Jade Peters joins the School as a Psychology Technical Lead. We asked her about herself and her work.
What are your academic/psychology interests?
Throughout my work, I aim to give voices to those with lived experiences. This includes those with mental illnesses, but also spans to trauma, victim blaming, the experience of being ‘female’ in a man-made world, and how our gender can subsequently impact our quality of life, and mental health outcomes. I enjoy working in an environment that promotes inclusivity, accessibility, and engagement. I strive to reflect these values throughout my work, including in research, teaching and resources.
What aspects of your academic work do you find particularly enjoyable and/or rewarding?
Many individuals can sometimes find statistics and methodologies overwhelming, and what I love about the current role is I am being given the opportunity to make this feel less daunting, and enjoyable! Similarly, taking complex ideas, and making them accessible to a wide audience to create impact is another aspect of my work that I find rewarding.
What position have you taken up in the School? What will that involve?
As the new Psychology Technical Lead, I will be working to ensure we uphold a sophisticated technical and statistical approach to research. This means ensuring we are aware, engaged, and utilising cutting edge research methodologies to produce high quality research. I will be working with both staff and students alike to achieve this.
How does it build on (or differ from) what you were doing previously?
Before working at the OU, I gained clinical experience working within the NHS for eating disorders, and other mental health concerns such as psychosis, depression, anxiety, autism, and OCD. However, I shifted my focus to research to allow me to combine my innovative and creative mind-set to tackle stigma, attitudes, accessibility, and engagement of mental health services for service users. For example, I aided the development of the Understanding Voices website, providing information, and support for those who hear voices (see: www.understandingvoices.com) at Durham University, I have also worked on utilising lived experience in video games at Cambridge University and Ninja Theory.
My passion for research using innovative and accessible approaches for mental health has given me the opportunity to collaborate with the design, production, and evaluation of a comedy course ‘Comedy for Coping’, with researchers at University of Kent, and Kings College London. The aim of this course is to use comedy to build connection, confidence, identity, positive thinking, and meaningful life goals within a group setting (see: www.comedyforcoping.com). I continue to be passionate about exploring ‘new’ ways to improve well-being, particularly with placing those with lived experience at the core.
How do you see your research fit within the Open Psychology Research Centre (OPRC)?
My drive to ensure research is impactful and offers opportunity to make positive differences within our society fits nicely within the work being conducted at OPRC. I hope to translate my skills within research to collaborate on other exciting projects within the team and use this experience to broaden my knowledge and skills. I am hoping to focus on work that fits within both social and forensic science, particularly looking at the experience of sexual assault and victim blaming.
What advice would you give to psychology students who would like to follow a similar career path?
Throughout my experience I view every opportunity as a ‘stepping-stone’ and not an end goal. Utilising all my experiences, taking on new challenges, and collaborating with wonderful people has enabled me to gather a broad range of knowledge and skills. For anyone that wants to follow this career path, I suggest saying ‘yes’ to as many different and exciting projects as possible and being proud of all that you have been apart of on the way. Giving yourself time to reflect on this will allow you to see the greater picture of what you have achieved, and where you want to go next.
What are your interests outside work?
Personally, and professionally, I love taking difficult topics, conversations, ideas and making them simple. I enjoy random conversations that allow me to learn things about others, and their stories. When I am not at work, I tend to be walking through forests listening to a podcast or finding a pretty spot to watch the sunset (unless it is a rainy day then I will be inside with a hot choc!).
Thank you Jade, we wish you all the best in your new role!