I joined the MLA team in September 2020 to take up a role as an academician, having worked on a range of research projects related to sport, culture and education for sustainable development. I wear many hats, including those of a Zumba Fitness instructor, and global consultant for women’s organisations in Nepal. I strongly believe that personal and collective wellbeing and strong partnerships should be at the heart of the educational experience.

I like to think of myself as a polymath. My work has seen me weave together various academic disciplines — Music, Psychosocial Studies, Culture and Media Studies and Dance — to develop new concepts and methodologies. I also enjoy passing on this sense of interdisciplinarity to my students.

I gained a First Class Honours BMus from the CIT Cork School of Music, Ireland, as well as an LRSM (Merit) in Cello Performance from ABRSM, London, in 2010. This was followed by an MA in Psychosocial Studies from Birkbeck, University of London (Distinction) in 2012, and a PhD in Culture, Media and Creative Industries (passed, no corrections) from King’s College London in 2017. My trajectory proves you can do whatever you put your mind to, as demonstrated in my perfectly logical (!) step from being a hardcore classical cellist to becoming a Zumba Fitness instructor!

My involvement on the collaborative ‘New Development Frontiers’ project at Loughborough University, funded by the ESRC and DFID from 2017 to 2019, saw me explore how sport, culture and education can be used to address key sustainable development issues, notably environmental sustainability, gender inequality, poverty and conflict in three small developing states: Nepal, Timor-Leste and Cape Verde. During this time, I used my Zumba Fitness skills to develop a strong rapport with local communities, and developed connections with the maritime sector in Cape Verde. In subsequent independent consultancy work, I co-developed a dance/movement curriculum related to experiences of sexual violence with young women in Pokhara, Nepal.

I have had a number of articles published in high-quality, international, peer-reviewed journals. I am also currently working on a draft of a book on unconventional approaches to international development with colleagues at Loughborough, Kathmandu University and University of California, Berkeley.

I love supporting students, and I encourage them to think in creative ways about concepts and methodologies. I look forward to contributing to a range of courses at MLA, notably the new BSc in Global Sustainable Development, and to developing further collaborations through the BAU Global network. I also endeavour to spread the joys of Zumba to people in Plymouth, and further afield!