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Dr Helen Owton

Profile summary

  • Central Academic Staff
  • Lecturer in Sport and Fitness
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • School of Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • Childhood, Youth and Sport
  • h.owton

Professional biography

Helen is a chartered psychologist (BPS) and Senior Fellow (HEA) and completed her PhD in Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter. Helen first joined the Open University in 2012 and prior to joining the Sport and Fitness team in 2015, she was Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader at De Montfort University and has previously worked at other universities (e.g. University of Exeter, University of Bath, and University of Northampton). Also, she has done various consultancy work with other companies in the UK, Spain, Uganda, and Kenya.

Her research specialisms lie in innovative qualitative investigations of sporting embodiment, sensory dimensions (e.g. thermoception), and gendered sporting experiences covering topics that range from women’s boxing, sportspeople with asthma and abuse in sport. In 2015, Helen received the Qualitative Methods in Psychology ‘CITATION FOR EXCELLENCE’ Award (British Psychological Society) in recognition of her innovative research. Helen has externally examined various postgraduate research thesis in and around these areas of interest. She currently supervises a number of PhD students and welcomes applications from future PhD students in the field of Sport and Physical Activity.

After retiring from competing for Great Britain as a national and international competitor in martial arts (3rd Dan Black Belt), she enjoys running, cycling and dance.

Research interests

Helen is Chair of the Sport Research Group (SRG) and her research interests cover a range of topics including women's boxing, boys' dance, sensory dimensions, sexual abuse in sport, athlete domestic violence, athletic identity, professional development in applied sport psychology, athletic mothers, creative methodologies, auto/ethnography, and chronic illnesses (specifically asthma). 

Teaching interests

Helen's teaching spans across two Faculties at the Open University: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS). She contributes to the following modules:

PRODUCTION

E314 Exploring contemporary issues in sport and exercise

  • Author: Study Topic 2: Inequality in sport: What's gender got to do with it?
  • Co-Author: Study Topic 4: That’s so gay! How homophobic is sport?
  • Audio interview: Why study gender in sport?

E117 Introduction to sport and fitness

  • Co-Author: Study Topic 4: How do we make sense of Disability in Sport?
  • Audio-Visual: Meet Team Psych - career paths

DE300 Investigating Psychology

  • Audio interview: Phenomenological Analysis

CHAIR

  • E217 Sport and Conditioning Science into Practice

CO-CHAIR

  • E313 Exploring Psychological Aspects of Athletic Development

Associate Lecturer

  • DD307 Social Psychology
  • DE300 Investigating Psychology 3

Research in Teaching

Impact and engagement

2015 - date    Conference Coordinator for Annual OU Sport Conference.

2011 – 2012    Emergency Health and Nutrition Save the Children UK Programme in North Eastern Province, Kenya, Funded by European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) Department for International Development (DfID)

August 2010    Community Development Through Sport (CDTS), Uganda, Funded by Hampshire FA Community Trust, Principle Investigator

2000 – 2005     Premier Training International Health and Fitness Consultant, Spain

External collaborations

EDITORSHIP

  • 2016 – date    EDITOR IN CHIEF, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin
  • 2012 - date     The Qualitative Report Editorial Board
  • 2010 – 2016    Assistant Editor of Qualitative Methods in Psychology (QMiP) Bulletin
  • 2012 – 2016    Assistant Editor of Psychology of Women’s Section (POWS) Review

GUEST EDITOR

  • 2016    GUEST EDITOR, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin (Special Sport Edition), 22
  • 2016    GUEST EDITOR, Psychology of Women's Section Review (Special Sports Issue on Gender), 18.2
  • 2012    GUEST EDITOR, Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin (Focus on Sports and Performance II), 15
  • 2012    GUEST EDITOR, Psychology of Women's Section Review (Special Sports edition), 14

