I am based in the east of England in north Cambridgeshire and, since 2007, I have been teaching eight-week MBSR programmes to generic groups drawn from the general public, and for staff in education, healthcare, public services and third sector organisations. I gained a Masters in Mindfulness-based Approaches with distinction at Bangor University, and in 2013 joined the core team at the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, where I currently teach on the Masters programme and contribute to the CPD programme.
My professional background is as a university teacher and researcher in public services management and social policy. In this capacity, I was head of department for a while at Sheffield Hallam University, before founding and directing a research unit at London South Bank University, and then latterly leading university-wide research training as part of the research support team at Anglia Ruskin University. My areas of specialism were in relation to vocational education and participatory action research with policy applications, and my scholarly interests were in the development of professions, partnership and collaborative working, and community activism and participation. I finally stepped back from my university career in 2014 to focus on mindfulness and related activities. I practise as a Buddhist in the Theravada tradition, and have links with Amaravati Buddhist monastery, where I volunteer. In 2012, I took temporary ordination as a nun in the Burmese tradition in the first such ordination held in the west.
- Fellow, Higher Education Academy
- PhD, Exeter University
- MA, University of Bangor
- MSc, University of Reading
- BSc (Soc Sci), University of Edinburgh
- MBSR for generic groups
- Approaches to teaching and learning
- Group processes in teaching and learning
- Course design and delivery
- Ethics and professional issues
I have supervised mindfulness-based teachers and trainees since 2011. I received supervision training as part of CMRP’s preparation of supervisors, and have attended a wide range of other supervision training at various stages in my university career. This has included training in the use of Egan’s ‘skilled helper’ model, Hawkins’ model of supervision for the helping professions, and Heron’s facilitation/helping styles.
My practice began when I was a student in Edinburgh. I began meditating using the model developed by the Acem organisation which pioneered simple secular mindfulness practice, and I also trained in t’ai chi with Ian Cameron. For many years, my practice continued to rest on this base, waxing and waning, while remaining secular.
Around 1998, I was introduced to Buddhist meditation by a friend who had been a monk in Thailand, and experienced a real ‘coming home.’ I began joining retreats at Gaia House, Amaravati Buddhist monastery and Satipanya, working with different teachers, and gradually establishing my practice. By the early 2000s, I was keen to deepen my practice and discovered mindfulness-based approaches, eventually joining the Bangor Masters programme with this intention rather than any aspiration to teach.
While my personal practice nowadays is primarily in the Vipassana tradition which coheres well with mindfulness-based approaches, I continue to work with a range of secular teachers, including mindfulness teachers. I enjoy exploring edges and intersections, for example with kindness and compassion-based approaches, and Tibetan shamata practice. I attend a weekly Iyengar yoga class.
Research Activities and Interests
Research is part of my professional background and I am experienced in particular in: qualitative and mixed methods approaches; implementation and evaluation; and in teaching and learning themes. I supervise student theses as part of my role for CMRP. My own Masters thesis was an auto-ethnographic study of mindfulness teacher formation and becoming a mindfulness teacher. Among my wider activities, I am an external examiner for the MSc in Mindfulness Studies at Aberdeen University, and I am a facilitator for the Center for Courage & Renewal in the U.S., the home for the work of educationalist and social activist Parker J. Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach.
I am the co-author with Rebecca Crane of, “Training Mindfulness Teachers: principles, practices and challenges”; in: Resources for Teaching Mindfulness: an international handbook, ed. Donald McCown, Diane Reibel & Marc S. Micozzi (2016, forthcoming).