“From Street Practice to Storytelling Performance”

Dr Maria Fordham

Independent Health and Homelessness Specialist

Maria’s expertise in homelessness was honed within her role as a Specialist Nurse for the Homeless (2004-2013) and further developed through writing stories of homelessness practice which became a reflexive narrative study (Fordham, 2012), illuminating her transformation in homeless health care over a three-year period. Stories allow the complex nature of homelessness to be captured wherein insights are developed in four quadrants of care: the homeless person, the NHS, multi-agency partners and finally the role of the specialist nurse in preventing people falling through the net of care. These stories have reached audiences in Reykjavik, Aalborg, Limerick, Rotterdam, Athens, London, Cambridge and Bedford, bringing changes in understanding about homelessness to local communities, university students/staff and in conference settings.

Maria began her nursing career in 1976 and went on to practice in midwifery and Health Visiting. Now retired, she enjoys presenting workshops and is an active trustee at Emmaus Village Carlton (for people experiencing homelessness) as well as a chaplaincy visitor in her local hospital/community. She is currently working with the University of Bedfordshire and with two homeless people to bring their stories to conference like this using dance, photography and poetry.