Ella Simpson


Personal statement

Ella Simpson has taught at Bath Spa University since 2014 and has supported the development of the BSc Criminology programme at the University. In 2017 Ella was awarded a (Rising Star) Teaching Fellowship by the University and has twice been nominated for a Students’ Union Teaching Award. Ella’s teaching specialisms include narrative, cultural and convict criminology along with expertise in the the theory and practice of creative arts interventions in criminal justice settings.

Ella’s PhD research focuses on the role of creative writing practitioners in arts interventions with prisoners. She is particularly interested in how the life stories of practitioners may influence processes of change for both prisoners and practitioners, both in the arts and in the wider criminal justice sector. Ella is a funded member of the University of Sheffield CRIMVOL international criminal justice voluntary sector research network, where she contributes specialist knowledge of arts organisations in the criminal justice sector. She has recently completed work on an evaluation of a music programme run by Birmingham Youth Offending Service, and is currently part of the research team for a Ministry of Justice funded evaluation of a fashion project in the women’s estate.

Before joining Bath Spa, Ella worked for over a decade as a freelance creative writing facilitator in the prison estate in England and Wales and she brings this practical knowledge and expertise to her teaching and research.

Academic qualifications

  • BA Creative Writing and Publishing
  • MA Advanced Theatre Practice.


  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Other external roles

  • British Academy/University of Sheffield funded member of the CRIMVOL international criminal justice voluntary sector research network
  • Member of the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance Research Committee
  • Member of HMPPS/NCJAA Arts Practice Development Thematic Group
  • Chair of Not Shut Up magazine.

  • Arts Interventions in Criminal Justice
  • Narrative Criminology
  • Cultural Criminology
  • Convict Criminology.


  • Radio Interview: A Brush With Nature (2016) Prison Radio Association, October. Available at: https://soundcloud.com/prisonradioassociation/a-brush-with-nature-october-2016 (Accessed 25.08.2017)
  • Conference Convenor: Criminal Research: Writing Wrongs in Creative Arts in Prisons (2016) A full-day conference bringing together creative arts practitioners, criminal justice workers and academics from a range of disciplines to discuss the future of the arts in prisons.

Academic outputs

  • Caulfield, L.S., Curtis, K & Simpson (2017). An independent evaluation of Making for Change: skills in Fashion Training & Manufacturing Workshop: Interim report. London College of Fashion/Ministry of Justice.
  • McAleese, S., Simpson, E. & Hughes, N. (2017) The Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice: Setting the Research Agenda. Conference Report for University of Sheffield/British Academy/Socio-Legal Studies Association.
  • Simpson, E. (2017). Authoring Desistance: The role of practitioners in creative interventions. Paper presented at the Second Narrative Criminology Symposium, Oslo, Norway.
  • Caulfield, L.S., Simpson, E. & Jacobs, C. (2017). Improving resilience and well-being through the arts: exploring methodologies using an example of research in youth justice. Paper presented at the Culture, Health and wellbeing international conference, Bristol, UK.
  • Simpson, E. (2017) Bad Stories Making Good: Creative Writing in Prison. Guest paper presented to the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, Bath, UK.
  • Caulfield, L. S., Simpson, E. & Jacobs, C. (2016). An evaluation of the Youth Offending Service Youth Music Project. Grant report to Birmingham Youth Offending.
  • Simpson, E. (2016) Stories are Good: Celebrating Creative Writing with the Koestler Awards. Guest paper presented at HMP Wakefield, Wakefield, UK.
  • Simpson, E. (2015) The Story of Crime: Offending scientific tradition and the role of crime fiction’. Paper presented at the Captivating Criminality III conference, Bath, UK.
  • Simpson, E. and Morgan, C. (2015) Creative Collaborations: A Case Study. Paper presented at ERSC Knowledge Exchange event, Bath, UK.
  • Simpson, E. (2016). ‘From Corrections to Connections: Understanding the Role of Creative Arts in Prison’, Bath Spa University Research Blog, 6 September. Available at: https://bsuresearchblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/phd-spotlight-3-from-corrections-to-connections-understanding-the-role-of-creative-arts-in-prisons/(Accessed: 5 May 2017).

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