Dr Anna Pettican

Senior Research Officer
School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences
Dr Anna Pettican



I am an occupational therapist with practice and research interests in working with marginalised groups (the 'seldom heard' - such as people with mental health problems), occupational injustice and health inequalities. I have a particular interest in the theory and practice of inclusive sport, against a backdrop of neoliberal health and sport policies, which largely ignore the social aspects of participation. My practice experience lies primarily in working with people with mental health problems and in using sport and physical activity for therapeutic means and ends. My PhD was a participatory action research study with a community-based football club for people with experience of mental health problems. I have a particular interest in using participatory research approaches to address health inequalities and work towards social transformation. Since 2017 I have combined my academic work with working as an occupational therapist at Sport for Confidence, a social enterprise that places health professionals and specialist sports coaches into leisure centres, to make them more accessible and inclusive. My current academic appointment is as the post-doctoral researcher on the Essex Local Delivery Pilot Evaluation Study (Dr Valerie Gladwell and Dr Paul Freeman are the Principal Investigators). The Essex Local Delivery Pilot (LDP) is a national initiative (there are 12 pilot sites in England, of which Essex is one) funded by Sport England. The Essex LDP seeks to enable Essex citizens to be more active and live healthier lifestyles by improving the social conditions of their lives. You can find out more about Sport for Confidence and the Essex Local Delivery Pilot via the web links below:


  • PhD Occupational Therapy University of Essex, (2019)

  • Post-Graduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice University of Essex, (2011)

  • MSc Occupational Therapy (Distinction) Brunel University, (2008)

  • BSc(Hons) Occupational Therapy (2:1) Coventry University, (2003)


University of Essex

  • Lecturer in Occupational Therapy (temporary cover post), School of Health and Social Care, University of Essex (1/11/2018 - 31/7/2019)

  • Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Social Sciences, University of Essex (1/11/2009 - 1/7/2017)


Book chapters (1)

Bryant, W., Pettican, AR. and Coetzee, S., (2016). Designing Participatory Action Research To Relocate Margins, Borders and Centres. In: Occupational Therapies Without Borders Integrating Justice with Practice. Editors: Sakellariou, D. and Pollard, N., . Elsevier. 73- 73. 070205920X. 9780702059209

+44 (0) 1206 872598


ESA.3.10, Colchester Campus

More about me

Follow me on social media