A woman in shadow with bars behind her

Research with Vulnerable Groups

I’ve been back at work for a few weeks. Today has been a big day for meetings and planning on equity, diversity and accessibility.

I sat on our disability inclusion steering committee. We’re finalising the draft of our disability inclusion action plan for our sector. I’ve been collaborating with a colleague to collect feedback from executives about the plan.

In between meetings, I cranked out a lot of human resourses admin. We have a 360 performance review coming up. Usually, we get feedback from our direct line managers. We get to respond to their review, and we agree on their assessment, plus my goals for the next year. We also provide feedback to our managers about their performance. This time we’re additionally being asked for feeback from other team members, as well as from our stakeholders. Preparing for these reviews is quite a lot of work. One of my stakeholders called me today to discuss the feedback she was submitting. I told her it’s meant to be anonymous but she wanted to give me the opportunity to ask her questions and to make sure that I understood everything. I loved her approach—very collegial.

After all this, I still have to fit in a survey about our team culture.

My other work today has been preparing for our team ‘away day’ tomorrow. It’s a day where we focus on team building activities. I’ve coordinated two session on equity and diversity. As I’ve previously told you, I’ve been collaborating with two colleagues to integrate equity, diversity, accessibility and inclusion methods into our work. We’re encouraging our team to be more proactive about how we engage with these issues.

We’ve invited two external speakers to deliver interactive, specialised lectures.

The first session is about how we might reconsider principles of codesign for our randomised controlled trials, when working with Aboriginal communities. The speaker will discuss the politics, power, and the asymmetry in the relationship between researchers, government services and communities. They’ll cover issues of trust and culturally appropriate approaches.

The second session is looking at codesign methodology with vulnerable communities. Our speaker wil define what it means to be vulnerable, as well as covering issues of power between a researcher and vulnerable groups. They’ll focus on their research with disabled people, LGBTQIA youth , and people in prison. The researcher has developed a life course journey mapping method, which our team will get to practice, as an alternative to traditional interviews and surveys.

I’m super excited to have a focus on qualitative methods, as our team is overly driven by quantitative methods, and randomised control trials specifically. I’d like us to branch out and try new things.

It’s been a bit tricky to plan our breakout group activities, because half the team is going to be face to face in the office and the rest of us are joining remotely via video, as some of us are still in self-isolation. (I’m working from home.) We’ll see how all of that works.

Today, over my lunch break, I worked with my colleague on our new YouTube series. Last week we filmed an amazing session on Aboriginal sovereignty and the pandemic. Today, we filmed an episode on media representations of race and COVID-19. It’s tough filming during my break, because it means I don’t get any time away from work. It’s the only time that works for everyone: it’s very difficult to cordinate three distinguished guests, plus my collaborator’s calendar and mine.

Just before I came back from leave, I made the decision to give up a couple of my projects. One of these was the trial to improve outcomes for disabled workers. This trial dominated most of my time before I went on leave. I stepped off just before we went into the field. The trial was launched last week (no longer under my leadership). My last meeting today was a celebration for the launch this trial. Our intervention went out to almost 9,000 people. The team will have the results in the coming weeks. I’m excited to see what they find.

A new project I’m now leading is on cybersecurity. It’s been very interesting and lots of fun already.

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