Meet the Team

Helen Mason - Founder/Project Lead

Helen Mason is a HPC registered Consultant Occupational Therapist working in the South West area. She has had a varied career working across physical and mental health settings within the NHS. Her clinical experience includes working in the areas of adult neurology, community paediatrics, burns and plastics, forensic adolescent mental health, child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) and youth offending.

Helen believes in the use of relevant activity to promote positive change and puts a strong emphasis on exploring activities, which promote intrinsic motivation and occupational balance.

Inspired by her client's requests to use animation in their Occupational Therapy sessions, Helen received funding from the Arts Council England in 2005 to train in basic animation techniques, enabling her to go on to develop pioneering work, using stop motion animation techniques in therapy with young people and families experiencing mental health and social inclusion needs.

Helen's collaborative work with the Royal College of Art, Animated Exeter Festival, Freelance Animators and The Phoenix Arts and Media Centre has enabled her to further her knowledge and skills within Occupational Therapy practice. She has gone on to use these skills within intra disciplinary work as a Consultant, developing techniques for use within a range of therapies including Systemic Family Therapy, Creative Therapies, probation and social work.

Helen sits on the advisory board for the Animated Exeter Festival and is also the national CAMHS representative for the College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section in Mental Health.

Alongside therapeutic practice, Helen has also worked as a workshop tutor for the Animated Exeter festival where she has worked with children from mainstream education, young offenders and families. She has also been using her animation skills during her sessional work with The Youth Inclusion Support Program (Exeter YISP).

Her experience of using animation to complement both education and specialised therapeutic practice has been instrumental in developing a personalised style of using animation in clinical practice, and she is keen to support practitioners in using animation to meet the interests and needs of their clients.

Helen is currently in the process of developing several practice models to support practitioners, from a range of therapies in developing skills using animation as a tool in their work. Her company AnimationTherapy Ltd, which was set up to receive the NESTA grant for innovation in mental health, continues to develop new ways of using animation in clinical practice , providing community inclusion and in reach projects using animation as a modern tool for expression, healing and change.


Professor Joan Ashworth - Animation Expert

Joan Ashworth is an Artist working in moving image with a background in stop-frame animation. While studying Graphic Design at Gwent College of Art and Design, Newport, she was introduced to animation both drawn and stop-frame. She embraced animation as a means of expression.

Later, Ashworth studied at the National Film and Television School, alongside Nick Park, graduating in 1987 with her short film 'The Web' based on Mervyn Peake's 'Titus Groan'. 'The Web' was shown at film festivals worldwide, winning the Mari Kuttna Prize for Best British Animation and broadcast on Channel 4.

After graduating, Ashworth co-founded 3 Peach Animation through which she directed many commercials, title sequences and stings for TV and cinema including the opening titles for Tim Burton's 'Batman 1'. Ashworth joined the Royal College of Art (RCA), London, in 1994 becoming Professor of Animation in 1998.

Since joining the RCA, Ashworth has made stings for BBC1's Christmas campaign and contributed to the Ceremony of Innocence CDRom based on Nick Bantock's books, 'Griffen' and 'Sabine'.

In 2002, Ashworth completed her 10 minute film 'How Mermaids Breed', inspired by Bronze Age Cycladic fertility figures, the drawings of Henry Moore, and Birling Gap Beach, Sussex. The making of 'How Mermaids Breed' was the subject of an exhibition 'Shaped by Water' held at Bridge Gallery, Phoenix Arts Centre, Exeter in February 2006.

Ashworth has been involved in Animation Therapy for three years as an expert advisor on animation and working with therapists to explore ways to use the unique challenges of animation to enhance and support their practice.

Current film project

'Mushroom Thief' - A short film on the pleasures and dangers of stealing mushrooms.

Technique: Pixillation and stop frame animation set in a lush meadow. To be completed 2009.


'How Mermaids Breed' (2002) Film 10 min. Screened in competition at festivals worldwide. Prizes include Black Nights Animated Dreams (Estonia) prize for Best Story and Fantoche (Switzerland) Jury Prize for Poignant Inversion of Myth.

