about nancy

Nancy Tingey

Cook, ACT 2614 
e-mail: hello@nancytingey.net.au
m: 0437377320

Born Nancy Howarth in 1942 she spent most of first 29 years in the North of England, studying at Bury Grammar School then at King’s College, Newcastle, which in those days was part of Durham University, for an honours degree in Fine Art. There she painted and studied stained glass which in 1965 earned her a travelling scholarship to study post-war stained glass in France and Switzerland. As she was by this time working at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull, stained glass took a back seat, although she wrote her Museums Diploma thesis on stained glass in museums.

In 1966 she became Keeper of Art at Bolton Museum, taking the committee to have tea with Henry Moore while negotiating the purchase of 3 helmet studies and curating a major exhibition of works from the collections of people connected with Bolton, the highlight of which was the controversial portrait of Lord Leverhulme by Augustus John now in the Port Sunlight collection. She also founded the Friends of the Bolton Museum and Art Gallery. She then lectured for a year in liberal studies and art history at the Bolton School of Art.

Next she was headhunted for the job of art curator at Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal and later to teach at the Lancaster and Morecambe Schools of Art, and St Martin’s College, Lancaster.

After marrying and emigrating from England in 1971 Nancy settled with her husband Bob in Canberra. She taught at the Canberra School of Art and took up glass work again, fulfilling three commissions, then the mix of three small sons and shards of glass loomed large and, while the painting continued, fibre art gradually took over.

When Bob was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1987 Nancy returned to her career as an art curator, working at the Australian War Memorial and the National Museum, and training as a guide at the National Gallery. Then for the third time in her working life she left gallery work to teach and make time for her art practice. In 1994 she founded Painting with Parkinsons and in 2008, Networks (see below).

Life in Australia opened new opportunities while presenting challenges, not least the migrant issue and the problem of living two lives. In 1994 she began analysing these through her artwork, initially comparing the landscapes of England and Australia, then developing a new body of work which resulted in her qualifying for an MA with distinction at the Cumbria Institute of the Arts in 2004. See Fibre Art Journey, Original Material E-subject by Janet de Boer.

Nancy still lives in Canberra. Bob died of late-stage Parkinson’s in 2017. (See the Tingey Painting with Parkinsons Program for that story.) Their 3 sons live in Canberra, Sunshine Coast (married with three children) and Byron Bay.

Painting with Parkinsons Program

Nancy Tingey founded Painting with Parkinsons in Canberra Australia in 1994 to combine her role as a visual artist with caring for her husband Bob.

In 1995 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study art as a therapy for Parkinson’s, travelling to Italy, Switzerland, Holland,England, Scotland, Canada and the USA in the following near. Her overseas studies formed the basis of specialist program Nancy devised addressing Parkinson’s symptoms and exploring ways of overcoming them to facilitate creative expression.

In 1997 Nancy gave a presentation about the program at the Fourth Australian Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Parkinsons Disease in Perth, Western Australia, and took an exhibition of work by the Canberra Painting with Parkinsons group to the First New Zealand Multi-Disciplinary Conference on Parkinson’s Disease in Wellington.

In 1997 she took the program to England and over the next four years ran workshops at five Parkinson’s conferences in Holland and England. 

In 2000 Nancy ran the Art for Parkinson’s pilot trial for Parkinson’s UK and established art groups in the Midlands and West Cumbria. She also contributed the chapter on Art as a Therapy  for Parkinson’s in ‘Arts Therapies and Progressive Illness – Nameless Dread’ edited by Diane Waller and published in 2002 by Routledge, UK.

In 2003 she co-curated  the Painting with Parkinsons and Art for Parkinson’s Catalyst exhibition in London which included workshops and an art therapy seminar.

In 2005 she ran workshops at the Parkinson’s Asia and Pacific Parkinson’s Disease 5th International Symposium in Melbourne and in 2006 presented a paper on Art as a Therapy for Parkinson’s at the First World Parkinson Congress in Washington, USA.

After nearly ten years in the making the film Making a Mark: Art as a Therapy for Parkinson’s, directed by Nancy, was produced by Just Wright Productions, Melbourne, in 2008.

Nancy retired from coordinating the Canberra program in 2014 then spent the next four years writing ‘Magic Happens – The Story of Painting with Parkinsons’, published in 2018, the year in which the Tingey Painting with Parkinsons program was patented.

For further information about the Tingey Painting with Parkinsons program please consult www.paintingwith parkinsons.org.au

In 2024 Painting with Parkinsons will have been meeting continuously in the Australian National Botanic Gardens for 30 years.

Qualifications and Training and Awards

Qualifications and Training

MA (Contemporary Applied Art) with Distinction, Cumbria Institute of the Arts, UK 2004.

Guide, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 1991.

The Museums Diploma (AMA), Museums Association, UK 1969.

Honours Degree in Fine Art, King’s College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (BA p), UK 1964.


WPC (World Parkinson Coalition), Robin Elliott Award for Service to the Community 2019.

OAM, Order of Australia Medal for service to community health 2019.

ACT Chief Minister’s Inclusion Award for Long Service 2014.

‘Fulfil the Dream’ ACT Centenary Award, Churchill Fellows Association 2013.

Life Membership, Parkinson’s ACT 2012

Vocational Excellence Award, The Rotary Club of Hall 1999.

Churchill Fellowship 1996.

Accredited Professional Membership (APM) of Craft ACT 1996–2016.

Travelling Scholarship, Worshipful Company of Glaziers and Painters in Glass, UK 1965.