The role of local civil society in creating and delivering a global health curriculum: a critical inquiry of partnership between a Higher Education Institution and the third sector, addressing youth violence in London


Supervisor: Mariam Sbaiti

Non-accademic partner: Young Brent Foundation

Studentship start date: October 2022

Application deadline: Monday 28 February 2022 at 11am

Application details:

This project aims to study an existing innovative partnership between the educators of a Global Health university degree and a local London-based voluntary-sector organisation. The scheme allows Global Health students at Imperial College London to learn about local health inequalities through an experiential placement module with a non-profit organisation, Young Brent Foundation. Young Brent Foundation works to address the complex determinants of the high rates of youth violence in the neighbouring council of Brent. Many students experience their placement as deeply transformative and some choose to continue collaborating with their voluntary-sector organisation after graduation. Global Health is a multidisciplinary field of research and practice focusing on health and healthcare across the world. The provision of university degrees in Global Health has exploded since the millennium. Paradoxically, most of these are financially and logistically inaccessible to those communities with direct experience of health inequalities, whether these are in geographically distant countries, or neighbouring the university campus. Academic Global Health has been characterised by inequalities in power and influence along geographical, class, gender and ethnic lines, such that a multitude of voices are marginalised in debates about what Global Health curricula should look like. Recently, academic Global Health has been critiqued for focusing too heavily on health issues affecting Low and Middle-Income Countries, and for resulting in the “othering” of Low and Middle-Income Countries. Collaborative partnership in Global Health education have not been studied before. The purpose of this doctoral project is to examine the value of this innovative approach to curriculum co-design and co-delivery with civil society partners and how it may serve to acknowledge the expertise that lies in the local communities most affected by health inequalities. This research project will highlight the ongoing experiences and the benefits of collaboration for all participants, including, importantly, Young Brent Foundation itself. In doing so, this research project will enable Young Brent Foundation staff to further articulate their own needs and highlight what education around social, political and cultural aspects of health in London should look like. The project employs qualitative and ethnographic methods to explore and critically analyse the complexities and the pedagogical and ethical tensions in this partnership for each stakeholder (Young Brent Foundation, students and educators). Collaborative education partnerships may provide a solution for Higher Education Institutions and educators to facilitate more inclusive and participatory education. Yet, such schemes will need to be planned and managed in reflexive ways in order to achieve balanced and meaningful partnership. This research project contributes to an important critique of the meaning of Global Health education and knowledge production and will provide key practical insights to inform future educational partnerships.