'Eggs, Fish and Blood' (1999) Film 1.5mins. Film exploring gestation. Screened in competition at Hamburg Kurtzfilm Festival, Germany; Bradford Animation Festival, On/Off Across Conference, London ,UK.

'The Web' (1987) Film 18mins. Based on Mervyn Peake's 'Titus Groan'. Shown at festivals worldwide and on Channel 4. Prizes include Mari Kuttna for Best British Animation.


Rosemary Kingham - Systemic Supervisor

Rosemary is a UKCP registered Consultant Systemic Psychotherapist currently working in the South West of England CAMHS.

Rosemary has a number of qualifications including a PQ Diploma in Systemic Practice from Bristol University, an MA as a Systemic Therapy Teacher, Trainer and Supervisor from Northumbria University and a PQ Diploma in Systemic Psychotherapy and Practice-Teaching, Training and Supervision from Kensington International Consultation Centre. In addition to this, Rosemary has received a PQ certificate in Drama Therapy from the Roehampton Institute, London, and is trained in Root Cause Analysis. As part of her clinical work Rosemary has chaired an internal investigation into a child death.

Rosemary provides therapy, consultation and supervision in her current job and is particularly interested in finding ways to integrate systemic practice and creative therapies in work with children, young people and their families.

Previously she worked for the NSPCC for nine years, as a therapist working with survivors of abuse, especially sexual abuse and domestic violence. She also worked for a charity: Survivors of Child Abuse-SOCA, as a Family Therapist and as an Employee Assistance Therapist, offering short- term therapy to individuals. Rosemary advocates that therapists need to discover new ways to reach people who would benefit from therapy, advocating Animation Therapy as a 21st century tool.

Kari Nygaard - Workshop Animator and Co-writer of the Technical Toolkit
Kari Nygaard has a background as a Cultural Programmer, educator and Animation Artist. Originally from Stavanger, Norway, she holds a Bachelor of Time Based Media and a Master of Culture Theory. With main interests in the field of moving image programming and education within youth and social inclusion initiatives, she has been developing and delivering arts and cultural programmes in schools, museums, festivals, and other cultural organizations in England and Norway for the past 15 years. She is working as a tutor for Bristol School of Animation, University of the West of England and as a visiting lecturer in Animation for Faculty of Creative Arts, Weston College.

Dr Jennifer Creek - Academic mentor (Therapist's reflective paper)

Jennifer Creek qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 1970 and as an Art Therapist in 1974. She has a Masters degree by research from the University of Manchester and a teaching diploma from Jordanhill College, Glasgow.

During nearly 40 years of practice, she has worked in the fields of adult mental health, adult learning disabilities, Occupational Therapy education, primary care, mental health promotion and community development. Her main clinical interests are chronic depression, women's mental health and mental health promotion. She is particularly interested in the therapeutic application, the value of activity and the use of creative activities in therapy. She has written and spoken extensively on theory and practice in these areas.

Jennifer has been the leader of two Occupational Therapy programmes and helped to start three new programmes, in Scotland, Hong Kong and England. She has taught on the European Masters in Occupational Therapy programme and at the University of Malta. She has been a guest lecturer in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway and a visiting scholar in Southern California and New Zealand.

Jennifer is the co-editor of an undergraduate textbook, 'Occupational Therapy and Mental Health', which is in its fourth edition and has edited or co-edited two collections of essays on Occupational Therapy philosophy and theory - Occupational therapy: new perspectives and Contemporary issues in occupational therapy: reasoning and reflection.

For the past ten years Jennifer has worked freelance, undertaking mental health promotion projects, consultation, teaching and writing. She is a part-time Research and Development Officer for the College of Occupational Therapists, a Mental Health Act Local Commissioner and a partner of the Health Professions Council.


