Dr Kate Neale is located within the Centre for Children and Young People, and Faculty of Health.
She is a childhood studies and disability studies researcher with a particular interest in the therapeutic benefits of time spent in green spaces. She specialises in ethical methodologies of involving kids, people with disability or vulnerable communities meaningfully in horticulture to foster esteem, well-being and belonging. Kate’s work takes a sociological approach by considering not just the individual benefits of therapeutic horticulture, but also the role therapeutic horticulture has in fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion at a social or community level. It does this with a view to better understanding the potential impact therapeutic horticulture can have on the social status of its participants, their well-being, the ways they meaningfully engage within it and why it is important.
Foundations for this work is built from her previous experience as a childhood studies and disability studies researcher. Between 2016-2019 Kate was employed on an ARC Linkage Project exploring the relationships between young people with cognitive disability and their paid support workers. This work involved working alongside people with disability as co-researchers, co-facilitators and co-presenters. he also co-facilitated a Young Person's Research Advisory Group, which met monthly to lend its expertise in living with a disability to advising research projects with CCYP.
Kate's doctoral thesis (2016) explored children's understanding of, and experiences with ethical consumption.
Kate's substantive research interests lie within childhood studies, socialisation theories, accessible methodologies, knowledge translation and the ethical considerations of involving children and young people with disability in research in a meaningful capacity. Seeking the voices of those usually absent in research is fundamental to Kate's research interests.
Kate believes the best way to grow therapeutic horticulture as a discipline is through collaboration with industry professionals, academics and practitioners in the field. She has written a number of therapeutic gardening programs, runs professional development workshops on therapeutic horticulture, and researches in the field.