By Tim Barlott

Doing healthcare research differently: An introduction to SocioHealthLab’s Special Series, Part 1

Established in 2019, SocioHealthLab is a research collective of health and social science researchers, practitioners and students from Australia and around the world, striving for healthcare transformation through applied, theory-driven, creative and collaborative socio-cultural research. In short, we come together to challenge each other to do health and healthcare differently.

Through this first of two instalments within our special series with the Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation, we begin doing health research dissemination differently by telling our story/stories[1] through animation, music, sound and discourse. Our story/stories take many forms: poems on becoming sick (Barlott, 2022)and (in)visible (Boodoosingh, 2022), visual and reflexive narration questioning what it means to be a physiotherapist (Mescouto, 2022) and a performance by creature-clinicians adopting a humanistic approach to treating dragon scale (Setchell et al., 2022)!

Such storytelling is part of becoming. The storytelling found in this special series is part of our becoming. Stories have long been central to how communities teach one another their values, produce theories on how the world works and for reworking one’s place in it. Through stories, we learn how and who to be (Frank, 2007). Through the stories in this first instalment of our special series we begin to teach ourselves and others our values: vulnerability, (more-than)human-centred approaches to care and a deep curiosity in theory’s transformative potentiation.

Visual stories like these can help us to express our emotions, share these emotions and contain them (Frank, 2007). Discomfort – shared through storytelling – holds our collective attention, making the discomfort a less isolating experience, and one with the potential for transformation. Humour is also transformative, allowing us to reflect on our own practices in a less confronting space. In this first of two instalments within our special series, we see sorrow, discomfort and/or humour central to the ebb and flow of each unfolding relational journey.

The videos are designed to be a multi-sensory experience, differing from usual academic forms of expression. They are brief, so put aside a little time, find a quiet space, put on some headphones and join us in our stories.

SocioHealthLab is an inclusive research collective where anyone is welcome to participate in our conversations on health and healthcare. After spending some time with our story/stories in this special series, you may wish to join our the collective. You can find more information about us – including our contact details – on our website: .

[1] We use the phrasing ‘story/stories’ purposefully here – because no story is completely original. Familiarity and intertextuality are central to the purposes of storytelling – helping us to recognise ourselves, reflect on who we are, and act accordingly.

Video Description

This poem centres around the concept of becoming, which comes from the work of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Becoming is an asignifying and disruptive process. Processes of becoming involve micropolitical or small-scale movements of power and resistance that generate fissures or cracks, forming lines of escape. These processes can be understood as entering into a closeness or a zone of proximity with something that is ‘other’, in this case entering into proximity with sickness. In this Deleuzio-Guattarian intoxicated poem Tim explores his imperceptible becoming following the surgical removal of a cancerous tumour.

Tim Barlott, PhD, MScRS, BScOT

Tim Barlott, PhD, MSc, Grad Cert (Community-Based Participatory Research) BScOT, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta and Co-Director of the SocioHealthLab at The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Tim’s research is at the interface of health service delivery and the sociology of health, interrogating the socio-political aspects of everyday life and pursuing affirmative/transformative possibilities. In particular, Tim is interested in allyship and the value of freely-given relationships in community mental health, considered through post-modern and new materialist theoretical perspectives. Using community-based approaches, Tim’s research is built on collaborative relationships with community partners and the co-construction of research processes. Tim’s research is published across sociology, rehabilitation, occupational science, occupational therapy, philosophy, and qualitative methods. Tim has over 15 years of experience as a community practitioner (occupational therapist, addictions counsellor, and youth worker), educator, and participatory researcher in Canada, Australia, and internationally.


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