The Shared Knowledge Hub, led by Dr Fernando Fernandes and the Dundee University Students Association (DUSA) and the West Church, are organising a cultural activity, every Friday, starting on 16th October 1:30 – 4:00pm. This will involve a range of activities such as cine-club, board games, international food, music and so on.
The CULTURAL FRIDAY (still a provisory name) aims to address the demand for cultural and creative activities. We believe this can, indirectly, contribute with existing efforts to impact positively on social isolation and mental health issues.
This will be a space to students exercise solidarity and raise awareness of critical issues in society. A space for social and knowledge interaction and mutual learning. In line with the University’s focus on transformation it will connect the university community with Dundee citizens. The Shared Knowledge Hub embraces DUSA campaign to raise awareness among students about social issues and welcomes this partnership approach.
SDHI contributed to an event on the 23 October in the Steeple Church in Dundee that brought together many community organisations, Dundee city council and academics from various disciplines departments. The purpose of the four hour meeting was to explore how the university can engage and work more closely with local community organisations (e.g. Sign Post; Hot Chocolate). The event was led and organised by Dr Fernando Fernandes, School of Nursing & Midwifery/SDHI who – in his introductory remarks – highlighted the role of Brazilian scholar, educator and social activist, Paulo Freire in guiding the vision for more participatory and collaborative work between the university and the communities of Dundee. The afternoon was organised around round table discussion and a World Café style exploration of the issues that matter to communities. Many organisations struggle with limited resources and had mixed experiences with past engagement with the university. There was a strong wish for a real, not a tokenistic or temporary commitment for a joint working relationship. Value was seen in having the university build local capacity (accredited short courses), support practice-based evaluations, develop important technologies that reduce the monitoring and reporting burden, contribute to the volunteering programme. Academic expertise may also provide the evidence for promising interventions, which in turn may make funding more sustainable. The role of local businesses in potentially contributing to programmes that seek to address inequalities in pragmatic ways was also discussed. The event was just opening the discussion between the interdisciplinary ‘Engagement and Participation’ group at the University of Dundee and the community.
An interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners came together on invitation of SDHI and the Geddes Institute of Urban Research at the University of Dundee to discuss the future of care space design in urban environments. The group consisted of architects, town planners, geographers, psychologist, artists, occupational therapists, computing specialists and nurses. As demographics are changing towards an increasingly aging population who predominantly live in single households there has also been a reduction in care home places and a move towards providing personal and health care in people’s home environments. At the symposium implications of these developments on the design of homes, services and age-friendly cities was examined. The role of urban greenspaces and technology was highlighted as much as the need to engage communities in planning efforts. Communication is essential and planers need to be cognisant of people traditionally left out of planning efforts (e.g. People with communication disabilities or learning disabilities). Also it is important to consider how different individuals and population groups experince and perceive their environment. The importance of links between home, hospital and community environments was highlighted and the need to assist ‘vulnerable’ citizens with the navigation of complex communities and services. We will provide further summaries and updates of this event soon.
The new year has begun with exciting new developments for SDHI. We have entered into a collaboration with a team of researchers based at various universities in Arizona, including the University of Arizona,Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. On invitation by Research Professor Catherine Marshall who presented a seminar at SDHI in 2012, a group of rehabilitation, family, cancer and disability researchers from Arizona, Finland and the UK convened in Tucson in mid-January. Along with presentations (podcast 79) at the University of Arizona, Cancer Institute, individual meetings with community practitioners and researchers and students formed the basis for many new research ideas, projects, and ideas for collaboration. The group decided to launch a virtual research platform, called FRED (Family-focused Research, Education and Development in Low Income Communities), which will be filled with activities and life over the coming months. SDHI will be an integral partner to this initiative and we look forward to developing joint grant applications, work exchanges and seminars with our colleagues in North America and Finland. Over the coming weeks and months we will provide updates about the progress of this initiative.