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Teresa Atkinson

Senior Research Fellow - Association for Dementia Studies

Institute of Health & Society

Contact Details


tel: 01905 54 2530

Teresa Atkinson is a Senior Research Fellow who has a long career in social research primarily using qualitative methodologies.

She began her career working with NHS Mental Health Trusts evaluating training and psychosocial interventions for family carers of people living with dementia. 

Following this post Teresa moved to the third sector working as Research Officer for a charity providing education, care and psychological therapies for young people living with profound intellectual disability.  As part of this post Teresa travelled extensively internationally to disseminate research findings and build research capability amongst frontline practitioners.

Teresa is passionate about understanding the lived experiences of people affected by cognitive impairment across the life span and understanding the ways in which quality of life can be improved She is skilled in working with people as partners in the research journey and in facilitating feedback from a range of participants including people with communication difficulties.

Teresa is currently involved in the Enabling Environments for People Living with Dementia Programme offering training, consultancy and research to empower providers to develop environments to maximise autonomy and independence for those living with dementia. 

She is working with colleagues leading on a number of work packages on the Namaste project and is also facilitating the collection of data from people living with dementia in extra care settings as part of a longitudinal project to explore the changing social care needs of people living in extra care housing (ECHO)

Teresa is interested in research and training which supports practitioners working with people with dementia who also have a learning disability, particularly those living with Down’s Syndrome. 

She is also keen to explore support structures for people living with dementia detained in prison settings.



MSc Clinical Neuropsychiatry – dissertation focussing on the experiences of parenting a child with foetal alcohol syndrome using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

BSc (Hons) Psychology

Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods

City and Guilds Certificate in Counselling


Research and Teaching

Research and Teaching


Working with the Association for Dementia Studies Teresa has been involved in a range of projects including:

  • Exploring the delivery of adult social care in housing with care settings (ASSET)
  • An evaluation of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Schools Intergenerational Project
  • Development of Stand By Me– an online resource to improve person-centred care and communication for people living with dementia and their families.
  • Evaluation of cultural competency training for the domiciliary care workforce supporting people living with dementia funded by the Department of Health, 2014-16

Teresa is currently involved in the following projects:

  • ECHO– working with colleagues from the University of Bristol, University of Kent and the HousingLin to explore the changing needs of people living in extra care housing and consider how services respond
  • Namaste– facilitating the development of a community of practice and supporting the involvement of experts by experience.
  • MeetingDem– data collection from people living with dementia who use a variety of local support services.   


Teresa disseminates research findings through conference presentations and is also involved in delivering workshops and seminars:

Designing Environments for people living with Dementia

  • Masterclass on design– one day Masterclass on designing environments to support people living with dementia
  • University of Worcester Nursing, October 2016:Dementia Friendly Design for Hospitals
  • Extra Care Charitable Trust, workshop, October 2016:The importance of dementia friendly environments
  • Older People’s Housing Conference, Cardiff, December 2016:Enabling environments for people living with dementia
  • Homeless Link/SITRA, January to March 2017:Designing Dementia Friendly Homes 

Workshops for dental practices

  • Dementia Hub Practices Education Day, Birmingham, November 2015
  • Dementia friendly dental practices, February, 2017

Housing events

  • Shared Lives South West:Making a business case for Shared Lives for People with Dementia
  • British Society of Geronotology Conference, 2014:Developing the community hub model of housing with care.
  • School for Social Care Research, March, 2015:Adult Social Care Environments (ASSET)

Intergenerational Schools Project

  • Dementia Friendly Communities, Sandwell, 2013:It’s not just knitting and bingo
  • British Society of Gerontology, 2013:Findings from Prime Minister’s Challenge: Intergenerational Schools Project
  • Geronotology International Summer School, University of Keele, 2013:It’s not just knitting and bingo
Professional Bodies

Professional Bodies

British Society of Gerontology – full member



Evans, Simon and Atkinson, Teresa and Darton, R. and Cameron, A. and Netten, A. and Smith, R. and Porteus, J. (2016) A Community Hub Approach to Older People’s Housing. Quality in Ageing and Older Adults. ISSN Print: 1471-7794, Online: 2042-8766 (In Press)


Latham, I., Evans, S., Atkinson, T. and Elliot, V. (2015) Admiral nursing in care homes, Journal of Dementia Care. 23(6), 26-29

Atkinson, T.J., Evans, S., Darton, R., Cameron, A., Porteus, J. & Smith, R. (2014) Creating the asset base – a review of literature and policy on housing with care. Housing, Care & Support, 17, No. 1, 16-25.

