Chris Essen

Involvement Facilitator

Faculty of Health and Wellbeing

Harrington Building, HA207

+44 (0) 1772 89 5404

Subject Areas: Geography and Environment, Health, Psychology, Social Care, Sociology

Chris is currently responsible for facilitating, supporting and developing the involvement of health service users and their carers within healthcare professional education and research. He does this as a member of the Comensus team, which works across a number of schools at UCLan to assist authentic community engagement and involvement. He has previously worked for both statutory and voluntary health sector organisations, and carried out qualitative research in the areas of mental health, employment, housing and welfare. 

Full Profile

Chris is primarily interested in making practical use of personal narrative, emotional resonance, reflection and dialogue within situations of transformative action ethnography. His academic leanings are towards human ecology, reflecting a broadly anthropological appreciation of the relationships between humans and their physical and social environment.


BSc (Hons) Behavioural Sciences, University of Huddersfield, 2001


Anderson, J., Essen, C. & Malihi-Shoja, L. (2015) ‘Spanning boundaries and throwing spanners: developers of service user and carer involvement in education’, Authenticity to Action Conference, Preston, UK

Essen, C. & Hodkinson, S. (2014) ‘Competing Values in Public Housing Regeneration under the Private Finance Initiative’, Housing Studies Association, York, UK

Essen, C. & Hodkinson, S. (2013) ‘Power, Legitimacy and Democracy within Critical Action Research’, Collaborative Action Research Network, Tromsø, Norway

Sherwin, S., Symons, J. Essen, C., Morris, P., Padgett, K., Plews, C., Priestley, J., Rhodes, C., Samociuk, S., (2010). ‘Involving People in Higher Education ‘What Matters to ‘US’’, Disability Research Conference, Leeds, UK

Symons, J., Samociuk, S., Rhodes, C., Padgett, K., Sherwin, S., Plews, C., Priestley, J., Essen, C., Laxton, J., Noda, B., Young, M., Boaz, A., (2009). ‘Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings: Opportunities and Challenges for Involvement’, Authenticity to Action Conference, Grange-Over-Sands, UK

Essen C. (2009) ‘Wandering into a Situation of Dialogue’, Psychotherapy and Politics Conference, Leeds, UK

Essen C. & Anderson J. (2007) ‘Disparate, Not Desperate: Weaving Networks of Support in Higher Education’, Authenticity to Action Conference, Grange-Over-Sands, UK

Hawley R., Bush M., Essen C. Sherwin S. & Warham D. (2007) ‘Linking Policy to Practice: Involving Service Users and Carers in the Development of New National Quality Assurance Arrangements for Health Care Education’, Authenticity to Action Conference, Grange-Over-Sands, UK

O'Neill F., Essen C., Rhodes C. & Symons J. (2007) ‘Developing Ethical and Effective Approaches to Service User and Carer Involvement in Health Professional Learning Across Professional and Organisational Boundaries’, European Inter-professional Education Network First International Conference, Krakow, Poland

Essen C. (2006) ‘6 Red Herrings of Involvement’, National Institute for Mental Health in England ’10 Essential Shared Capabilities’ Conference, Leeds, UK

Armitage A, Essen C., Symons J., Fielden S. & Samociuk S. (2005) ‘Working Together: Patient, Community and University. Reflections on Personal and Professional Development’, Where’s the Patient’s Voice in Health Professional Education? Conference, Vancouver, Canada


Essen C., Freshwater D. & Cahill J. (2015) Towards an understanding of the dynamic sociomaterial embodiment of interprofessional collaboration. Nursing Inquiry.

Hodkinson S. & Essen C. (2015) Grounding accumulation by dispossession in everyday life: The unjust geographies of urban regeneration under the Private Finance Initiative, International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 7(1), 72 - 91

Freshwater D., Cahill J. & Essen C. (2013) Discourses of Collaborative Failure: Identity, Role and Discourse in an Interdisciplinary World, Nursing Inquiry, 21, 59-68.

Essen C. (2012) Does Individual Placement and Support Really ‘Reflect Client Goals’?, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 19, 231-240.