Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) Foundation project

Find out more about the work of the VTCT Foundation and meet the team.

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 The 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.

Find out more about The VTCT Foundation


The Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) run 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, likely to focus on understanding the experiences and needs of individuals with visible difference from ethnic minority groups. Details will be given when confirmed.

Previous workshops

Meet the team

Name Role
Radhika Bhatia

Radhika has a MSc in Applied Clinical Psychology. In her VTCT Foundation role, she has contributed towards a systematic review, recruitment and data collection in a large new study for young people with visible differences, and data analysis of a large quantitative study.

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.

Professor Diana Harcourt

Diana is overseeing our work on the programme, offering expertise and experience in leading large appearance research programmes.

Abbi Matthews

Abbi is supporting work on the VTCT Foundation project, and has particular interests in visible difference and body image among children and young people, online/digital mental health interventions and promoting acceptance of appearance diversity.

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.

Dr Nick Sharratt

Nick is working on projects linked to visible difference and romantic relationships, how interpersonal interactions connected to the disclosure of and conversations connected to appearance altering conditions are experienced, men's experiences having of alopecia and receiving support.

Dr Amy Slater

Amy has internationally recognised expertise in the area of social media use and appearance-related concerns.

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.

Fabio Zucchelli

Fabio is involved in our work on psychosocial interventions for people with a visible difference, with specific expertise in mindfulness-based interventions such as Acceptance Commitment Therapy.  

Contact us

For any enquiry, please contact Bruna Costa, VTCT Foundation Research Coordinator, by:

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

Alternatively, contact the Centre for Appearance Research (CAR) office.

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