Vocational Training Charitable Trust Foundation project

This major project is driven by priorities set by charities that work directly with people and their families who are living with visible difference.

About the project

With support from VTCT Foundation, the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) will evaluate existing methods of support and intervention, plus embark on a new programme of research to help charities in this sector maximise their impact.


View our series of workshops for members of the Appearance Collective (AC) and other charities that support people living with visible differences.

Understanding Patient and Public Involvement/Engagement

Facilitators: Dr Heidi Williamson, Dr Nicola Stock, Prof Diana Harcourt, Fabio Zucchelli

This workshop provides a ‘how to’ guide to support patient and PPI/E (Public Involvement/Engagement). It aims to:

  • create awareness of the need for PPI/E within your everyday activities
  • promote an understanding of the wider issues relating to PPI/E
  • provide practical guidance to enable delegates to engage patients and the public in how their services are planned, developed and delivered
  • discuss working with groups traditionally termed ‘hard to reach’
  • highlight examples of good practice.

Social Media and Appearance

Facilitators: Dr Amy Slater, Hannah Jarman, Prof Nichola Rumsey

Social media is an integral part of life for young people today. Although there are many positives of engaging with social media.

However, research also highlights several potential negative outcomes including cyber bullying, reduced wellbeing and increased body image concerns.

We don't know much about how people with appearance-altering conditions are using social media and the impact of engaging in an appearance-focused environment.

This workshop:

  • highlighted the evidence to date around the impact of social media use for young people
  • identified the key research questions in understanding the role of social media for individuals with an altered appearance.


Read about our latest work on the programme.

Meet the team

Name Role
Bruna Oliveira Costa Bruna has a background in Health Psychology. She has experience of research in cleft, and is particularly interested in appearance-altering health conditions.
Ella Guest Ella has experience across a range of appearance-affecting conditions such as burns, cleft and cancer. She will draw on her VTCT Foundation work while training as a Health Psychologist.
Claire Hamlet Claire is CAR’s VTCT Foundation research coordinator and a trainee Health Psychologist. She has experience of facial palsy and cleft research, intervention evaluation and project management.
Professor Diana Harcourt Diana is overseeing our work on the programme, offering expertise and experience in leading large appearance research programmes.
Jade Parnell Jade started her PhD in January 2018 on developing an intervention for young children to increase acceptance of appearance diversity. She is supervised by Amy Slater and Heidi Williamson.
Professor Nichola Rumsey Nicky is supervising our programme team, offering her expertise on leading large visible difference research programmes.
Nick Sharratt Nick is building on in his PhD research by working on projects linked to visible difference and romantic relationships to develop new interventions in this area.
Dr Amy Slater Amy has internationally recognised expertise in the area of social media use and appearance-related concerns.
Dr Nicola Stock Nicola has extensive experience of mixed methods research into craniofacial conditions (with a particular expertise in cleft), and Patient and Public Involvement (PPI).
Dr Heidi Williamson Heidi is leading our work on psychosocial interventions for people with a visible difference, using her experience of developing and evaluating interventions for this population.
Fabio Zucchelli Fabio has expertise in mindfulness-based interventions such as Acceptance Commitment Therapy for people with visible differences, and maximising the real-world impact of research.

Contact us

In the first instance, please contact Claire Hamlet, VTCT Foundation Research Coordinator, by:

Email: Claire.hamlet@uwe.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)117 32 83513

Alternatively, contact our CAR office.

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