EXTERNAL EXAMINING / VALIDATIONS

  • Bradford College in partnership with Teeside University (2017-2021)
  • Staffordshire University Validation (2017)
  • Leeds Beckett (Aug 2016)
  • Edge Hill University (2015)
  • Open University (2015)
  • Leicester College (2014-2015)
  • University of Northampton Validation (2013)

AWARDS

  • 2015     Qualitative Methods in Psychology ‘Citation of Excellence’ Award, British Psychological Society
  • 2012     Images in Research Award: ‘The Meaning of Breathing’ was judged to be the best entry in the ‘Enhancing Quality of Life, Health and Creative Output’ category, University of Exeter
  • 2010     Student British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Award, British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Reviewer: Departures in Critical Qualitative Research; Feminism and Psychology; International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology' International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching; International Review of the Sociology of Sport; Journal of the British Philosophy of Sport Association; Psychology of Sport and Exercis; Psychology in Sport and Exercise; Psychology of Women’s Section Review; Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin; Qualitative Research in Education; Research in Sport, Exercise and Health; Sociology of Sport Journal; The Qualitative Report; Women's Studies International Forum

Membership or offices held in learned societies and professional bodies

  • 2013 – date     Brunel International Research Network for Athlete Welfare
  • 2013 – date     National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement (Ambassador)
  • 2010 – date     Higher Education Academy (Senior Fellow)
  • 2009 - date      British Psychology Society (BPS) Chartered Membership (CPsychol)
  • 2007-2012       British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Publications

