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PhD Student Karen Gray

PhD Student

Institute of Health & Society

Contact Details


tel: 01905 54 2468 / Twitter: @kcrgray

BA (Hons) English Literature, 1992, University of Cambridge
PhD Literature, 1996, University of Cambridge

Karen is a full-time PhD student in the Institute of Health and Society at the University of Worcester.

Karen Gray’s doctoral research explores the methodological challenges involved in evaluating arts-based activities for people with dementia, with the aim of highlighting possible solutions for evaluative practice. Her work seeks to address some of the assumptions that underpin both research and arts practice, including those related to ethics and to what constitutes ‘value’ for all those involved in the arts and dementia. She is interested in exploring concepts of complexity, definitions of art and wellbeing, and the potential conflict between the desire to understand the benefits and impact of change for the individual and the need to deliver evidence that is generalisably useful.

Karen is a member of the team working within the Association for Dementia Studies. She is one of 8 doctoral students working within The Arts and Dementia Doctoral Training Centre (TAnDem DTC), a collaborative partnership between the Universities of Worcester and Nottingham, funded by The Alzheimer’s Society.

Her Director of Studies is Dr Simon Evans. Other members of her supervisory team at the University of Nottingham are Professor Amanda Griffiths and Professor Justine Schneider.

Between 2012-2015, Karen was Research and Evaluation Manager with arts and health consultants, Willis Newson. It was in this role that she first became interested in the potential for the arts to improve the wellbeing of people with dementia and where she began to understand how challenging it is to evaluate arts and dementia practice.


eer-Reviewed Publication
Daykin, N., Gray, K., McCree, M., and Willis, J. (2016). Creative and credible evaluation for arts, health and well-being: opportunities and challenges of co-production. Arts & Health. Published online 26 September 2016 (Open Access).

Completed PhD Thesis
Harman, K. (1996). Creditable narratives: Washington Irving’s American literary currency. University of Cambridge.

Refereed Conference Presentation
Gray, K. (March 2017). Methodological challenges in arts and dementia: A critical perspective on the literature. 1st International Arts & Dementia Research Conference, London.

Haragalova, J., Klug, K. & Gray, K. (March 2017). Sensory Palaces: Learning & engagement in the historic royal palaces. 1st International Arts & Dementia Research Conference, London.

Gray, K. & Burke, E. (June 2013). Evaluation demystified: How to be confident, credible and creative. Culture, Health & Wellbeing International Conference, Bristol.

Invited Seminars and Workshops
Broome, E., Cousins, E., Gray, K & Veale, A. (March 2017). TAnDem (The Arts and Dementia): An interdisciplinary discussion on the value, content and purpose of the ‘evidence base’ for the arts and dementia (Roundtable discussion). 1st International Arts & Dementia Research Conference, London.

Gray, K. (November 2016). Arts for people with dementia: Why is it so hard to show that it works? (Provocation) Arts & Health South West Annual Conference, Buckfast Abbey, Devon.

Broome, E., Cousins, E., Gray, K., & Veale, A. (April 2016). Researching arts and dementia (Workshop). Creative Dementia Arts Network Annual Conference, Oxford.

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