Research Overview

The overall purpose of our research

The research carried out at the Field Centre and our sister centres, the Life Science Centre in Scotland and the Castelliz Centre in Wales, directly supports the charitable objects of Ruskin Mill Trust (RMT). It aims to improve our practice with students, evidence the benefits of our approach, and deepen staff understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of our Practical Skills Therapeutic Education method.

We further these aims through three kinds of research in particular:

  • Practitioner research by staff for staff

  • Goethean research to develop our theoretical basis

  • Outcomes-oriented research for external stakeholders

Find out more about our research activities at the Field Centre


Our research consultant Dr Laurence Cox, and applied researcher Dr Gill Nah provide the research infrastructure that supports around 20 active researchers, both with the Trust and externally.

Research and HE management

Chair of the Board of Trustees, Ruskin Mill Land Trust

·         Professor Alison Brown (Professor of Urban Planning and Development, Cardiff University / Prifysgol Caerdydd)

Patron of the Ruskin Mill Centre for Practice

·         Professor Gert Biesta (Professor of Educational Theory and Pedagogy, University of Edinburgh; Professor of Public Education, National University of Ireland Maynooth; Visiting Professor, University of Agder, Norway)

Research Consultant, The Field Centre

·         Professor Laurence Cox (Professor of Sociology, National University of Ireland Maynooth)

Applied Researcher and MA Course Leader, The Field Centre

·         Dr Gill Nah (EdD in Higher Education, Kingston University; formerly Course Leader for the MA, Postgraduate and Graduate Certs, University for the Creative Arts, Surrey)

Director of Ruskin Mill Centre for Practice (RMCP) and Hiram Education and Research Team (HEaRT)

·      Dr Keith Griffiths


Associate researchers

Our associate researchers are primarily based in academic institutions and also carry out research at the Field Centre:

·         Dr Judyth Sassoon (Research Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol)

·         Dr Troy Vine (Humboldt University Berlin).

Collaborative projects 

MA (Practical Skills Therapeutic Education), delivered by Ruskin Mill and validated by the University of Huddersfield

·         Professor Liz Bennett – Academic Liaison officer

·         Professor David Timms (Professor of English and former Vice Chancellor, Bath Spa University) – consultant

 MA (Special Education, jointly delivered with Inland University Norway)

·         Professor Rune Hausstatter (Head of Dept of Pedagogy, Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences) – INN course lead

 External research on Ruskin Mill outcomes

·         Dr Margi Lennartsson Turner (Associate Professor, Centre for Agroecology and Water, Coventry University)

·         Dr Geraldine Brown (Assistant Professor, Centre for Agroecology and Water, Coventry University)

Doctoral Research

The Field Centre is pleased to confirm its responsibility for undertaking PhD level research, specifically research to ensure the vibrancy and quality of the Trust’s method. All research undertaken serves to develop staff practice for the benefit of and impact on student progression.

To further this, Ruskin Mill Trust is sponsoring the following PhD research:




Berni Courts

Coventry University

Field 3 Biodynamic Ecology

Victoria Reakes

Exeter University

Field 4 Therapeutic Education

Matt Briggs

Sheffield Hallam University

Field 2 Practical Skills

Constantin Court

Sheffield University

Field 4 Therapeutic Education

Ricardo Pereira

Coventry University

Field 3 Community Supported Agriculture

Simon Reakes

Royal Holloway, University of London

Field 1 Genius Loci

Elaine Holt

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London

Field 6, Holistic Medicine

Chloe Hindmarsh

Senior Lecturer, Social Sciences and Humanities, Sheffield Hallam University and PhD Student


“There may be a difference between seeing and seeing… The eyes of the spirit have to work in perpetual living connection with those of the body, for otherwise one risks seeing yet seeing past a thing.”

— Goethe

Other research-active staff

Our strapline of “practice enhanced research – research enhanced practice” is brought to life at every level within the Trust, as Ruskin Mill staff as well as external candidates complete dissertations for our MA in Practical Skills Therapeutic Education, carry out research projects in the context of our various courses in craft, biodynamics, residential care and so on, or carry out independent research projects on other aspects of their practice. Research roundups in the Field Centre Journal of Research and Practice, in-house seminars and contributions to staff training ensure that this research continually feeds back into the practice of the Trust and hence benefits students.

Place, Craft and Neurodiversity – Re-imagining Potential through Education at Ruskin Mill

A new book written by Aonghus Gordon OBE and Laurence Cox, with a foreword by Stefan Geider MD.

Find out more

The Field Centre Journal of Research and Practice presents research carried out within and around the Field Centre, and more broadly, work which shares our research themes.

View the Field Centre Journal online


Additional documents and information

Sensory Audit

Children’s Sensory Therapy Ltd were requested to complete a “short audit of three crafts, namely blacksmithing, greenwood work and wool work, pointing out the potential therapeutic and educational benefits to a young person.

Download the sensory audit to find out more