Elvin Williams is a Lecturer within the Occupational Therapy and Arts Therapies Division.

I graduated as an occupational therapist in 2003, from the University of the Western Cape, South Africa and later pursued my M.Phil. in infant mental health at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Before moving to Scotland I worked as a lecturer in occupational therapy and served on the Board of an NGO, working with infants and mothers at risk.  As a clinician, I worked in the areas of infant, child and adolescent mental health, physical rehabilitation (burns and plastic surgery, orthopedics, neurology, vascular surgery) and work practice. In addition to my clinical experience, I served in several regional and national OT leadership positions in South Africa, notably as the Vice President: Policy and Strategic Development for the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA), and Chief Operating Officer (COO) for OTASA.


I am passionate about working with “persons and groups on the margins” and in my spare time, I enjoy walking my dog, reading, singing in the choir and spending time with loved ones.


Affiliated Organisations:

  • Member of the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT)

  • Member of the Occupational Therapy Association of South Africa (OTASA)

  • Member of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT)

My research focusses on the relationship between the occupational human, the socio-political factors impacting engagement, occupational identity (ies) and resilience. My research has involved working with sex workers, university students who identity as LGBTQI+, infants born with “ambiguous genitalia”, community care workers and socially responsive service development and leadership in occupational therapy.

Active research interests:

  • Sexual and gender minority identities in Occupational Therapy education
  • Socially responsive Occupational Therapy practice education
  • Intersectional identities and ageing
  • Intergenerational poverty, mental health, wellness and resilience
  • Occupational Justice
  • Leadership in Occupational Therapy

Research Methods:

  • Qualitative
  • Ethnography
  • Narrative
  • Critical Participatory Action Research
  • Cowley, B., Lachman, A., Williams, E., & Berg, A. (2020). “I Know That It's Something That's Creating a Bond”: Fathers' Experiences of Participating in Baby Theater with Their Infants in South Africa. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 11. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.580038
  • Williams, E, de Witt P (2020). Guest Editorial. Voices from the margins. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 50 (2), pp. 2-4.
  • Williams, E, et.al. (2019). The first 1000 days of life and infant mental health: Perceptions of community care workers in the Drakenstein Municipality of the Western Cape. Unpublished thesis: Stellenbosch University, Department of Psychiatry.
  • Andries, C., Cowley, B., Nhlanhla, L., Noble, J., Whittaker, T., Williams, E., Wirz, B., Lachman, A., Berg, A. and Richter, L., 2018. Could or should a robot rear a baby? Perspectives in Infant Mental Health, 26(2-3).
  • Williams, E, et al (2017). Guest Editorial: Rehabilitation – strengthening advocacy for change. It’s time to act. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. 47 (3), pp.2.
  • Williams, E. (2015). Creating Partnerships for Change: Transformational Leadership within Public Health Occupational Therapy. Focus, 2, pp. 41 - 43.

I contribute to teaching and learning activities across all occupational therapy programme routes, with a particular focus on: foundations of occupational therapy practice; health, wellness, impairment and disability; intersectionality and oppression; occupational transitions.