Sorry (2018)
Owton, Helen
Journal of Poetry Therapy, 31(2) ((In Press))
‘It stays with you’: multiple evocative representations of dance and future possibilities for studies in sport and physical cultures (2017)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 9(1) (pp. 49-55)
Exploring Lived Heat, “Temperature Work,” and Embodiment: Novel Auto/Ethnographic Insights from Physical Cultures (2017)
Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn; Vaittinen, Anu; Jennings, George and Owton, Helen
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography ((Early Access))
A/r/tographic inquiry in sport and exercise research: A pilot study examining methodology versatility, feasibility and participatory opportunities (2017)
McMahon, Jennifer; MacDonald, Abbey and Owton, Helen
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7(4) (pp. 403-417)
Challenging conceptions of gender: UK dance teachers’ perceptions of boys and girls in the ballet studio (2017)
Clegg, Helen; Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
Research in Dance Education ((Early view))
The cool stuff!: Gender, dance and masculinity (2016-10)
Clegg, Helen; Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
Psychology of Women Section Review, 18(2) (pp. 6-16)
“I wanted to be Darcey Bussell”: Motivations and expectations of female dance teachers (2016-10)
Owton, Helen; Clegg, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin, 22 (pp. 55-64)
Conformers, contesters, creators: vignettes of asthma identities and sporting embodiment (2016-09-01)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 51(6) (pp. 699-714)
A Father’s Son (2016-09)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Inquiry, 22(7) (pp. 559-560)
Opening up dialogues and airways: using vignettes in research to enrich asthma understandings in sport and exercise (2016)
Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn; Owton, Helen and Crust, Lee
Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 8(4) (pp. 352-364)
Response [refers to Lucy Gibson, Jessica Kearney, Lucy Everson, Jonny Coppel, Rahul Chodhari, Childhood Asthma: A Narrative Approach (2016)
Owton, Helen; Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Siriwardena, Niro
Chest, 149(1) (p 283)
Tough Old Boots (2016)
Owton, Helen
Psychology of Women Section Review, 18(1)
In conversation with… Lara A. King (2016)
Owton, Helen
Psychology of Women Section Review, 18(1)
A student-parent international experience. (2015-09)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Methods in Psychology Bulletin, 20 (pp. 15-17)
Using a narrative approach to enhance clinical care for patients with asthma (2015-07)
Owton, Helen; Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Siriwardena, Niroshan
Chest, 148(1) (pp. 288-293)
Performative embodiment and unravelling grandparent-grandchild relationships (2015-06)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Inquiry, 21(5) (pp. 426-435)
Intense embodiment: senses of heat in women’s running and boxing (2015-06)
Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Owton, Helen
Body & Society, 21(2) (pp. 245-268)
Sexual abuse and the grooming process in sport: Bella’s story. (2015)
Owton, Helen and Sparkes, Andrew C.
Sport, Education and Society ((Early Access))
Take a deep breath: Asthma, sporting embodiment and ‘auditory work’ (2014-10)
Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn and Owton, Helen
International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 49(5) (pp. 592-608)
Close but not too close: friendship as method(ology) in ethnographic research encounters. (2014-06)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 43(3) (pp. 283-305)
“It’s my dream to work with Olympic athletes”: neophyte sport psychologists' expectations and initial experiences regarding service delivery (2014-05-08)
Owton, Helen; Bond, Katherine and Tod, David
Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 26(3) (pp. 241-255)
Emerging feminisms (2014-05)
Owton, Helen
Psychology of Women Section Review, 16(1)
Team mums: team sport experiences of athletic mothers (2014-04)
Batey, Jo and Owton, Helen
Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal, 22(1) (pp. 30-36)
Book review: Playing with purpose: Adventures in performative social science (2014-02)
Owton, Helen
Feminism and Psychology, 24(1) (pp. 136-141)
A review of the Brunel International Research Network for Athlete Welfare (BIRNAW) International Symposium (2014)
Owton, Helen
Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology Review, 10(3) (pp. 107-109)
Book review: Leaning: A Poetics of Personal Relations (2014)
Owton, Helen
Journal of Poetry Therapy, 27(3) (pp. 157-160)
Book review: Advances in Visual Methodology (2014)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Research in Psychology, 11(1) (pp. 115-117)
Integrating multiple representations: fighting asthma (2013-10)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Inquiry, 19(8) (pp. 600-603)
Interfacing with older LGBT citizens (2013-09)
Owton, Helen
Psychology of Women Section Review, 15(2) (pp. 73-74)
Ecotherapy: Healing with nature in mind (2013-07-04)
Owton, Helen
