Small Grants in Humanities and Social Science: people we've funded

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Louise Austin

Institute of Medical Ethics

Postgraduate Bioethics Network

As bioethics is a relatively new, interdisciplinary academic field, there are often only a few bioethics students at each institution. In 2006, a group of postgraduate bioethics students founded the Postgraduate Bioethics Conference (PGBC) with the aim of bringing together bioethics postgraduates in a supportive environment where they could exchange ideas, develop skills by presenting their work and networking with other students and academics in the field of bioethics. The PGBC has been very successful and is now in its 11th year. However, as an annual event, it lacks a sustained network. The success of the annual event and feedback received from delegates suggests that ongoing events would be popular.

We will develop and sustain a network of postgraduate bioethics students by bringing them together to participate in a programme of activities. The goal will be to enable students to meet and exchange ideas, and develop their skills and knowledge in a supportive and collaborative environment. The planned activities will provide an ongoing programme of events allowing the network to be developed and sustained.

Dr Ranjana Das

University of Surrey

Health communication practices of South Asian migrant mothers with postnatal mental health difficulties: a pilot study

Up to 15-25% of mothers encounter postnatal mental health difficulties. Formal support for postnatal mental health is under pressure and health visiting services are struggling owing to public funding cuts. Migrant mothers experiencing mental health illnesses face additional practical barriers and cultural factors which prevent them from finding the right kind of support, demonstrated by inequality studies and mental health research.

We will conduct fieldwork with mothers, health visitors and midwives to investigate the communicative practices, expectations and needs of migrant mothers from South Asia coping with postnatal mental health difficulties. We will develop new understandings of migrant mothers’ needs and the kind of support being sought and provided – or not – by healthcare services.

We will develop a strong new research team for future collaborative work and  communicate our findings to a targeted audience using a final report and social media policy that will contribute to the provision of culturally sensitive and competent care.

Dr Robbie Duschinsky

University of Cambridge

Exploring disorganised attachment: unravelling developmental pathways and outcomes using data mining

Disorganised attachment is an important assessment of infant mental health. Disorganisation is thought to result from an infant having in some way experienced trauma in the context of the relationship with their caregiver such as observing severe domestic violence. Infants classified as disorganised have an elevated risk of psychological problems, most notably conduct disorders. The possibility of a finer-grained measure emerged from archival research on the original Berkeley dataset from which disorganised attachment was first identified.

We have been offered unprecedented access to a longitudinal dataset to explore how the finer-grained measure fares against the standard construct in predicting a range of negative outcomes, and whether particular forms of disorganisation have specific antecedents. Given that the goal is exploratory and the array of relevant measures is extensive, data mining will be used rather than hypothesis testing.

The research offers the prospect of a significant transformation of research in this area. Three focus groups with clinicians will be conducted to facilitate clinical input and translation.

Professor Thembisa Waetjen

University of Johannesburg

Drug regimens in Southern Africa: pharmaceutical regulation and consumption in 20th century contexts

We will build a collaborative network of scholars working on 20th century histories of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals, medicinal substances, narcotics, and veterinary medicines in Southern Africa. We will draft and review research papers on pharmaceutical histories in Southern Africa which will constitute a special edition of a peer-reviewed journal. We want to draw the attention of historians to lesser known sources of data for writing pharmaceutical histories in this region and produce and disseminate new research that will expand the critical, contextual basis for studies of pharmaceuticals in the field of medical humanities.

We will establish a working group for the pharmaceutical humanities made up of interdisciplinary scholars from universities in South Africa. We will hold a workshop at the University of Johannesburg and introduce participants to two local archives relevant to pharmaceutical histories in this region.

Other grantholders