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.


CAR are running a series of workshops for members of the Appearance Collective (AC) and other charities that support people living with visible differences.

Upcoming workshops

We anticipate running a workshop in the autumn of 2019, likely to focus on social activism in appearance and body image. Details will be given when confirmed.

Previous workshops


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.
Dr James Kiff As a clinical psychologist, James offers the project his expertise in the impact of congenital and acquired physical health conditions on psychological wellbeing in children, young adults and adults, including family and wider systemic adjustment.
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).
Maia Thornton Maia started her PhD research in October 2018 on promoting positive psychological adjustment in parents and carers of children and young people with an appearance-altering condition or injury.
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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