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Dr Sofia Vougioukalou

Research Fellow, Y Lab

School of Social Sciences


I am a qualitative health services researcher with a background in medical anthropology, user-centred design and evaluation. I have experience of co-production in healthcare settings using Experience-Based Co-Design, Appreciative Inquiry, Participatory Action Research and Participatory Rural Appraisal. My current research is focussed on evidencing the impact of artistic engagement on human health. My past research has contributed to the evaluation and foundational understanding of the integration of lay and experiential knowledge into health service improvement for long-term conditions such as cancer and dementia. I use approaches of medical anthropology such as ethnographic and visual methods to understand patients’ experiences of illness, treatment and survivorship. I use patient and public involvement and engagement to identify culturally-appropriate ways to engage service users in research, service improvement and impact-generating activities. My goal is to contribute to the delivery of speedier inexpensive innovation in health and social care services through engaged research.

Honours and awards

2021: Dementia Friendly Wales (2021) Diversity Award - Winner (individual category)

2019- 2020: Dementia care experiences – understanding diversity, implementing equality, creating shared learning[AM1] , HEFCW, PI

 Nov 2017- 2020: Understanding how to facilitate continence for people with dementia in acute hospital settings: raising awareness and improving care, NIHR (Researcher-led),  £508,000, role: co-applicant with responsibility for patient, carer and public involvement and engagement

Dec 2016-Nov 2017: The human cost of cancer: addressing the unique physical, emotional and financial implications of facing cancer while living alone, Tenovus Cancer Care Innovation Grant, £29,700, PI

2016: Development of a self-sustaining community of Huntington’s disease walkers in Wales, Wellcome Trust ISSF – Public Engagement, £9,700, co-applicant

2015-2016: Staff experiences of transition from active to palliative care for teenagers and young adult patients with cancer, School of Healthcare Sciences, CU funded

2014-2016: Participatory action research to improve the health needs of male prisoners in Wales, Public Health Wales, £5,000, role: external expert on co-production workshop facilitation

2012: Assessing participatory research impact and legacy, JISC, £25,000, role: CI with responsibility for health research impact analysis

Academic positions

2019-present: Research Fellow in Arts and Health, Y Lab, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University

2014- 2019: Research Associate in Health Services Research, School of Healthcare Sciences, Cardiff University

2013 - 2014: Public Engagement Associate for Health Research, Elizabeth Blackwell Institute (Wellcome Trust) & Integrative Epidemiology Unit (MRC), University of Bristol

2011- 2013: Research Associate and Research Design Service Advisor, Department of Primary Care and Public Health Sciences, King’s College London

2010- 2011: Senior Lecturer in Knowledge Transfer, Centre for Health and Social Care Research, Canterbury Christ Church University

2007-2009: Research and Evaluation Consultant, Department of Social Work, Health and Community, Canterbury Christ Church University

2008-2011: Associate Lecturer, Centre for Flexible Learning  & School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent

2004- 2010: Research and Teaching Assistant, School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent

Committees and reviewing

Research rep for Research Pathways Working Group, Cardiff University Research Staff Association and Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University.

Expert reviewer on co-production for grant applications to the National Institute for Health Research and General Nursing Council Trust.

Manuscript reviewer for PLOS One, BMJ, Journal of Health Organisation and Management, Ethnography, European Journal of Cancer Care.

Associate Editor for Arts and Health journal.











  • Vougioukalou, S. 2010. Responding to the 'big society': flexible curriculum development for the voluntary sector. Presented at: University Vocational Awards Council Annual Conference, York, England, 11-12 November 2010 Presented at University Vocational Awards Council, . ed.The Future Agenda for Higher Level Skills and Work-Based Learning Seminar Papers from the University Vocational Awards Council Annual Conference. Bolton: University Vocational Awards Council pp. 35-46.

I am the lead researcher in Y Lab's Arts and Health programme.


  • Arts and health/creative methodologies
  • Cross-cultural healthcare and ethnic minority health
  • Dementia

Current supervision

Sami Alanazi

Research student

Manal Ali Hamithi

Research student

Jonathan Flint

Research student