Using a co-created transdisciplinary approach to explore the complexity of air pollution in informal settlements

West, S. E. et al. (2021) Using a co-created transdisciplinary approach to explore the complexity of air pollution in informal settlements. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8(1), 285. (doi: 10.1057/s41599-021-00969-6)

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Abstract

We present novel co-created transdisciplinary research that uses arts and humanities methods to explore air pollution in an informal settlement (Mukuru) in Nairobi, Kenya. Air pollution is a well-documented major human health issue, but despite many air pollution reduction interventions designed to improve health, these are frequently ineffective. Often this is because they fail to account for local knowledge, cultural practices and priorities of the intended recipients. Designing solutions therefore requires in-depth exploration of relevant issues with stakeholders. Researchers worked collaboratively with local residents to develop a range of methods to explore understandings of air pollution including interviews, storytelling, participatory mapping and theatre. Together, we uncovered contrasting definitions of air pollution, differing perceptions of who was responsible for enacting solutions, and overall a view that air pollution cannot be seen in isolation from the other issues faced by settlement residents. The methods used also allowed us to communicate about the topic with a wide audience. While we acknowledge that this research approach is more time consuming than traditional approaches, we urge other researchers wishing to address multifactorial problems, such as air pollution to use a mixture of qualitative, participatory and creative methods to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to elicit new and unexpected understandings that may not otherwise emerge.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gray, Professor Cindy
Authors: West, S. E., Bowyer, C. J., Apondo, W., Büker, P., Cinderby, S., Gray, C. M., Hahn, M., Lambe, F., Loh, M., Medcalf, A., Muhoza, C., Muindi, K., Njoora, T. K., Twigg, M. M., Waelde, C., Walnycki, A., Wainwright, M., Wendler, J., Wilson, M., and Price, H. D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
Journal Name:Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Publisher:Springer Nature
ISSN:2662-9992
ISSN (Online):2662-9992
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2021
First Published:First published in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 8(1):285
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300728Air pollution in Informal settlements Research Network (AIR Network)Lucinda GrayArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)AH/R006059/1S&PS - Institute of Health & Wellbeing (Social Sciences)