Whitehurst, T* (2012) ‘Raising a child with foetal alcohol syndrome: Hearing the parent voice’ British Journal of Learning Disabilities 40, 187-193

West, E.A., Jones, P., Chambers, D. & Whitehurst, T.  (2012). A Multi-Perspective Collaborative on Teacher Learning for Teachers of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Journal of International Special Needs Education, 15 (1), 24-40

Whitehurst, T (2011) Supporting professional educational inquiry in a residential special school.  Practical Research for Education Vol 44, January, 41-46         

Blackburn, C & Whitehurst, T (2010) ‘Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD); Facing the Challenge and shaping the future with SEN educational resources.  British Journal of Special Education Vol 37 (3) 122-129

Whitehurst, T & Blackburn, C. (2009) ‘Calling Time on FASD’ Special Children (187) February/March, 25-27

Conway, S & Whitehurst, T (2009) ‘I matter too: Hearing the Sibling Voice.  Linchpin, April

Whitehurst, T (2008) ‘Making a difference to mental health : the impact of mental health training for frontline staff working with children with severe intellectual disabilities’  Journal of Policy & Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, Vol 5 (1) p6-11

Whitehurst, T (2007) ‘Liberating Silent Voices: Perspectives of Children with Profound and Complex Learning Needs on Inclusion’.  British Journal of Learning Disability Vol 35 (1) 55-62

Whitehurst, T & Howells, A (2006) ‘When Something is Different People Fear it: Children’s Perceptions of an Arts Based Inclusion Project’.  Support for Learning Vol 21 (1) 40-45

Whitehurst, T (2006) ‘The Impact of Building Design on Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders’.  Good Autism Practice Vol 7 (1) 31 - 38

Whitehurst, T (2005) ‘Teaching as a Research Informed Profession: Case Study’. Secondary Leadership Paper 21, National Association of Head Teachers

Carpenter, B., Conway, S., and Whitehurst, T (2005) ‘First Impressions’ Special Children (Aug) 28-32

Conway, S., Powell, S., and Whitehurst, T (2005) ‘Parents as Research Partners: working together to explore family experiences of their induction to a residential special school’ PMLD Link (Summer) 26-29

Book Chapters:

Atkinson, T. and Bray, J. (2016) 'They are still the same as you on the outside just a bit different on the inside' Raising awareness of dementia through the school curriculum. In Chew-Graham, C. and Ray, M. (2016). Mental Health and Older People: A Guide for Primary Care Practitioners. Springer.

Whitehurst, T (2010) ‘Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: the 21st Century Intellectual Disability’ in Melanie L Landlow (ed) Cognitive Impairments: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment.  New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Whitehurst, T (2010) Complex Needs in Pat Talbot, Geoff Astbury & Tom Mason (Eds) ‘Key Concepts in Learning Disability’.  London: Sage Publications 74-79

Whitehurst, T (2007) ‘Changing Perspectives on Inclusion and Disability: The Monkey King Arts Project’ in Barry Carpenter and Jo Egerton (Eds) New Horizons in Special Education.  Clent : Sunfield Publications 155-171

Whitehurst, T (2007) ‘Research Tools for Evidence-Based Practice’ in Barry Carpenter and Jo Egerton (Eds) New Horizons in Special Education.   Clent : Sunfield Publications 222-230

Carpenter, B., Conway, S., Whitehurst, T. & Attfield, E. (2007) ‘Journeys of Enquiry:  Working with Families in a Research Context’ in Barry Carpenter and Jo Egerton (Eds) New Horizons in Special Education.   Clent : Sunfield Publications 145-155

Carpenter, B., Coughlan, B., Logan, N. & Whitehurst, T (2007) ‘Identifying and Responding to the Needs of Young People on the Autistic Spectrum with Mental Health Problems: Implications for Organisation, Practice & Research’ in Barry Carpenter and Jo Egerton (Eds) New Horizons in Special Education.  Clent : Sunfield Publications 77-89

Co-edited book

Jones, P., Whitehurst, T & Egerton, J. (eds) (2012) Teachers Stories of Research; Meaningful Inquiry in the Classroom..  London: Routledge Publications


(*published under previous name)