Dr Catherine Heinemeyer

I am a storyteller and researcher with a practice-based PhD in storytelling with adolescents, and extensive experience of both long- and short-term residencies in educational, mental health, heritage, ecological and community settings. My doctoral research was located within the International Centre for Arts and Narrative (ICAN) at York St John University and York Theatre Royal (see online portfolio). I lecture and research in socially engaged theatre and storytelling practice.

Further Information


My research and practice explore the potential of storytelling to provide an alternative forum and language for dialogue across social barriers, particularly in the context of the rapidly changing challenges facing young people.  I have disseminated this research widely through conference papers, journal articles, performances, a book chapter, and training sessions for a broad range of practitioner audiences. I am also an experienced lecturer and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

My current action research collaboration with the Faculty of Education at Leeds Beckett University, 'Journeys We Make', uses Homer's Odyssey to facilitate creative dialogue around identity and migration in schools.

My other main research projects are around mental health - investigating the role of Out Of Character Theatre Company in members' lives and recovery, and coordinating the ‘Things As They Are’ network. This brings together a network of young artists using the arts to open up creative conversations about the root causes of the apparent crisis in adolescent mental health.

As my pilot mini-festival of ‘art in strange times’ and short video exemplifies, I wish to make audible what this collective response is communicating – through the emotionally engaged, multi-layered, oblique channel enabled by the arts.  If it were a social movement, what would be its demands? A platform for this perspective in public and professional discourse is a prerequisite for any social changes which might create a healthier growing environment for young people.


Heinemeyer, Catherine (forthcoming) 'Adventures in storyhacking: facilitating indirect inter-community dialogue through storytelling'. Teaching Artist Journal 16:3-4. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11861.27361

Heinemeyer, Catherine (2018) 'Mental health crisis in teens is being magnified by demise of creative subjects in school'. TheConversation.com, 03/09/2018. https://theconversation.com/mental-health-crisis-in-teens-is-being-magnified-by-demise-of-creative-subjects-in-school-102383

Heinemeyer, Catherine (2018) 'The dying art of storytelling in the classroom'. TheConversation.com, 11/04/2018. https://theconversation.com/the-dying-art-of-storytelling-in-the-classroom-93088

Heinemeyer, Catherine (2017) 'Embracing indeterminacy in participatory storytelling'. In Reason, Matthew and Rowe, Nick (eds.) Applied Practice: Evidence and Impact in Theatre, Music and Art,​ London: Methuen Drama, 238-245.

Link to RaY homepage: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/cgi/users/home?screen=User%3A%3AHomepage

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