In 2015 Helena gained a first-class honours degree in Humanities with Creative Writing and Art History from the Open University, and graduated at Ely Cathedral in June 2016.
She is now undertaking a two-year Masters degree in History, again with the Open University.
In May 2017 she was awarded postgraduate funding from the Open University’s Crowther Fund to study aspects of the Industrial Revolution in the Scottish Borders. The funding is in the form of travel costs, accommodation expenses, and tuition fees to participate in letterpress and bookbinding workshops at Robert Smail’s Printworks in Innerleithen.
In July 2017 she submitted a successful tender proposal to Lakeland Arts, and works with a wider team developing a mixed schedule of new interpretation as part of the Blackwell Project at Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere. Her current research centres on the Holt family and their household. Their interaction with Blackwell as a holiday home and the reasons they visited less frequently after the Great War form the basis of four scripts to be recorded as a series of augmented realities placed throughout the house from 15 September 2017.
Her academic interests include the effects the Industrial Revolution on small scale farming and artisan industry. She is also interested in women in business, particularly the women of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The business life of Cumbrian entrepreneur Annie Garnett forms the hypothesis of her Masters’ dissertation.
Helena’s creative work spans several disciplines. A major interest is the lives of textile workers in nineteenth-century Lancashire, reflected in her cross-genre project, Spinning Jenny. Whilst studying Herbal Medicine under the tutelage of Dr Midge Whitelegg, she developed an enthusiasm for Goethian science and uses this intimate, direct means of relating to the natural world in her poetry. She is also keen to explore the pre-industrial heritage of her Cornish cordwainer ancestors.
Her poetry has been placed with Pushing Out the Boat, The Stare’s Nest, StAnza Poetry Map of Scotland and Word Bohemia.
Her artistic influences include Autumn Richardson, John Clare, Kathleen Jamie, Richard Long, Annie Lee, Derek Tangye, Pauline Burbidge, Ken Cockburn, Daphne du Maurier, Alec Finlay, Virginia Woolf, Grayson Perry and Barbara Hepworth.