GDE730, GDE730 - Week 6

Week 6 : Workshop Challenge

Due to illness this week my interview has been delayed – hoping to get it recorded this week so will update on here!

I firstly wanted to really understand each topic we’d been given to work on:

  • Improving mental health in young adults.
  • Reducing pollution in inner cities.
  • Encouraging greater engagement with galleries and museums.
  • Reducing isolation and loneliness.
  • Promoting greater community cohesion.

All of these topics cover such a broad range of specialisms or experience. It’s going to be really interesting to listen to the other interviews and their views on a lot of this. Take, for example, improving mental health – this could be a nurse specialist in mental health, a specialist in homeopathic remedies for improving anxiety, someone who has had extensive experience of mental health issues and now an advocate for improving mental health… The range is so extensive but I love that!!! We all have fascinating people in our lives who do this work on a daily basis, so why not celebrate the work they do and discuss how interdisciplinary work can help solve a specific problem. I didn’t want to choose a topic and then the specialist, but rather look at the people around me in careers that would give me huge insight into a specific issue.

It’s also not just about the topics but the questions that arise within these issues; we’re living in a world where we can help make a difference if we all work together. So this needs to be addressed; I think we need to recognise that in order to successfully interview these subjects and get the most out of their time, it’s about what “WE” can do together – not just what “I” can do.

I also found that focussing on the people I knew meant I could fully understand their backgrounds – perhaps it’s not their job that makes them a specialist but their experience, or what they do on the side.

Below is my shortlist of specialists I know and how the work they do can help solve a specific problem:

Software Developer for the NHS : Current focus is on the 111 helpline. Could definitely discuss recent issues within the system regarding mental health which has been highlighted in the news. Could also discuss how the NHS is working to improve access within communities for healthcare

Computer Science Student : Current thesis on software within the communities and how apps can help bring people together. Fascinating insight into how we can start to use technology to help improve community cohesion.

IBS Specialist Nurse : Main focus on using hypnotherapy to reduce anxiety related IBS and the connection between mental health and physical illnesses.

Actuary : Based in London, huge advocate for women within sport and business. Could be very useful for focusing on mental health within this sector?

Community Team Assistant : Working for Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust based in York. Huge focus on developing strong communities to tackle poverty and isolation.

Looking at the above, there’s quite a range of topics I could begin to look at, but personally, with my background as an Estate Agent, I feel very strongly about improving community cohesion. I found the work so frustrating when we had to turn down applicants because they didn’t have enough savings or anyone around them to help them rent a property. It felt wrong, and I think the work JRHT do is so vital to improving communities it felt like the obvious choice.

I need to think about getting the most from the interview, looking into the connection between poverty and isolation, housing and the communities etc. How do they take steps to improve cohesion between communities – I know they build new housing that is affordable and available on shared schemes, but how are they connected to existing communities? Is this an important aspect to community cohesion?

I will be joining two of the topics given as I feel they go hand in hand with this specific topic:

Reducing isolation and loneliness & Promoting greater community cohesion.

My potential list of questions:

  • Current role and purpose of JRHT
  • Relationship between strong communities and isolation/poverty?
  • What does JRHT mean by poverty?
  • Links to psychological and physical problems due to poverty – mental health?
  • Steps being taken to tackle these issues?


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