Sandra Salter - Animation co-ordinator

Sandra Salter (born Ensby), graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1996 and has enjoyed a successful career in the London animation industry with a BAFTA nomination in 2003 and a British Animation Award in 2008. She set up animation company, Sweetworld TV, in 2005 with Yasmeen Ismail - a collective of talent championing handcrafted animation techniques for commercial projects, with a fair trade ethos. A prolific sketchbook keeper, teacher and mentor - Sandra's latest work has included working with Animation Therapy Ltd on 'Jake's Story',creating a stop frame film which will form part of an anger DVD for young offenders and their families.

Kee Hean Lim MSc, Dip COT, PG Cert H Ed, HPC Reg. - Academic mentor (Family film project)

Kee Hean Lim is an Occupational Therapy Lecturer and Researcher at Brunel University and is involved in teaching on both the undergraduate and post-graduate Occupational Therapy programs. His current research interests include, Occupational Therapy in mental health, service user involvement and empowerment, cultural awareness and competency, socio-cultural construction of knowledge and theory and the utility of the Kawa 'River' Model. He is currently undertaking his PhD, a longitudinal study exploring the value of occupation in the recovery of mental health service users within the Kawa Model framework. He is also currently the Education Officer for the College of Occupational Therapists specialist section in mental health.


Susannah Shaw - Therapist feedback facilitator

Susannah Shaw is an Animation Training Consultant for clients including Skillset and the University of the West of England. She is also Programme Developer for Animated Exeter, a festival that takes place annually in the South West of England and is the author of 'Stop Motion, Craft Skills for Model Animation'. She originally trained in Fine Art, and became involved in animation and filmmaking, as a Freelance Camera Assistant in live film and stop-motion animation, working on and off at Aardman since the early 1980s.


Meghana Bisineer - Animator - Richard's Story

Meghana Bisineer is a Film Maker, Animator and Artist. She presently lives and works in London. She did her degree in Animation at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India. She graduated with an MA, Animation from the RCA, London in 2006.

Meghana has written, directed and animated a number of short animation films. These works have been screened in a number of International film festivals over the years and tell stories from Indian mythology, personal memory and fiction.

As a Freelance Animator, she has been involved in a number of short film projects in varying capacities as Writer, Animator and Designer. The clients involved include Channel 4, Amnesty International and NSPCC among others. While some are animated documentaries telling stories from life, others are fictional shorts and public awareness films.

Meghana has been involved in education projects and leading animation and drawing workshops at schools for varying groups of people of all ages and backgrounds. She is also involved in part time teaching at the drawing department in the Royal College of Art for MA students from all design and art disciplines.

Meghana also does book illustrations and has recently illustrated a book for young people telling the story of a family and cross- racial adoption. She has a studio in London where she works on large charcoal drawings and animations. Presently, Meghana has head to India, where she has been invited to participate in a six week Artist in Residence programme, which will end with a show in Delhi.



The Animation Therapy team would like to extend a special thank you to the NESTA Innovations in Mental Health team, and the Mental Health Foundation for their foresight, incredible support and guidance in making this project a reality.

We would also like to thank the Exeter Phoenix Arts and Media, Media department for supporting the project in its early stages. Without the teams assistance in jointly signing the seed contract enabling the proof of concept to be written and to grow into Animation Therapy Ltd, this project would not have happened.
There are many individuals and organisations that have given up their free time or gone the extra mile for the project and we would like to thank them for their help and support.

Siobhan Edwards, Laura Dowson, Kathryn Hill, Andrea Robinson, Richard Starzecki, Daphnie Cotton, Caroline Clarke, Joshua Gaunt, Gavin Eddy, Liam Black, Ross Gardner, Sue Britton, Hilary Bailey, Lena Speak, Michael Oliver, Henrietta Island, Jonas Hawkins, Patrick Cunningham, Stuart Mitchell, Alaisdair Wilson, Sam Sherlock, Sarah Ross, Angus Mason, Sally Heard, Fiona Crump, Christoph Steger, Comfort Arthur, Sarah Wickens, Susie Templeton, Bluechilli marketing, Forkbeard Fantasy, Animated Exeter, The X-Centre Exeter and The Cornwall School for Social Entrepreneurs.