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

Meet the team

Alex Clarke

Alex Clarke is a consultant clinical and health psychologist.

Clare Clements

Clare Clements has a background in Health Psychology and qualitative and mixed methods health research. Clare started her PhD in January 2023 which is developing a tool to identify the support needs of people with visible differences.

Ella Guest

Dr Ella Guest is a Research Fellow; she is currently working with the Social Media Stream on a project aiming to understand how people with visible differences use social media in relation to their condition.

Professor Diana Harcourt

Professor Diana Harcourt is a health psychologist and, with Dr Amy Slater, the co-lead (Principal Investigator) for this programme of work. She is leading the stream of work focussing on supportive interventions, offering expertise and experience in leading large appearance-related research programmes.

Abbi Matthews

Abbi Matthews is PhD student with previous experience working within the VTCT Foundation team at the Centre for Appearance Research. Her PhD involves investigating the role of social media in reducing stigma towards people with visible differences.

Dr Amy Slater

Dr Amy Slater is, with Professor Diana Harcourt, the co-lead (Principal Investigator) for this programme of work. She is leading the stream of work focussing on social media and has internationally recognised expertise in the area of social media use and appearance-related concerns.

Rosie Thomas

Rosie Thomas is the research administrator for the team. She works part time and is studying to be a counsellor.

Dr Maia Thornton

Dr Maia Thornton is a Research Fellow; she is currently working on developing an ACT-based intervention focused on intimacy and relationships for adults with a visible difference, and an intervention to support parents of children and young people with appearance-altering conditions or injuries.

Dr Pippa Tollow

Dr Pippa Tollow is a Senior Research Fellow in the VTCT Foundation Research Team at the Centre for Appearance Research, as well as a Senior Lecturer in Health Psychology and HCPC-registered Health Psychologist. Her research primarily focuses on the psychosocial impact of appearance altering conditions, as well as interventions to support these individuals. 

Emma Waite

Emma Waite joined the Centre for Appearance Research in November 2023 as a Research Associate working with the VTCT Foundation team. She completed her MSc Health Psychology at UWE Bristol in 2021 and is currently undertaking her Professional Doctorate in Health Psychology. Her doctoral research focuses on the experiences of LGBTQIA+ young people with visible differences.

Professor Paul White

Professor Paul White is an experienced applied statistician providing guidance on projects.

Dr Fabio Zucchelli

Dr Fabio Zucchelli is a Research Fellow; he is currently working to develop psychological support, training and public education on visible difference in the UK.

The VTCT Foundation team

The VTCT team is made up of experts in the field of appearance research.

Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT) Foundation team members

Contact us

For any enquiry, please contact Rosie Thomas, VTCT Foundation Research Administrator at rosie.thomas@uwe.ac.uk.

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

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