A headshot of Ph.D. candidate Eugene Hughes.


PhD candidate Eugene Hughes is a psychotherapist (trained in psychoanalytic art psychotherapy), founder of Artgym (promoting creativity in adult learning) and an award-winning documentary filmmaker (using creativity to highlight social issues).

Finding an academic environment that supports interdisciplinary research was critical to me. Coupled with a pedagogy that puts creative thinking at its core made this PhD irresistible. I feel truly privileged to be part of the first cohort of this groundbreaking program.


“Nature, Imagination and the Analysis of the Self”

“This research examines how a relationship between nature and our creative selves can be a potent tool for the analysis and restoration of the self. Recent research at Derby University highlights the correlation between the increasing use of technology and a diminishing level of self-examination amongst younger generations. Is it possible that the more we strive to be connected, the more we loose the ability to connect with our self? A diverse but growing group of contemporary artists, therapists, guides and shamans look to nature for the analysis and restoration of the self. But rather than being observers of their environments, their work invites people into a physical and imaginative active participation with nature. My research aims to explore how and why these creative encounters with nature can inform the psychology of the self and help address the increasing existential anxiety of ‘the distracted generation.’”