About this course

Our sixth seminar explores the important role of arts therapies in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, the most significant civil disaster in the UK in recent decades. This seminar will focus on the rapid, flexible, and holistic response necessary in such crises and the critical implementation of arts therapies by the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service. The Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service was established shortly after the tragedy to provide comprehensive NHS mental health support to the bereaved, survivors, the wider community, first responders, and staff members involved. Recognising early on the unique value of arts therapies, the service has developed a diverse, holistic approach to meet the deeply varied needs of a community devastated by such an immense tragedy.

The session will underscore our collaborative endeavours with CNWL NHS Foundation Trust and our engagement with healthcare environments. 

The panel will share insights into the complexities of responding to large-scale emergencies and the therapeutic interventions that support healing and resilience in affected populations.

Event Question: What role can arts therapists have following community crises?


Session Highlights

  • Discussion Panels: Engage with practitioners and leaders about the strategic deployment of arts therapies in disaster response and long-term recovery processes.
  • Experiential Workshops: Participate in sessions led by professional arts therapists, offering hands-on understanding of the therapeutic approaches employed.

This seminar is designed for academics, practitioners, policymakers, and anyone interested in the integration of arts therapies in disaster response frameworks. Attendees will gain insights into the complexities of responding to large-scale emergencies and the therapeutic interventions that support healing and resilience in affected populations.

Ms Teams /Face to face hybrid event

Ladbroke Hall
79 Barlby Rd
London W10 6AZ


2 July 2024


06:00 pm - 08:30 pm


2.5 Hours


Hybrid (in-person/virtual)


  • Allied health
  • Psychological
  • Any Health Care Professional


£5 or £7

CNWL ICAPT & Brunel University Research Seminar Series | Seminar 6


The trainer

Lucy Wood, Nottingdale Resident and Senior Management Team Member, will set the context of the disaster and the immediate response.

Arts Therapists Yara Nasrany, Ursula Kelly, Abby Hubbard and Matteo Merla will provide an in-depth overview of the evolution and impact of the Arts Therapies Team.

Arts Therapies Supervisor Dr Dominik Havsteen-Franklin will offer perspectives that span the history of supervising and the role of the NHS. 

Service User community members and representatives from local organisations will be joining the speakers on the day.


Lucy Wood

Lucy Wood grew up and still lives in Nottingdale, North Kensington, in the flat her family moved into when she was 3 months old and where her sister was born two years later. Her upbringing in a community previously declared the Independent Republic of Frestonia and the homes she grew up in, managed by residents but owned by Notting Hill Genesis, fostered a strong connection to her community and a general suspicion of unquestioned hierarchies.

Most of her professional experience has been in running pubs and restaurants in the local area, and her family has worked in charities in North Kensington over the years. She joined the NHS to gain admin experience, starting in CNWL supporting the directors in HR, but the Grenfell tragedy changed her path significantly.

Her journey in the Grenfell service has been ever-changing, much like the response itself; from Admin lead, whose first job was to coordinate the recruitment of over 70 therapists five weeks after the fire, to Community Liaison Manager and Business Support, to Deputy Community Collaboration Lead, and now as the Community Collaboration Lead. As the only Senior Management Team member from the Nottingdale Ward since setting up the service, Lucy brings context to some of the decision-making and emphasizes the importance of looking at community assets rather than using a deficit model to plan services with communities as opposed to for them.


Ursula Kelly


Ursula Kelly moved to London from Ireland in 2007 to complete an MA in printmaking, after which she received The Circle Line award. This led to a yearlong residency with studio space in ACAVA’s Blechynden Street studios in North Kensington, with access to London Print Studio on the Harrow Road, partly funded by UAL’s Widening Participation department. This marked the beginning of her journey working with community arts and the North Kensington community. Ursula continued to work in community arts and arts in health for the next 14 years, much of this was in and around North Kensington. During this time, she trained to become an art therapist. Prior to joining the NHS Grenfell Health & Wellbeing Service, her clinical work was predominantly within the VAWG (violence against women and girls) sector, working with women and children survivors and victims of domestic and sexual abuse.


Yara Nasrany


Yara Nasrany (she/her) is Lebanese Registered Movement Psychotherapist (R-DMP)

based in between London and Beirut. Yara works as a full time DMP at the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing service, NHS.
Moreover, Yara has facilitated workshops (i.e. bodies in water)  and psychoeducational sessions around culturally informed embodied practices.
Yara’s background in creative and performance arts has allowed her to think creatively about collaborations in aims that support the normalisation and accessibility of mental health support.

