Simona is an ESRC post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Health Sciences and the Institute of Mental Health Research at the University of York. She is a researcher in interactive media specialised in participatory methods and co-design strategies to support communities in exploring how innovative digital technologies can be informed by their expressive needs and lived experience.
Simona has a professional background as a facilitator using digital storytelling and expressive video techniques in community settings (with asylum seekers, people experiencing mental health problems, homeless young people, women using support services, care home residents living with dementia, people with learning disabilities).
She completed an EPSRC-funded PhD at the Digital Creativity Labs, University of York, where she explored the role that interactive media can play in supporting the production of polyvocal participatory accounts of mental health. Following her PhD, she worked as a research associate designing an interactive film to support cancer-diagnosed young patients needing to make fertility preservation decisions for the research project Personalising Cancer, Fertility, and Me, by the Digital Creativity Labs and the Centre of Reviews and Dissemination. She also worked as a research assistant at Queen Mary University of London to develop resources on the adaptation of digital platforms for autistic users as part of the research project Autistic Adults Online.
Simona's main research interest is the use of participatory storytelling, in particular film and interactive media, to explore shared experience of mental health, both as a research method and as an applied intervention.