Current Research Support Funding Projects

Our first round of research support funding closed in February 2018. The shortlisting panel were very impressed by the quality and diversity of applications, but the Centre was only able to fund 30% of the applications received.

We are delighted to announce that we are able to support the following projects.

Project Details

BACKGROUND: Universities are increasingly engaging with their communities, to help enrich their research and help make their cities and regions healthier, culturally richer and more interesting places to live and work. However, measuring the effectiveness of community engagement is challenging, and it is difficult for researchers to determine for example, whether they are reaching the people they want to reach, or whether everyone is given equal opportunity to be heard.  

AIMS: We would like to identify key markers of successful engagement, and consider how new measures could be designed to help researchers measure their community engagement activities and help them adapt their engagement approach for different contexts.

METHODS: We will review the literature describing how community engagement is currently being evaluated and determine if there are already methods available to measure the nuances of community engagement. We will then work with academics from within the Wellcome Centre and beyond, and their community partners, to discuss which elements of engagement are important to measure, and consider how we can design novel techniques that could capture and critically evaluate these elements of the community engagement processes and delivery. Finally, we will seek to work with existing community-based researchers to pilot potential evaluation techniques.

Project Partners

Project Details

This award will allow the team to engage with users of Exeter’s West of England Gender Identity Clinic (the Laurels), their families, and clinicians, to improve understanding of desired outcomes of gender identity transition and co-develop a research agenda in this area. There is currently little understanding of what users of these services regard as desired outcomes and our primary aim is to give voice to their views and examine how these might change as they move through transition. Since gender identity transition does not happen in isolation of others, we also aim to incorporate the perspective of social networks and clinicians, and to facilitate a dialogue between these different perspectives. The primary outcome of the project is a co-developed research agenda that will guide our future work. We also aim to co-produce initial transformative insights into how to produce a more complete and realistic understanding of the outcomes of this type of service use.

Project Partners

Project Details

This project will explore how the use of terms such as “truth” and “certainty” are associated with the task of diagnosis.  It will look specifically at the representation of diagnosis by diagnosticians themselves, but also in popular culture.  We will investigate how this representation uses these authoritative terms to reinforce the transformative power of diagnosis and to protect medicine’s social status and control.  The funding will be used to hold a small, international, multi-disciplinary workshop to explore the concepts and scope a broader, multi-phase project, and develop a brief for a multi-media exhibit. We anticipate from this workshop and associated publication development of a follow-on application to the Wellcome Trust to empirically explore patient experiences and institutional settings of diagnosis and medical certainty and uncertainty. We will engage patient representatives in the workshop and at all stages of the research, through PenPIG with whom we have worked previously and through the Patients Association UK, via our connection with Rosalyn Jowett who participated in our ESRC funded Sociology of Diagnosis seminar series.

Project Partners

Project Details

A young girl with disabilities recently narrated the story of some of her life experiences as a ‘living book’ at Exeter Central Library. Having left full-time education she (and her carers) are now entering a new landscape, where many of the opportunities found in specialist schools need to be “re-found” in the community. This young girl and her father had just discovered the library’s FabLab. It had been a revelation to both of them: offering them both social and creative opportunities they were keen to embrace.

Young people with disabilities can often face a ‘drop off’ in support (including health, social and educational) when they leave formal education. The impact of this can be far reaching, particularly in terms of a vulnerability to social isolation (as much for their families and carers as the individual themselves). This project is a collaboration between the library, the Pelican Project (a community organisation supporting such young people) and an engaged researcher, who will come together to facilitate ways for other young people and their carers to tell stories about their lives as they are and the ways they would like to use and shape spaces such as the FabLab to improve their wellbeing.

Project Partners

Protein Pressures and Carnivorous Crises: Human Health, Animal Welfare and the Global Growth of C19th and C21st Meat Markets

Project Details

This project will explore how health, welfare and environmental issues concerning the phenomenal growth of the global meat complex in the twenty-first century can be better understood and addressed through an interdisciplinary engagement with the formative development of globalized meat markets in Britain between 1850-1920. It seeks funds for a two-day symposium that will:

  1. Use the Centre’s research themes to shape and develop how scholars with expertise in the relevant history, archival materials and literary and cultural forms can dialogue and forge links with scientists, social scientists, policy-makers, commercial organisations and advocacy groups involved and interested in the contemporary meat industry.
  2. Identify interdisciplinary research questions, archival resources and impact pathways that will develop in a transformative way Young’s monograph project - Carnivorous Empire: Adventure Fiction, British Culinary Culture and the Growth of Global Meat Markets, 1865-1914 – as an application to the AHRC’s Leadership Fellow scheme.
  3. Build a network of researchers from non-cognate disciplines alongside non-academic stakeholders and orient it towards ongoing collaborative work – within the academy and beyond – on the historical, cultural and environmental dimensions of meat markets as they pertain to issues of human and non-human health and wellbeing.

Project Partners

Our second round of Research Support Funding closed in September 2018. The shortlisting panel were again extremely impressed by the quality and diversity of applications, and made the decision to make additional funds available to support more projects than we initially planned.

