Singing about Sexual and Mental Health & Wellbeing through “Feeltrack”: Reflections on a Collaborative Public Engagement Project with Young Lgbtq People

Boydell, N. , McDaid, L. and Lorimer, K. (2016) Singing about Sexual and Mental Health & Wellbeing through “Feeltrack”: Reflections on a Collaborative Public Engagement Project with Young Lgbtq People. British Sociological Association Scottish Group Inaugural Conference, Glasgow, 14 March 2016. (Unpublished)

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Working with non-academic partners and including participants in the design and delivery of research is emerging as a critical element in the field of medical sociology. Our work has increasingly turned to the overlap in sexual and mental health and wellbeing amongst LGBTq communities. We recognise that engagement with communities to whom our work relates is an integral part of the research process, and actively seek out opportunities to exchange ideas and collaborate with such communities to ensure that our research is relevant in the real-world. Here we present a case study based on our experiences of designing and delivering a public engagement project, ‘Feeltrack’, with young LGBTq people and their allies. ‘Feeltrack’ was a collaborative public engagement project, involving researchers and song-writers, sponsored by the Wellcome Trust. Across five UK ‘hubs’, song-writers and researchers working with young people (aged 16-25) each focused on a different topic related to sexuality and sexual health and worked to respond creatively to questions around such topics through song-writing. The focus of the Glasgow hub was on minority sexualities, specifically issues of mental and sexual health. Working in partnership with arts organisations, New Rhythms for Glasgow and Tramway, and drawing on the expertise of practitioners from LGBT Youth Scotland, the project offered the opportunity to engage young people in an exciting and creative way, and develop a ‘conversation’ between the arts and sciences. We reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities of engaging with the young people who participated, as well as partnering with community-based and artistic partners. We discuss the tensions between developing projects which are meaningful to stakeholders and the ‘publics’ we seek to engage, as well as beneficial to us as researchers. We explore the ethical implications of engaging young people in identifying issues they consider important as part of a future research agenda, but which may not be considered either a priority area for research nor ‘fundable’.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McDaid, Professor Lisa and Boydell, Dr Nicola
Authors: Boydell, N., McDaid, L., and Lorimer, K.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Research Group:MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656571Sexual Health and Families ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/2IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
727631SPHSU Core Renewal: Relationships & Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/11IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU