UCL award received for collaborative human wellbeing research

15 October 2014

UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing

Beverley Butler and Anne Lanceley have been awarded UCL Grand Challenges funding for a cross-disciplinary research project to enhance wellbeing in cancer patients.

Beverley and Dr Anne Lanceley (UCL Institute for Women's Health), are collaborating with Mike Rowlands (UCL Anthropology) to undertake research across clinical-science and the humanities in the development of innovative holistic-participatory interventions capable of enhancing wellbeing, recovery and cure in patients undergoing chemotherapy for treatable cancer.

Building on the interdisciplinary success of UCL’s ‘Heritage in Hospitals’ initiatives the starting point of the project is to reframe the experience of treatment as dynamic interactions with diverse object-worlds and to understand these ‘relations with objects’ as hugely significant in terms of patients developing a sense of mastery, possession and control over their recovery, wellbeing and cure.

As Beverley has indicated:

  • "We see this project as a pilot study that addresses the power of object worlds. Our aim is to gain some sense of patient experience by having pre-project focus group consultations with patients who have successfully undergone chemotherapy. We will use this as a context from which to take forward such insights and to build upon the sense of patient-researcher co-participation"
UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing

Beverley's role in this project will take forward her long-term research interests in the interrelationships between heritage and health and in particular her interests in the 'efficacy of heritage objects' and their potential therapeutics. She has previously worked with Traditional/Local Healers in Palestine on the use of amulets to enhance wellbeing in contexts of extremis.

Anne's role will be to take forward her research interests in cancer care treatment and the use of objects in eliciting 'therapeutic talk'. She has access to and is familiar with the chemotherapy treatment suite on the 2nd floor of the UCLH Macmillan Cancer Centre - the 'Living room' area - of the Information and Support Centre on the ground floor where the intervention(s) will take place. Her concern is enhancing patient care and recovery.

The UCL Grand Challenge of Human Wellbeing considers both the nature of being human and the nature of wellbeing and acts as a synthesis for UCL’s talented researchers to work together across disciplines, harnessing their research, expertise and enthusiasm to provide new, multifaceted, multidisciplinary considerations of human wellbeing.