Whose voices count? Doing research on the health of the poor
Whose voices count? Doing research on the health of the poor

Whose voices count? Doing research on the health of the poor

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University of Aberdeen, The Sir Duncan Rice Library

Bedford Road

Aberdeen, United Kingdom

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Part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2016

How should we be doing research with people living in poverty, who are hard to reach, vulnerable, disadvantaged and social excluded? People living in deprived conditions have crucial perspectives on health and social inequalities, and through authentic engagement can provide important evidence for public policy. This seminar brings together researchers working in different world regions to explore how we can do ‘people-centred’ and ‘action-oriented’ research on social and health inequalities. By people-centred research, we mean working with and for people who are directly affected by the issues being investigated. By action-oriented, we mean research that is embedded in contexts where knowledge outputs can be acted on for positive change. At the seminar, we will also launch the Centre for Global Development at the University of Aberdeen, a centre of excellence committed to equity, social justice and sustainable futures. 


1130     Registration

1200     Centre for Global Development: Welcome and opening remarks | Professor P Abbott, Director Centre for Global Development (CGD) 

1220     Making people count: the unequal world of global health data | Prof P Byass, Director Umea Centre for Global Health Research, Umea University, Sweden 

1300     Lunch

1400     Working with people: a people-centred, action-oriented research project in South Africa | Dr L D’Ambruoso, Lecturer CGD

1440     Coffee

1500     What do ‘the people’ want? Arab voices in a troubled world, the Arab TRANS project | Dr A Teti, Director, Centre for Global Security & Governance

1540     Closing remarks and next steps: implications in the context of global development | Prof P Abbott, CGD, Dr L D’Ambruoso, CGD, Dr N Dower, CGD, Dr P Mtika, CGD

1600     Close



Professor Pamlea Abbott, Director, Centre for Global Development, University of Aberdeen

Pamela has worked on issues related to quality of life and wellbeing, and gender for more than 30 years. She has carried out research in the UK, the EU, the former Soviet Union, East Africa and the MENA region. Her current research is on the social, political and economic transformations taking place in the MENA Region focusing on quality of life, and gender equality and the empowerment of women. Her most recent book, the Decent Society (with Claire Wallace and Roger Sapsford), was published in June 2016.  

Professor Peter Byass, Director, Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, Umeå University

Peter has worked in Global Health for 30 years, particularly around Africa. He likes to measure health in meaningful ways and expose some of the massive global inequities in health and disease.


Dr Lucia D’Ambruoso, Lecturer in Global Health, Centre for Global Development and Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Aberdeen

Lucia is a social scientist working in Global Health for over 15 years. She is interested in health inequalities and the role of research to foster partnerships for empowerment and inclusion.

Dr Nigel Dower, Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Centre for Global Development, University of Aberdeen

Nigel joined the University of Aberdeen in 1967 where he has taught until 2004, except for three years teaching Philosophy in Zimbabwe (1983-86). He was Head of Department from 1996-1999 and 2000-2001. In June 2004 he took early retirement in order to pursue his interests in ‘exploring ethics in a globalised world’ through teaching, lectures, writing and consultancy. His main research interests are in the field of the ethics/philosophy of development, environment and international relations.

Dr Peter Mtika, Lecturer, Centre for Global Development and School of Education, University of Aberdeen

Peter is a lecturer and researcher in education. His main research interest is broadly within international and comparative education. Peter is particularly interested in education for equity, social justice and sustainability. Peter is also coordinator for an interdisciplinary course, ‘Africa: Sustainable Development for All?



Dr Andrea Teti, Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen, Co-Director Centre for Global Security and Governance and Centre for Modern Thought

Andrea’s primary area of research is the politics of democracy-promotion in the Middle East, specifically the relationship between how knowledge is produced, translated into policy, applied, and how resulting political dynamics affect knowledge production in turn. He has particular interests in labour movements and civil society groups in the Middle East, political parties and elections. Andrea also looks at the authoritarian practices of the Egyptian regime, in particular the range of techniques being used to empty democratic commitments of any substance.



Keynote | Making people count: the unequal world of global health data

An individual’s likelihood of having their birth and death officially registered still varies enormously around the world. What does this imply for health planning and policy making – to say nothing of that individual’s health?


Working with people: a people-centred, action-oriented research project in South Africa

Recent estimates suggest that two-thirds of the world's deaths pass unrecorded. This situation seriously limits the ability of health systems to respond to the needs of vulnerable and excluded populations. In settings where health systems are fragile and under-resourced, where new burdens of disease are rapidly emerging, and where large and diverse populations are excluded from access to health care, innovative approaches that connect the registration of vital events to health care systems in a people-centred approach are needed. The talk reports on a recent project that employs a bottom up philosophy connecting with population data at source.


What do ‘the people’ want? Democracy in EU Policy and MENA Perceptions After the Arab Uprisings

The reaction of the Western media, governments and international organisations to the Upbringings in the Arab World in 2010/11 was to see them as an expression of popular demand for liberal democracy. However, analysis of the Arab Transformations Public Opinion Survey suggests that people were motivated by much more than demands for political rights and that what they want are the social and economic rights without which it is not possible, in any case, to enjoy the benefits of political rights.  What people want is to live in a decent society that enables them to led productive and fulfilling lives.

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