Core Team

YVONNE FARQUHARSON | Founder & Managing Director

Yvonne is a seasoned multi award-winning social entrepreneur who specialises in developing creative programmes to improve healthcare and transform lives.

Since 2008 Yvonne has been designing, developing and delivering arts and health programmes in NHS Trusts and primary care centres. After studying at Lancaster University and the School for Social Entrepreneurs, she held a variety of roles for the BBC and ITV. She then spent several years as Performing Arts Manager for Guy’s & St Thomas’ Charity, the largest NHS Charity in the UK, before founding Breathe Arts Health Research in 2012.

Yvonne has gained international recognition for her work in the arts and health sector, and received a number of awards and award nominations for her work across the healthcare and social enterprise sectors. In addition, she has led Breathe to win multiple national awards and gain recognition as a service provider to our National Health Service. She has co-authored papers published in peer-reviewed medical journals and frequently speaks at health, arts and social enterprise conferences and events globally.

She has successfully built partnerships with other arts organisations such as Shakespeare’s Globe, The National Theatre, and City of London Sinfonia and is immensely proud of the scale of performing arts and health interventions Breathe delivers each year alongside its partners.

DR DAISY FANCOURT | Research Director

Daisy studied at Oxford University and King’s College London before completing a PhD in psychoneuroimmunology at UCL. Her research focuses on the effects of arts participation on neuroendocrine and immune response, the use of the arts within clinical settings, and the psychosocial impact of cultural engagement at an individual and public health level.

As well as leading the research programme at Breathe, she is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Performance Science, a partnership of Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health. Her research has won over a dozen awards including a Young Investigator Scholarship from the American Psychosomatic Society (2015), the Ruth Bowden Scholarship for academic excellence in a doctorate in the field of medicine from the British Federation of Women Graduates (2015) and silver prize in the Hektoen International Medical Humanities Competition (2013).

Alongside her research, she has worked in the NHS for a number of years, including managing the arts and clinical innovations programme at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The NHS programmes she established have been recognised with a commendation for arts-in-health excellence from the Royal Society for Public Health (2014) and an NHS Innovation Challenge Award (2015). She is also passionate about public engagement in science, and her research has featured in over 100 national and international newspapers as well as a number of television and radio broadcasts including BBC Breakfast and the One Show.

SKYE SERGEANT | Clinical Lead

Skye did a Masters of Occupational Therapy at the University of Sydney in 2006 and began her career in paediatrics in Australia before moving to the UK in 2009. Her experience as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist has included working with children who have complex neurological conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, learning difficulties and emotional behavioural difficulties.

Skye was lead Occupational Therapist for upper limb treatment and intervention within the Children’s Therapies Department at St George’s University Foundation NHS Trust and had the opportunity to address all aspects of treatment within the community and at home to encourage and promote a child’s independence.

Skye devised a training programme for Occupational Therapy new starters, New Graduate and Specialist therapists ,as well as supported students on placement as a lead clinician. She strongly believes it’s essential in any therapy setting to provide a fulfilling and encouraging environment which allows students to learn, explore, practice and understand their professional role.

REBECCA JOHNSON | Clinical Lead

Rebecca has specialised in paediatrics since 2007, working with Coventry PCT and at Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital. She has developed a wide range of clinical skills in assessing and treating children and young people with a variety of clinical diagnoses and functional difficulties across the acute, community and the charitable sectors.

Rebecca’s key interests lie in working with children with neurological conditions and acute, acquired and congenital upper limb conditions. She believes it’s important to find therapeutic mediums that engage and motivate children, to help address the impact a disability can have on their psychosocial wellbeing and make the most of their long-term functional potential.

TIM OSBORN | Project Manager

Tim combines nearly three decades of experience in the health and disability world with his lifelong interest in the arts in his role as Breathe’s Project Manager for Performing Arts.

Before joining Breathe in 2013, he worked extensively for organisations supporting people with long-term conditions, life-limiting illnesses and physical and emotional difficulties – both in the NHS and the charity sector. Beyond the day job, he has a particular passion for puppetry as an art form, writes creatively and loves samba.

HANNAH DYE | PROJECT COORDINATOR

Hannah has ten years’ experience working within the performing arts sector. She has designed and produced a variety of programmes through roles at King’s College London, Candoco Dance Company and Sadler’s Wells including international projects through British Council. Alongside her part-time role at Breathe, Hannah is a freelance arts Producer currently working with China Plate Theatre.

Hannah holds an MA in Creative and Cultural Management from Chester University and BA in Dance, Drama & Theatre Studies from Liverpool University.

ADAM SIMMONS | Project Coordinator

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States, Adam has dedicated the majority of his professional life to directly impacting the lives of youth from a diverse range of backgrounds. Prior to joining Breathe in March of 2017, Adam specialised as a teacher of Mathematics in inner-city schools in California, Morocco, and London for seven years. Before entering the classroom, he also worked on asset building and workforce development projects for a large non-profit in New York City, was a community volunteer in the United States Peace Corps in Guyana, and a youth summer camp counsellor.

Adam holds a BA in Sociology from Purdue University, and his wide range of charitable interests include youth programmes, human rights, and international development. He prefers to spend his free time with his son running around outdoors, is an avid reader, and has been known to play guitar from time to time.

KATHERINE PENNEY | Office Manager

Visual artist and entrepreneur Kat trained at Belfast School of Art. Her award-winning work blends traditional print techniques with digital photography and has been exhibited across the globe. After working with a leading gallery in her native Northern Ireland, she headed to London in 2009 where she assisted artist Nicola Green on a number of high profile projects, including a series featuring US President Barack Obama.

Kat deepened her knowledge of the design world through a stint working on new business at the renowned Heatherwick Studio and continues to pursue her own work and side projects such as Work/Shop, a creative platform she established in 2015 to promote original art and design.

ANNEGRET MÄRTEN | FREELANCE COMMS OFFICER

Annegret moved from her native Germany to work in the UK’s rich and varied arts sector before joining Breathe in 2013. She has worked in various performing arts contexts as a dramaturg, assistant director and producer, and on arts journalism projects for companies including BBC Radio, Shakespeare’s Globe, Theatre Neuss and Theatertreffen Berlin.

Annegret is a writer, reviewer and podcaster for Exeunt Magazine and other publications. The Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is currently funding her under the London Arts & Humanities Partnership to research monsters and language as part of the joint PhD programme between King’s College London and Humboldt University in Berlin.

MARJAN ALEXANDER | BOOK KEEPER

Numbers wizard Marjan has a First Class Honours Degree in Business and Economics. For many years she worked in the City as a sales trader and joined the Breathe team as bookkeeper in 2013.