Dr Ellie Farmahan

Co-Director, Straeon

Ellie Farmahan (formerly Ellie Byrne) is a researcher and project manager with a particular interest in creative methods, health inequalities, political engagement, wellbeing and policy. She has been an academic researcher at Cardiff University and continues her research as Co-Director of an independent research company in Wales.

I have a diverse track record in qualitative research, evaluation and project management, ranging from formal evaluations of health interventions to performance-based debate, theatre and film making.










  • Qualitative research and evaluation
  • Arts-based methodologies
  • Communities and representation
  • Creativity and health
  • Health inequalities

Representing communities: developing the creative power of people to improve health and well-being.

Principal Investigator: Prof Gareth Williams (later Dr Eva Elliott)
Co-investigators: Dr Eva Elliott, Cardiff University; Dr Clare Barker, University of Leeds; Dr Qulsom Fazil, Birmingham University; Dr Sarah-Anne Munoz, University of the Highlands and Islands; Dr Roiyah Saltus, University of South Wales; Dr Peter Seaman,Glasgow Centre for Population Health
Collaborators: 3 Gs Development Trust; Birmingham City Council; Butetown History of Arts; Cardiff Council; Centre for Regeneration Excellence Wales; Glasgow Life; NHS; Greater Glasgown and Clyde; NHS Highlands; National Theatre Wales
Duration: From 2013 to 2017

The aim of this project was to establish how community representations produced through creative arts practices (e.g. story-telling, performance, visual art) can be used as forms of evidence to inform health-related policy and service development. This study will develop methods for using creative art forms as a mode of communication and knowledge exchange.
The project took place across five distinct case-study communities in Wales, Scotland and England and connect these to relevant policy-makers, researchers and arts practitioners in each country. We explored how perceptions and experiences of community health and well-being vary across time and changing circumstances, and how communities and the people living in them are represented in relation to key differences and divisions relating to gender, class, ethnicity and age.
The research critically analysed existing representations (both artistic and ‘formal’) of each community, focusing on the factors that influence health and well-being, in order to develop frameworks and methods for integrating these analyses into qualitative research and policy discourse.
We considered how representations vary in their form and content, and we also looked at the fields of production (who created it?), the fields of reception (who is seeing it?) and the field of interpretation (how do people respond to it?).

See also: The People’s Platform: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23udn6LYncU

Education and qualifications

  • 2014: PhD (Social Sciences) UWE, Bristol
  • 2005: MSc Sociological Research, Manchester University
  • 2004: BA(Hons) Sociology, UWE, Bristol

Career overview

  • 2007 – 2020: Research Associate, Cardiff University
  • 2005 – 2007: Research Associate, University of the West of England, Bristol

Academic positions

  • 2007 – 2020: Research Associate, Cardiff University
  • 2005 – 2007: Research Associate, University of the West of England, Bristol