Emma was my PhD student at the University of Manchester. Suffice to say that supervising Emma was a privilege. Our supervisions were invariably real conversations about mental illness, Education, methodology. We shared a dislike for the over use of the term mental health when the real meaning was very simply illness. Emma’s thesis was a classic of clarity and coherence. The result of an honest and imaginative engagement with a group of young people in a Manchester school. I suspect that those young people will never forget Emma’s six or seven ‘lessons’, around which she based the whole thesis. That this was possible is due to Emma’s extraordinary talent and courage as an educator.
In the middle of writing her thesis, Emma suffered a manic episode, one of the first for seven years, as far as I remember. This was followed by a depressive period. We
managed to find a way to turn her continuing work of the thesis into a source of continuity and hope. That experience was simply another element of my learning from Emma.
Learning of Emma’s death knocked the stuffing out of me.