WWW Institute for Advanced Studies Workshop on 9 September 2013

The IAS workshop was very well attended with 38 delegates from across Colleges at the University of Birmingham and including ten participants from external universities and organisations (see delegate list).  A wide range of disciplines were represented, including psychology, public health, sport and exercise science, social policy, economics and management. Within and across the different disciplines and organisations, a diverse set of methodological expertise was encompassed.  The mix of disciplinary and methodological standpoints and diverse foci of interests united within the wider theme was a major objective of the workshop and in achieving this we believe that this is an important strength of the project going forward.

complaining-medicine

 

An additional success of the workshop was that it enabled the diverse group of attendees to engage with key research and policy themes linking work, wealth and wellbeing across disciplines and methodological boundaries.  While there is a large research literature examining work, wealth and wellbeing as isolated outcomes but a dearth of research examining how these three factors interact. For example, research from the medical and health fields has demonstrated the importance of working on both physical and mental health outcomes. Research from the field of economics and the sociology of work has shown how health is a causal factor in transitions in and out of work and into different kinds of work and how work impacts on health. However, the majority of literature is discipline specific with little attempt to synthesise research and theory across diverse fields. As a consequence findings across disciplines do not tend to build upon each other, which is critical to advance theoretical knowledge and to drive developments in policy and practice in this field.

The workshop enabled us to begin breaking down some of these disciplinary barriers and open up new cross-disciplinary and mixed-methodological discussions drawing links between the three WWW themes.

The workshop was initiated and supported through the IAS. The umbrella organisation of the IAS funded the workshop and the travel and subsistence costs for external delegates.  The attendance and participation of external delegates was a vital element in the success of this workshop, enabling as it did a wider set of voices and views to participate and be heard.  The IAS team provided invaluable practical assistance in setting up the workshop and opened up the initiative more widely across the University.