Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Marisa De Andrade

Lecturer in Health, Science & Society

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Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

Biography

Hello! You’ll find me in the Counselling, Psychotherapy & Applied Social Sciences (CPASS) subject area in the School of Health in Social Science. I’m a Lecturer in Health, Science & Society and Associate Director for the Centre in Creative-Relational Inquiry (CCRI) –https://www.ed.ac.uk/health/research/ccri – where I’ve found a home for vibrant, incisive research that pushes academic boundaries. I’m also Programme Director for a new cutting-edge MSc in Health Humanities & Arts launching in September 2018. You can register your interest here: https://www.ed.ac.uk/health/news-and-events/news/msc-health-humanities-arts

Since 2013, I’ve been pursuing a bold programme of research – Measuring Humanity – that questions ‘what is evidence’? It puts forward that the arts – all forms of art and the act of humans coming together – is a type of ‘evidence’ that can be systematically captured and used to ‘measure’ changes in health, wellbeing and inequalities. Find out more and get involved in our community of practice here: https://measuringhumanity.org/

Measuring Humanity is a way of thinking, a way of being, a way of doing, a way of collecting data, a way of objectifying the subjective – a project about accessing ‘truth’ from diverse communities through creative community engagement. And then convincing policymakers that sometimes the only way we can access ‘truth’ and ‘evidence’ from the most marginalised in our society is through the arts. It’s calling for something magical – a paradigm shift that situates creativity and relationships right next to positivist approaches in the evidence-base.

My journey so far has been anything but linear. I spent a year in medical school in South Africa (where I was born and bred) before training and working as a performing artist and radio journalist and presenter in London, New York, Los Angeles, Johannesburg, Glasgow and Edinburgh. My MSc in Investigative Journalism focused on health, which led me to a PhD in public health policy with a focus on pharmaceutical regulation.

I got an Impact Fellowship at the University of Stirling’s Institute for Social Marketing (ISM), where I started building a research profile in health policy and practice with an interested in inequalities using traditional and innovative methodologies. I was supervised, mentored and part of the team led by Prof Gerard Hastings OBE at ISM that was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2013 for ground-breaking research into the impact of alcohol, tobacco and junk food marketing on children’s health which has widely influenced national and international policies. I’ve also worked on and led grants funded by Cancer Research UK, NHS, Public Health England, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control amongst others, and been advisor and consultant to bodies including the World Health Organization in the Eastern Mediterranean Region.

My work critically investigates private-sector involvement in policymaking alongside bottom-up community-driven approaches in the policy formation process. I’m interested in bridging top-down and bottom-up approaches to policy and practice. How can community members challenge structural causes of inequality? As individuals are part of the system, how can we change ‘external realities’ through inner change? How can we all take action – through creative non-threatening mediums – to address the challenges of our time? What role are we playing in maintaining or even exacerbating global inequalities?

I’m also interested in the power of pause. The power of self-reflection.

Research activities & awards

  1. International Research Society for Public Management

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

  2. European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in conference

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