About us

The Health and Arts Research Initiative (HARI) is led by a core team from the University of Reading, working alongside contributors from the Art, Architecture, Film, Theatre & Television, Pharmacy and Psychology Departments.

We have a shared interest in how the arts can be applied to improve health – including prevention, management and treatment of a wide range of health and social conditions.

If you are interested in working across disciplines, would like to know more or want to get involved with any of our Arts-Health projects, please contact us at: artsandhealth@reading.ac.uk

Meet the team

Dr Ranjita Dhital

Ranjita is the founder and leads the Health and Arts Research Initiative. She is a Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice at the University of Reading and has practised as an addiction-specialist pharmacist and worked in public health. Ranjita is also a sculptor. Her research and teaching involves investigating how the arts can be applied to reduce alchttp://sculptorohol harm in low- and high-resource settings, and health architecture – co-designing engaging health spaces. Ranjita is the Deputy Chair of the Royal Society for Public Health Arts Health and Wellbeing Special Interest Group

Dr Kate Allen

Kate is a freelance artist and associate professor at Reading School of Art at the University of Reading. Kate’s research explores engaging with galleries, museums and heritage sites through sensory art and technology. She is the principle investigator of the award winning Sensory Objects project, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Councils (AHRC), and follow on enterprise purpleSTARS, bringing together artists and technologists with and without learning difficulties/disabilities to transform museum experiences and make them really inclusive. Kate also facilitates sessions at Historic Royal Palaces for Sensory Palaces, a wellbeing programme for people living with dementia and their carers. 

Lisa Barnard

Lisa is an artist and practice-based PhD Art student. She is a Sessional Lecturer at Reading School of Art and has been a Tutor on the BA Part 1 Studio Practice module since 2019. She has contributed to the design and delivery of internal and external projects, including ‘Drawing From Life: Alcohol in the time of Covid-19,’ an online workshop led by the Health and Arts Research Initiative and ‘Asbestos Streams: Reading School of Art Degree Show 2020,’ an online live stream event and exhibition.

Lisa’s PhD thesis considers script writing in performance art. The script is approached as a tool to perform the act of transmission and as a form of writing prepared for action. Instances of vocal interruption (echo, stutter, proximity of text) are framed within listening and translation, two of the key ideas proposed as underpinning the transmission process.

Emily Brewer

Emily is a final year BA Art and Psychology student, investigating the capacity of physical processes to facilitate health related conversations. Across her years studying at the University of Reading, Emily has participated in the design and delivery of academic projects led by the Health and Arts Research Initiative, including the ‘Elephant in the Room: conversations about alcohol’ workshop.

Lisa Clark

I am based in Minghella studios, at the University of Reading and specialise in stage design/scenic art/ art installations and stage lighting. I am a graduate from Wimbledon school of Art in1998 BA hons in Technical Arts interpretation. I work with undergraduates, PhD students and lecturers. I run workshops on stage design for all students and will help them construct their stage sets for over 40 performances we have at Minghella studios. I do freelance work part of the week for local theatres, such as Norden Farm in Maidenhead and Sonning Mill Theatre. I also have my own mural and commissioned paintings business. I have always been passionate about the arts in any form.

Dr Verónica Rodríguez

Dr Verónica Rodríguez is Teaching Fellow in Theatre and Performance at University of Reading. She has lectured at University of Barcelona, Canterbury Christ Church University, Royal Holloway, University of London and Richmond University. Her main research interests are in the fields of contemporary British theatre, new political forms of theatre and feminism. She is currently involved in several women’s health and theatre and performing arts projects. She is also a commissioned playwright (e.g. the Royal Court), published poet and a member of the artistic collective of people living with endometriosis Inner Orchestra.

Michele Wood

Michele is a former lecturer and a professionally trained voiceover artist who holds degrees in both Theatre Studies and Nutritional Medicine as well as a number of qualifications in holistic therapies. Alongside her work at the University of Reading she continues to develop her expertise in Arts and Health, working as a freelance voiceover artist, health and wellbeing writer, and nutrition tutor. Michele also supports a local singing group for people living with chronic lung conditions.