20-21 September 2016
Trinity College, Oxford, UK
Community engagement is widely considered an essential feature of ethical global health research and many biomedical research efforts have taken this normative expectation to heart, integrating community engagement activities into their research practices. Despite explicit objectives related to socially responsible knowledge production, however, practices of community engagement are not inherently democratizing. Instead, engagement in global health research is sometimes used for instrumental ends - to gain community buy-in; increase consent and study enrolment, and ensure smooth research operations - rather than to achieve broader transformations in the politics and power dynamics of research. To move beyond a focus on these instrumental and normative ends, this workshop aimed to explore the political and social dimensions of engagement activities in global health research by interrogating the everyday politics and practices of engagement.
The workshop included scholars and practitioners who approach the problem of ‘engagement’ from divergent perspectives, including: (1) applied health research and bioethics, (2) science and technology studies, (3) applied and theoretical anthropology and sociology, (4) development studies, and (5) political science.
Invited papers explored the following questions, or take up the broader theme from other angles:
- First, the workshop addressed the descriptive realities of engagement: What counts as community engagement in global health research? How do we understand public versus community’ engagement? Who are the players involved and what are their relationships like? Who is included and excluded from engagement activities? What makes engagement effective?
- Second, a set of broader normative questions: What constitutes ethical and just global health research, and how does engagement contribute to achieving this? What are the arguments for and against engagement? What kind of engagement makes research more ‘ethical’? What kind of ethical questions emerge from engagement?
- Third, the social and political contexts that shape (and are shaped by) engagement activities and global health research: How do engagement activities and global health research intersect with existing structures of power, local social relationships, and broader structural forces? What kinds of encounters and relationships are produced through these activities, and how do they (re)shape everyday social life?
Programme and Presentations
The structure of the workshop was based on the pre-circulation of papers, which allowed us to have more open ended discussions and develop arguments together and to create space at the workshop for all participants to receive constructive feedback and to engage in broader conversations. This format provided feedback for manuscripts which we hope to publish in an edited volume entitled Critical Issues in Community Engagement.
The full papers are hosted on a closed invitation-only location on Mesh. As these papers are expected to be works in progress, needless to say, we should all respect the authors with their original ideas and not cite or circulate them.
The abstracts are listed within the programme below with contact details should you wish to follow up with the authors.
Day 1 Session 1: What Makes Engagement ‘Effective’ (Discussant: Dorcas Kamuya)
Bipin Adhikari, Christopher Pell, Koukeo Phommasone, Tiengkham Pongvongsa, Gisela Henriques, Paul Newton, Nicholas White, Lorenz von Seidlein, Arjen Dondorp, Nick Day, Mayfong Mayxay, Phaik Yeong Cheah
Gill Black, Alun Davies, Dalia Iskander, Mary Chambers
Chimwemwe Phiri, Shariffa Abdullah, Thomasena O'Byrne, Bright Molande, Chris Kamlongera, Nicola Desmond
Day 1 Session 2: Production of Knowledge (Discussant: Rik Wehrens)
Myra Parker, Maya Magarati and Bonnie Duran
Day 1 Session 3&4: The Relational Dynamics of Engagement (Discussant: John Manton)
Anthea Lesch and Leslie Swartz
Mackwellings Phiri, Rodrick Sambakunsi, Kate Gooding, Nicola Desmond
Musonda Simwinga, John Porter and Virginia Bond
Justin Dixon, Amber Abrams
Deborah Nyirenda, Kate Gooding, Bertie Squire, Chiwoza Bandawe, Salla Sariola, Nicola Desmond
Day 2 Session 1: Normative Frameworks (Discussant: Ariella Binik)
Katharine Wright, Vicki Marsh, Sassy Molyneux, Dorcas Kamuya
James V. Lavery & Emma Richardson
Day 2 Session 2: Engagement as Creating/Managing People/Groups (Discussant: Ariella Binik)
Aaro Tupasela and Zainab Afshan Sheikh
Kirk John Fiereck
Lieke Oldenhof and Rik Wehrens
Day 2 Session 3: The Politics of Engagement (Discussant: Javier Lezaun)
Decha Tangseefa, Krishna Monthathip, Naruemol Tuenpakdee, Ladda Maelankiri, Myo Myo, Suphak Nosten, Andrea König, Lorenz von Seidlein, Phaik Yeong Cheah, Francois Nosten
Gift Trapence and Crystal Biruk
Evans Gichuru, Esther Adhiambo, Clifford Duncan Okoth, Salla Sariola, Monique Oliff, Eduard Sandersa, Elise M. van der Elst
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Salla Sariola, Senior Lecturer, Sociology, University of Turku, Finland & Senior Researcher, Ethox Centre, University of Oxford, UK: email@example.com
We welcome your feedback on the model and content of the conference.