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Dr Francesca Zanatta
Dr Francesca Zanatta profile picture
  • Associate Lecturer (Teaching) in Mental Health Research
  • Applied Health Research
  • Institute of Epidemiology & Health
  • Faculty of Pop Health Sciences

My background is in Medical Anthropology and Psychology, with an interdisciplinary PhD in Psychiatry (UCL) intertwining elements of children’s rights, culture, and critique of attachment theory. 


My areas of academic specialisms are human rights education and advocacy, intercultural psychotherapy and medical anthropology, pedagogy & education.

I currently work at the NIHR ARC North Thames in the Department of Applied Health Research (UCL), where I lead on the delivery of activities for the research infrastructure project Mental Health Research for All. 

I recently completed the MSc in Psychodynamic Counselling And Psychotherapy With Children And Adolescents at Birkbeck and I am on my third year of placement in a primary school with the organisation Unlocking Potential.


I am the Co-convenor of the Early Career Researchers Group of the WERA International Research Network in Human Rights Education.


Community Organising and Activism are a key part of my academic engagement. Whilst employed at the University of East London, I was the academic link with Citizens UK to support the delivery of their leadership training

Research Summary


My current research interests include: the training and development of mental health practitioners, children's rights in relation to matters of gender, sexuality and identity formation, and diversity in mental health research and practice.


In my research I always attempt to weave through aspects of theory, policy, and practice.

I have worked in diverse, multidisciplinary and international teams. In 2022 as co-PI on a British Council Project (£100,00), the Institutional Link funding with Professor Ravenscroft (UEL) and Professor Arphattananon (Mahidol University), I led a collaboration with colleagues in the Arts and Performance Department at UEL, the Cultural Studies department at Mahidol University (Thailand), ten local artists, two community groups and a youth centre.

I was awarded the EERA grant (3,000E) for mapping HRE in UG degrees in Europe. I am planning with Barnardo’s London region to extend this project to include research in the use of the HRE in staff training.

I successfully obtained funds (£10,000) for a Collaborative project with Barnardo’s on the use of digital technologies with care leavers. I collaborated with Barnardo’s London Region in re-developing and delivering ‘Total Respect’ training sessions, work I presented at the University of Oxford Human Rights Network.

Teaching Summary

In my current role at DAHR UCL, I am an Associate Lecturer in the NIHR ARC NT Academy. 

Here support the design and delivery of training and engagement opportunities for those working in applied health and care. These training opportunities include: blended short courses, CPD workshops, mentoring and networking schemes.

I have eight years of experience at the University of East London in lecturing and in independent and team-oriented course development, leadership, and coordination across the fields of Education and Childhood Studies, Social Work, Psychology, and Social Sciences both in person and online. I have developed new and contributed to existing modules across levels, areas, and class sizes (from 10 up to 200) for online, blended (dual delivery) and in person delivery.

At UEL I developed extensive experience supervising at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, I have effectively supported over 600 students in developing, completing, and reporting on a small-scale research project. Supervision is a transformational journey for students and supervisors alike, and I adopt a student-centred approach to be inclusive and to respond in both content and methods to their needs. I co-coordinated with Professor Jana Javornik a student-led research project, for which we were awarded a teaching innovation grant. The model, inspired by the Living Labs I had the opportunity to observe and explore at the University of Groningen in Holland, engages students to work in group on a piece of research based on a ‘real-life' issue, explored and examined within the Lab.

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