Her father was the son of a Danish sea captain.
She trained under Robin Philipson and William Gillies at Edinburgh College of Art and subsequently studied at Edinburgh University before going into teaching.
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Since the early 1980s Hansen has worked full-time as an artist and has made several extended working and study tours in locations across Europe and North America.
She has exhibited internationally and her numerous awards include a Prix de Rome. She lives with her husband, George Sutherland, in Stirlingshire.