Although I’m now working in knowledge mobilisation, I started out as a musician. My undergraduate and masters degrees and my PhD were all in music which, of course, begs the question – how did I end up here?! Well, when I was working as a clarinet teacher and doing my masters degree in the late 1990s, I noticed that my fellow teachers and performers looked down their noses at the idea of analysing music. To them, ‘music analysis’ was something invented by academics for academics and had little practical use. But to me, if was a great way of understanding the shapes and patterns in music which could help you to perform it better! From that starting point, I went on to look at how ‘music analysis’ could be made more useful to instrumental teachers. Little did I know it, but that was my first tentative step towards thinking about how knowledge moved between settings and how the worlds of research and practice fitted together.
In 2005, when I finished my PhD I took the opportunity to get into health research by applying some of my generic research skills (e.g. how to analyse interview data) to a project about people’s experiences of care. While I was doing this project, I met a number of people who shared my interests in thinking about how research moved into practice, and they introduced me to the world of ‘knowledge mobilisation’. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Since then, I’ve been involved in projects about engaging members of the public with health-related research, how knowledge is exchanged in service delivery teams, how health and wellbeing managers create knowledge to address local challenges and collaboration between NHS managers and academics. I’ve also worked collaboratively with local NHS and social care partners to develop a method for evaluating integrated care. In 2014 I was awarded a National Institute of Health Research ‘Knowledge Mobilisation Research Fellowship’. You can find out more about that project here. project here. In 2018 I moved from the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences to the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, where I am continuing to teach and research knowledge mobilisation both within and outside the field of healthcare.