European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling, 15(3) (pp. 300-302)
Narrative affinities of the lived experiences of asthma and sporting embodiment (2013-07)
Owton, Helen
Leisure Studies Association Newsletter(95) (pp. 30-36)
Beyond the book: new forms of academic communication (2013-05-01)
Owton, Helen
QmiP Bulletin(15) (pp. 42-45)
Transformational (the sporting self and the onset of asthma) (2013-04-19)
Owton, Helen
Sociological Imagination
Conference review: The State of Play in Women's Sport: The Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference 2012 (2013-02)
Owton, Helen
Sport & Exercise Psychology Review, 9(1)
Events review: Beyond the Book: New Forms of Academic Communicating, London School of Economics and Political Science, 28 February 2013 (2013)
Owton, Helen
QMiP Bulletin(15)
Streams of bereavement (2012-06)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Inquiry, 18(5) (pp. 438-441)
A Review of Innovative QMiP performances at the BPS Annual Conference (2012)
Owton, Helen
QMiP Bulletin(14)
Granny's Memoirs: He thought it was paradise (2011-06)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Inquiry, 17(5) (pp. 459-460)
Granny's Memoirs (2011)
Owton, Helen
Qualitative Inquiry, 17(5) (pp. 459-460)
Doing Poetic inquiry (2017)
Owton, Helen
Palgrave Pivot
ISBN : ISBN 978-3-319-64576-6 | Publisher : Palgrave (In Press)
Sexual Abuse in Sport: A Qualitative Case Study (2016-11-26)
Owton, Helen
ISBN : 978-3319467948 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan (forthcoming) | Published : London
Studying as a Parent: A Handbook for Success (2014-09)
Owton, Helen
Palgrave Student to Student
ISBN : 9781137330574 | Publisher : Palgrave MacMillan | Published : Basingstoke
Athlete Domestic Violence: contaminating acts and the violation of self-boundaries (2017)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
In: Milner, Adrienne and Braddock, II, J.H. eds. Women in Sports: Breaking Barriers, Facing Obstacles ((in press))
Publisher : ABC-CLIO
Reinventing the body-self: intense, gendered and heightened sensorial experiences of women's boxing embodiment. (2015-08)
Owton, Helen
In: Channon, Alexander and Matthews, Christopher R. eds. Global Perspectives on Women in Combat Sport: Women Warriors around the world. Global Culture and Sport Series (pp. 221-236)
ISBN : 9781137439352 | Publisher : Palgrave MacMillan | Published : Basingstoke
The video space in sensitive research: Using arts based methods (2017-05-02)
Owton, Helen
In : The Annual British Psychological Society Conference (3-5 May 2017, Hilton Metropole, Brighton, UK)
Representing taboos in sport: Video representation (2016-08-30)
Owton, Helen
In : 5th International Conference in Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (30 Aug - 01 Sep 2016)
The coolness of dance and masculinity (2016-08)
Owton, Helen; Clegg, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
In : 5th International Conference in Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (30 Aug - 01 Sep 2016, University of Chichester, UK)
Visual Methods Workshop (2016-08)
Owton, Helen
In : 5th International Conference in Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (30 Aug - 01 Sep 2016)
Slow moving arts-based methods in sport (2016-07)
Owton, Helen
In : Psychology of Women's Section Annual Conference (6 - 8 Jul 2016, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor)
"I want to be a ballet teacher just like you”: Gendered Tensions in Dance (2016)
Owton, Helen and Clegg, Helen
In : Gender and Inequalities in Sport Conference (17th March 2016, Milton Keynes, UK)
Performative female boxing embodiment (2015-06)
Owton, Helen
In : Martial Arts Studies Conference (11-12 June 2015, Cardiff University)
“You are very special you know”: sexual abuse and the grooming process in sport (2015)
Owton, Helen and Sparkes, Andrew
In : BPS Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference (8-10 July 2015, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor)
Bella’s Story: Sexual abuse in sport. A video representation of child sexual abuse in sport (2015)
Owton, Helen
In : Psychology of Women’s Section Conference (8-10 July 2015, Cumberland Lodge, Windsor)
Reinventing the female body-self: transcending gender roles and bodily investment in women’s boxing embodiment (2015)
Owton, Helen
In : QMiP Conference 2015 (2-4 September 2015, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge)
Video representation as literature review: child sexual abuse in sport (2015)
Owton, Helen
In : Qualitative Methods in Psychology (September 2015, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge)
It’s scary, scary, scary …”: the lived experience of asthma. (2015)
Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn; Owton, Helen and Siriwardena, Aloysius Niroshan
In : Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust and University of Lincoln Research Forum (25 June 2015, University of Lincoln)
Using social media to raise your profile (2015)
Heaney, Caroline and Owton, Helen
In : Faculty of Education and Language Studies Learning and Teaching Conference, Open University, Milton Keynes (7th October 2015, Milton Keynes)