We are delighted to announce that we are able to support the following projects:

The use of art-making to improve mental health has a long-standing history. In parallel, within the art world, creations by artists with mental health conditions or disabilities have developed into a well-established art movement, known as Outsider Art, for which the public appetite grows steadily each year. Outsider Art exhibitions often sell out and early pieces from this movement now reach record prices. But who owns the artworks and who is entitled to their royalties? Who gets to decide whether an artwork is displayed to the public or kept within the confines of medical confidentiality? What at first appears to be a simple question of legal ownership has, in fact, deep implications for the representation of disability and mental health in our culture. Working with artist-clients, Arts & Health practitioners and lawyers, we will collect new evidence to address this question and inform policy-making in Arts & Health.

Project leaders
Mathilde Pavis
Karen Huckvale

In September 2017, a Category 5 hurricane devastated the small Caribbean island of Dominica. Islanders’ mental health remained deeply impacted a year after the initial trauma. We will explore islanders’ experiences of a novel application of a mental health recovery programme that facilitates artistic expression using broken or discarded objects to overcome mental health challenges after experiencing environmental trauma. Participants and researchers will reflect on the program’s strengths and challenges in helping to manage their trauma, and on the appropriateness of the program to the local and cultural context.

The engaged research method will use a “Mosaic” approach, with participants leading the research by reflecting on their experience of the programme using a method they feel most appropriate, e.g. artistically, verbally or via demonstration.

This project will explore islanders’ experiences in blending creative artistic expression, environmental sustainability action and recovery from mental health trauma following increasingly common (climate-change related) extreme weather events.

Project leaders
Jacqualyn Eales, in partnership with Operation Wallacea

This project is based on insider, practitioner and academic knowledge of the challenges sustainable food cities face, as well as understanding the potential for bringing together seemingly conflicting food agendas; those focused on food poverty, diet-related ill health and boosting local and sustainable food cultures. We aim to build capacity in Devon sustainable food networks by mapping food programmes in the city regions of Exeter and Plymouth and rural South Hams. It aims to transform partners’ programmes by identifying and categorising existing activities to transform responses to food poverty, public health issues, sustainable ‘food work’ and research in the region. The project teams will collaborate to identify opportunities to streamline often competing public health/food poverty/local food agendas, enhancing health, environmental and food cultures across Devon and set strategic visions/agendas in food network research.

Project leaders
Rebecca Sandover
Food Plymouth
Public Health Devon
The Bioregional Learning Centre
The Sustainable Food Cities Network

This is a preparatory exercise, working closely with local communities to understand key elements in healthy, resilient communities, and how they result from, and contribute to, individual wellbeing. The project will take a comparative approach, working in five locations with varying geographic and demographic characteristics in Devon: coastal community, market town, urban, new town and rural. We aim to work closely with local people in these locations to highlight the differences and similarities between them. This will help us plan together for future research, and support community-based initiatives focused on health and wellbeing more effectively.

Project leaders
Nicola Frost
Devon Community Foundation

This is a preparatory exercise, working closely with local communities to understand key elements in healthy, resilient communities, and how they result from, and contribute to, individual wellbeing. The project will take a comparative approach, working in five locations with varying geographic and demographic characteristics in Devon: coastal community, market town, urban, new town and rural. We aim to work closely with local people in these locations to highlight the differences and similarities between them. This will help us plan together for future research, and support community-based initiatives focused on health and wellbeing more effectively.

Project leaders

Nicola Frost

Devon Community Foundation

A group of community representatives in rural southern Zambia shared how they felt hopeless and isolated. Maternal and infant mortality are high. Nutrition and health access are poor. Engagement with external facilitators and an international network of collaborative communities stimulated local connections and the formation of a collaborative local ‘Cluster’ that leveraged collective strengths to improve wellbeing. This Cluster has improved health access, sanitation and maternal health. There has been a shift of mindset. A ripple effect has led to new Clusters. We would like to look at how community engagement and action (in the UK and internationally) can improve health and wellbeing, by sharing testimonies and co-creating measurements for this with communities, academics and practitioners.

Project leaders
Elizabeth Wainwright
The Arukah Foundation

This project will collaborate with staff and patients in adolescent inpatient wards to ask what they think compassionate care looks like, and what helps it to happen and prevent compassion fatigue or burnout. This will help to develop future research which draws on patient and staff definitions of compassionate care and compassion fatigue as well as patient and staff ideas for what would be useful to improve care experiences. It will also offer a space to consider the literature on the systemic, social and political contexts which compassion fatigue and burnout occur in and ways to relate this to an experimental design.

Project leader
Lucy Maddox

We aim to build an international network, consolidating relations with partner institutions in India, Peru and Vietnam. Together with local academics in each country, our transdisciplinary team (anthropology, economics, psychology, medicine) will establish stakeholder communities intended to co-produce knowledge with local schools, professionals and families. Thus we aim to build a participatory research community.

Project leaders
Daisy Elliott
Ginny Russell
Abigail Russell

Our goal is to engage diverse communities in cultural and creative practices that have the potential to promote, enhance, restore, and sustain health and wellbeing. This collaborative international research project will explore intersections, complementarities, and reciprocities between holistic performance training, mindfulness practice, and place-based cultural processes guided by Indigenous principles.

Project leaders
Virginie Magnat
Karen Ragoonaden