elements including new technologies, improvisation, song-writing and large-scale classical form. His work is difficult to categorize embodying a genuine integration of stylistic approaches. His recent compositions include ‘Warp and Weft’ a concerto for 2 cellos (for Gabriella Swallow and Guy Johnston), ‘In Place’ (collaborating with 7 contemporary writers and singer Melanie Pappenheim), ‘Made 2 Resonate’ (a set of multi-sensory pieces), and ‘Rock Paper Scissors’ for Ensemble Bash. He is currently writing a violin concerto for Phillippa Mo, an orchestral work for the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, Sweden as part of their ‘Sustainable Music’, and creating a sonic installation with the research group ‘Catching A Wave’. As well as releases on labels such as NMC, Metier, and Naxos, Colin also runs his own label Squeaky Kate with regular new albums each year. His latest release was ‘In Place’, with a new album of choral music due out in 2020. Colin also creates work for his own two groups, the Homemade Orchestra and MooV, where he is composer and performer/director. Moov’s latest album ‘Here’ was recently described as ‘utterly unclassifiable’ (London Jazz Blog), and ‘criminally underexposed’ (Jazz UK). Colin’s work has been performed by many of the UK’s leading music performers and groups including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, Smith Quartet, Gareth Davies, and Piano Circus. He has collaborated with diverse artists in the last few years including an album with drummer Bill Bruford, ‘Skin and Wire’ and two theatre projects ‘Nonsense’ and ‘Centrally Heated Knickers’ with the poet Michael Rosen. He is a Senior Lecturer at Brunel University London, and has been a mentor for the Making Music’s Adopt A Composer Scheme since 2001. He writes a regular blog about composing called Riley Notes and his music is published by Composers Edition. MU1613 Professional Development 1 MU2612 Professional Development II MU2617 Composition II MU2620 Interdisciplinary Project MU3000 Professional Independent Project PhD supervisions and internal and external Viva examining
Ms Gemma Cook Ms Gemma Cook
PhD Student
Gemma has a portfolio career that combines research, global disability policy expertise, and art-practice. She also has a background as a neurological physiotherapist. Gemma is currently working towards an interdisciplinary social science PhD which uses art as method to explore policy experiences of adults living with Cerebral Palsy. This is hosted by Brunel University London under the Grand Union Doctoral Training Partnership, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, with supervision from Dr Meriel Norris and Professor Cherry Kilbride and further guidance from Dr Emma Wainwright. Her research career began in 2018, by working in a small team with Dr Elizabeth Cassidy and Professor Cherry Kilbride to secure a novice researcher Physiotherapy Research Foundation scheme B grant. They have now published a peer reviewed article: Understanding physiotherapy and physiotherapy services: exploring the perspectives of adults living with cerebral palsy and co-authored a related article: Access, use and satisfaction with physiotherapy services among adults with cerebral palsy living in the United Kingdom and Ireland Gemma's research focuses on understanding the meaning of human experience, most recently by using art as method. Over the last two years she has worked methodically with three participants to co-create two art products based on their policy experiences: a spoken word performance with a wall-mural backdrop, and a poetry film. You can view the artworks by clicking on the following links: ItsThatGirlWithCP and Unchartered Togetherness Gemma has practiced as an artist for over 15 years, and recently won the Sussex County Arts Club Annual Exhibition, part of the Brighton Arts Festival, in May 2022. Her work is gesturally expressive, and loosely based on the human figure. Charcoal animation is a new venture, and features prominently in the PhD poetry film. You can see more of her art work here: gemmaconniecook Gemma's work in international development centres around disability inclusion in low-and-middle-income settings, combining research and evidence based policy advocacy. Her physiotherapy career spanned multiple settings both in the UK and internationally in low-income contexts. This combination of policy, research, and clinical skills has strengthened her voice in the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cerebral Palsy (APPGonCP) where she was invited to present her observations at their most recent meeting on the Social Participation of 11-to-18 years olds, and acknowledged in two 2022 APPGonCP reports. Qualifications: MSc in Global Health Policy: The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2015 BSc in Physiotherapy: Kings' College London in 1999 BA in Combined Arts: University of Liverpool in 1992.
Dr Dominik Havsteen-Franklin Dr Dominik Havsteen-Franklin
Professor of Practice - Arts Therapies
Dominik Havsteen-Franklin is a Professor of Practice (Arts Therapies) at Brunel University, with a Ph.D. in Art Psychotherapy and Metaphor. He is also head of the International Centre for Arts Psychotherapies Training (ICAPT) for Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Vice President for the European Federation of Art Therapy and a member of the Council for the British Association of Art Therapists. His research focuses on applying empirical methods to investigating and evaluating the use of arts to facilitate changes in health conditions. His recent research has centred on co-designing and investigating Arts-based Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy (ADIT) for depression, Creative and Resilience Engagement (CaRE) for frontline healthcare workers, developing arts-based psychosocial practice in South Africa, and is a co-applicant for an NIHR funded large scale RCT (ERA) investigating the effectiveness of arts therapies for heterogenous groups in mental health services. Dominik supervises PhD students from a range of arts disciplines. He also continues to work as a consultant, an art psychotherapist and a clinical supervisor for the National Health Service.