The lived experiences of asthma in sportspeople: phenomenological perspectives (2013-12-01)
Owton, H. and Allen-Collinson, J.
In : Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust Research Forum (01 December 2013, Sleaford)
Close but not too close (2013)
Owton, H. and Allen-Collinson, J.
In : Qualitative Methods in Psychology Section Conference 2013: Making a difference, making ourselves known (04-06 September 2013, Huddersfield University)
Narrative art of sporting women with asthma (2012)
Owton, Helen
In : BPS Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference (11-13 July 2012, Windsor. UK)
Interviewing 'Granny': balancing the researcher self and the family self (2011)
Owton, H.
In : BPS Psychology of Women Section Annual Conference (13-15 July 2011, Windsor. UK)
Investigating the biographical and lived experiences of (sports) people with asthma: 'Contesters, Conformers, and Creators' (2011)
Owton, H.
In : 26th PsyPAG Annual Conference (6-8 July 2011, University of Bangor)
Problematising the mode of inquiry (2011)
Owton, H.
In : 26th PsyPAG Annual Conference (6-8 July 2011, University of Bangor)
Granny’s story: Trauma, dance, (smoking & drinking) and chronic illness (2010)
Owton, Helen
In : 6th Meeting of the Transnational Working Group for the Study of Gender and Sport (26-27 November 2010, University of Bath)
The 'Coolness' of Sport Psychology (2010)
Owton, H.; Bond, K. and Day, M.
In : British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Student Conference (2010, Aberystwyth University)
Austria Radio interview on Women's EURO 2017 (2017-07-26)
Owton, Helen
Radio FM 4
Pro athletes are helping victims report sexual abuse in youth soccer (2016-12-02)
Owton, Helen
Good Magazine
We must challenge the culture of silence about child sexual abuse in football (2016-11-25)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
How universities can help to support student-parents (2016-09-28)
Owton, Helen
Times Higher Education
Why are Olympic athletes copping so much abuse? It all comes down to gender (2016-08-15)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Adam Johnson guilty: Why is there so much depravity in football? (2016-03-03)
Owton, Helen
International Business Times
Why sportspeople convicted of violence against women forfeit their right to be ‘stars' (2016-03-01)
Owton, Helen and Lazard, Lisa
The Conversation
Why Tyson Fury’s sexist and homophobic comments make him unfit for BBC Sports Personality of the Year (2015-12-07)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Paralympians makes waves on the world stage but disability reform is badly needed (2015-10-26)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Polluted host cities are putting our champion athletes at risk (2015-09-08)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
The astonishing comebacks at the Athletics World Championships (2015-08-24)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
The young dancer of the year misses the pointe about gender (2015-07-21)
Owton, Helen and Clegg, Helen
The Psychology of Women Section Blog
The psychology behind women footballers' remarkable resilience (2015-07-06)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Sport can help with your asthma if you learn how to listen to your body (2015-06-29)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Is the not-so beautiful men’s game putting people off women’s football? (2015-06-26)
Owton, Helen and Doidge, Mark
The Conversation
Learning from Bella’s Story [Video Abstract] (2015-06-25)
Owton, Helen
YouTube
Gains for women at European Games eclipsed by Azerbaijan’s appalling human rights record (2015-06-19)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Women’s World Cup preview: what you need to know (2015-06-05)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Women’s World Cup primes for kick-off amid corruption allegations at FIFA (2015-05-28)
Owton, Helen
The Conversation
Take a deep breath: Asthma and auditory work [Video abstract] (2015-05-01)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
YouTube
Intense embodiment: Senses of Heat [Video Abstract] (2015-04-20)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
YouTube
Studying at university as a single mother (2014-09-26)
Owton, Helen
BigChoice Group Limited
Unlocking single parents’ potential for studying (2014-09-26)
Owton, Helen
Gingerbread
Close but not too close: friendship as method(ology) in ethnographic research encounters (2014)
Owton, Helen and Allen-Collinson, Jacquelyn
Sage [Podcast]
Sexual abuse in sport: a video literature review (2013-09-22)
Owton, Helen
YouTube
Love (2013-04-12)
Owton, Helen
Sociological Imagination

News

Improving wellbeing through digital games

Dr Hannah R. Marson, Research Fellow in the Health & Wellbeing Priority Research Area, and organiser of the upcoming Digital Health & Wellbeing Conference, was interviewed by eldercare.org to discuss how research using digital games and associated technologies has been investigated in the area of health and wellbeing. Read the full article: Technology and Gaming for the Elderly: Improving Wellbeing.

20th November 2017
See all

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