Opening the doors of the Machine Room

This blog post is the forth in a series of posts linked to the Evidence & Policy special issue (Volume 16, Issue 2) on Opening up evidence-based policy: exploring citizen and service user expertise. Guest Edited by Ellen Stewart, Jennifer Smith-Merry, and Marc Geddes.

Sarah Carr

Seventeen years ago, Diana Rose wrote that in mental health, user involvement was becoming ‘a technology of legitimation’[1] for reinforcing established powers. Seventeen years later, in examining some of the circuits and processors, Mazanderani and colleagues reveal how complex this ‘technology’ or machinery has become, and is still becoming. As though opening the doors of the machine room, the authors offer us a wealth of important insights and ideas. I’d like to share some thoughts on just a couple of them here.

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Evidence, Medicine and Art – Lived Experience Completing the Picture

This blog is the first of a series of blogs linked to the Evidence & Policy special issue (Volume 16, Issue 2) on Opening up evidence-based policy: exploring citizen and service user expertise. Guest Edited by Ellen Stewart, Jennifer Smith-Merry, and Marc Geddes.

Laila Hallam

Recently I came upon this photo in a post in Twitter[1].  I have seen it before.  It’s a powerful image by Sir Luke Fields.  The child and doctor at the centre, in the glow of the lamp.   The child ill and exhausted.  The doctor earnestly observing.  Watching.  Sitting.  Waiting.  Thinking.  Previously, and again this time, I absorb this painting as a statement on the medical profession.  A reminder of the solemness of their work.  The gravity of life and death.  The role of the family in the background, secondary and in the dark.

But then I was challenged to really look at the image.  The Dad wasn’t simply in the background, he was standing in the shadows, he was stoic, he was purposefully and intently studying the doctor for signals.  Only after considerable prodding, did I notice Dad’s hand comforting his distraught wife.  The Mum collapsed in prayer, or distress, or both.  Dad’s hand gently on her shoulder, reassuring her, or maybe channelling his energy into her prayer.  Her faith.  Their hope.

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Evidence & Policy insights during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Kat Smith and Paul Cairney

The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a light on the roles that evidence and expertise can play in policy and practice. Understanding the nature of these debates, and developing tools to help decision-makers navigate them, is the focus of the Evidence & Policy community. In this post, we consider how our reflections on the field’s key insights help us understand the role evidence is playing in the UK’s response to the current pandemic:

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