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Collaborating with care: Creating inclusive public engagement programmes with survivors of sexual violence

Venue: Online

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Birkbeck's Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Mental Health (CIRMH) and The Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters Project (SHaME) are hosting an online seminar on public engagement with lived experience research with Zara Asif and Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh, chaired by Dr Sarah Marks.

Event details: 
Wednesday 06 March 2024
Online via MS Teams
11.00-12.00pm GMT

On 06 March 2024 Birkbeck Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Mental Health (CIRMH) and The SHaME Project are hosting an online seminar about public engagement with lived experience research as part of CIRMH's Researching Lived Experience in Mental Health Seminar Series. SHaME's Public Engagement Lead Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh will be in conversation with Zara Asif from the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health at King's College London in a discussion chaired by CIRMH Director Dr Sarah Marks.

Including people with lived experience in research and engagement projects is becoming an increasingly common practice and one which is highly encouraged by funders. Working with people with lived experience and including their voices, perspectives and expertise enriches research and makes it more responsive to the communities it impacts. But it’s not without challenges, both ethical and logistical. This is especially the case with sensitive research topics like sexual violence, where it’s critical to avoid causing further harm while also representing the complexity and nuance of the research and the breadth of people’s lived experience. CIRMH’s Director, Dr Sarah Marks will chair a conversation between Zara Asif from the Not My Shame project and the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health at King’s College London and Dr Rhea Sookdeosingh from The SHaME Project at Birkbeck, University of London, where we will explore how to create truly inclusive programmes, different approaches to safeguarding and ethics, and how to navigate complicated university systems.


Zara Asif joined the Centre for Society and Mental Health's Marginalised Communities Programme in January 2021. Her current research focuses around global mental health and mental health policy, particularly among marginalised communities such as ethnic minorities, refugees and migrants. In addition, Zara has worked as a co-PI for the Not My Shame project, which focused on creative collaboration between researchers and artists, and emphasised on empowering survivors of violence and abuse.

Rhea Sookdeosingh is the Public Engagement Lead for The SHaME Project. She is an experienced public engagement practitioner and has previously worked in capacity-building roles at Birkbeck and the University of Oxford. Rhea works to develop and steward partnerships that drive humanities-led research and innovation, and she has an overarching interest in showcasing the social and civic value of arts and humanities research and practice. She is also an historian with interests in the intellectual, social and cultural history of medicine. Her first monograph on the history of anorexia nervosa in nineteenth-century Britain is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Rhea is currently the co-chair of Birkbeck’s staff diversity network REACH (Race, Ethnicity & Cultural Heritage), which works to support and amplify the voices of underrepresented ethnically diverse staff across the University. 

Sarah Marks is a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Birkbeck Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Mental Health. She works across History, Qualitative Social Science Research and Policy Studies to understand mental health in its cultural and political context, predominantly in Europe and Africa. Her work is funded by UK Research and Innovation and the Wellcome Trust. As Director of Birkbeck CIRMH she is particularly interested in supporting research and conversations on methods for understanding lived experience in mental health.



You can read more about this event by visiting the SHaME website.

Please consult our Safeguarding Statement for this event. 

This event is free and open to the public, but tickets must be booked in advance.

Please note this event is taking place online via MS Teams. The joining link will be shared upon booking but will only be accessible an hour before the event starts.

Please note this event will be recorded (speakers only).

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