Being a Lebanese immigrant, Yara prioritises the importance of being culturally affirming in her practice and continuously works on developing cultural humility in her stance as a practitioner.


Abby Hubbard


Abby Hubbard trained as an art psychotherapist at Goldsmiths in 2008.  She has worked in inpatient, community and rehabilitation mental health settings in the NHS and in schools.  She has lead creative staff support sessions, away days for NHS Iapt services and is currently a trainer for The CaRe Project – which supports teams develop their creativity through interactive workshops. 
For ten years, she led the CNWL Arts in Health Service which developed, led, and delivered numerous projects and programmes that integrated the creative arts into mental healthcare for the therapeutic benefit of participants.
Since November 2017 Abby has worked in the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service, starting within the outreach team then supporting survivors and bereaved family members whilst also facilitating art therapy groups and delivering individual art therapy sessions. Abby has led and been a part of some Arts in Health projects at GHWS including ‘hotels to home’ supporting survivors create their homes after Grenfell and the ‘Healing Space Together’ multi-generational arts project. 


Matteo Merla

Matteo-Merla picture.jpg

Matteo Merta is an art psychotherapist with nine years of experience in both NHS and private practice settings. He is passionate about aiding individuals facing various mental health and social challenges, promoting a safe and nurturing environment, and fostering creativity to facilitate personal growth.
Matteo's professional journey began in 2015 within the NHS, where he has had the privilege of working across diverse clinical contexts, including acute wards, forensic inpatient units, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and since 2017 in the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service. He has worked extensively with individuals affected by a range of mental health difficulties, encompassing personality disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, schizophrenia, self-harm, and relational issues.
In 2018, his specialization evolved towards assisting individuals in their recovery from traumatic experiences. His contributions include participation in the NHS Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service dedicated to aiding victims of Grenfell Fire disaster, spanning individuals, families, and local communities struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma.
Between 2020 and 2022, Matteo undertook advanced training in evidence-based therapeutic modalities focused on children and young people such as Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET) and Children Accelerated Trauma Technique (CATT). These approaches complement his art therapy practice or can function as standalone interventions. He has also cultivated an awareness of the broader impact of therapeutic interventions on clients’ systems, which includes family, friends, school, and the local community.
More recently, in response to the challenges posed by the pandemic and other global events, he has completed training in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). His approach incorporates various therapeutic techniques, such as talk therapy, art, integrative creative models, mindfulness, and the integration of modern technologies, including photography, computers, and Virtual Reality. 

Additionally, some of his other interests include:

  • Educational Commitment: Beyond my clinical practice, I have been offering art therapy summer schools and foundation courses at renowned institutions in the UK, including Roehampton University, Brunel University, and Art Academy London since 2017.
  • Team and Well-being Enhancement: Since 2019, I have been a part of the NHS CARE Project, dedicated to assisting healthcare teams and organizations in recovering from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. My contributions include facilitating team-building and well-being workshops for NHS staff, corporate entities, and educational institutions.
  • International Outreach: My journey as an art therapist extends globally, involving humanitarian projects in the UK, Italy, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Greece. My mission is to uncover the therapeutic potential of creativity within diverse communities, including refugees, orphans, war survivors, and individuals with chronic physical illnesses.



Seminar Chair:

Professor Dominik Havsteen-Franklin 


Dominik Havsteen-Franklin (b. 1972) is a British Art Therapist and Clinical Academic of international acclaim, known for his pioneering work in the areas of arts and health. With a dedication to exploring and advancing innovative models of arts-based intervention, he investigates the transformative potential of body movement, musicality, and visual image making within healthcare and public domains. 
Presently holding the position of Professor of Practice in Arts Therapies at Brunel University London, Dominik is instrumental in developing arts-based therapeutic practices. In addition, he serves as a Consultant in Arts Psychotherapies for CNWL NHS Foundation Trust. A founding member and Vice President for the European Federation of Art Therapy, Dominik's leadership extends beyond borders, fostering a collaborative and dynamic interdisciplinary terrain for art therapy on an international scale. 

Recent Publications: 

  • Huss, E., Havsteen-Franklin, D., (2023). Developing a theory of social art therapy: Insights from the context of crisis. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 85, 102066. 
  • Havsteen-Franklin, D., de Knoop, J., Agtarap, T., Hackett, S., & Haeyen, S. (2023). Evaluation of an arts therapies approach to team development for non-acute healthcare teams in low control and high-pressure environments. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 83, 102003. 
  • Havsteen-Franklin, D., Cooper, J., & Anas, S. (2023). Developing a logic model to support creative education and wellbeing in higher education. Cogent Education, 10(1), 2214877.