Dr Niamh Kinsella is a Lecturer within the Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh. Niamh also has affiliations with RCOT and HCPC


Niamh is a HCPC registered occupational therapist. Her professional practice work has been varied, and her research and recent practice has been with older people and people living with dementia. Niamh’s particular focus in practice has always been on enabling people to continue to engage in occupation through ageing and dementia.

As a practice-based educator, she always had a strong interest in enabling students to use occupation and be occupational in their practice. Having studied as a post-graduate student at QMU (MSc in Occupational Therapy [pre-reg] and PhD), she returned to work with the occupational therapy team at QMU in 2022. She currently contributes to teaching and learning across all programme routes (undergraduate and post-graduate) and has a particular interest in facilitating learning about occupation-focused practice and professional identity.

Niamh is also part of a number of national and international networks. She currently co-leads the Dementia forum for RCOT Older Persons Specialist Section.

Research Interests

Research Overview: 

In 2018, Niamh was awarded her PhD from QMU, entitled Realising authentic occupational therapy through professional artistry: Uncovering the nature and context of practice for persons living with dementia.  

Niamh’s research interests are closely related to her practice and research experience, with many of her publications focusing on reflection, professional artistry and learning processes that enable occupation-focused practice. Her current research interests include: organizational context and professional identity, using occupation in practice, occupation-based education.

Niamh has particular interest in the use of creative methodologies and methods for action-based research. She has experience in doing case study research, using observational, dialogical and reflection-based methods, and creative hermeneutic analysis.

Niamh supervises undergraduate and post-graduate student dissertations also.

Niamh is also an Associate of the Centre for Person-centre Practice Research.

Teaching and Learning

Niamh contributes to teaching and learning activities across all occupational therapy programme routes. She currently co-ordinates modules related to:

  • Foundations of occupational therapy practice
  • Occupational therapy processes and practice
  • Professional autonomy and critical learning

Niamh focuses on facilitating learning about occupation-centred practice through reflection and reflexivity, occupation as a practice process, occupational justice, and knowledge about professional and organizational contexts.

Activities and Awards

PhD Occupational Therapy 2018