Good data for health literacy and digital inclusion – conference paper at DATA POWER

DATA POWER header image showing map of the world and connectionsThe first academic conference paper from the research project ART/DATA/HEALTH: data as creative material for health and wellbeing (UKRI/AHRC) will be presented at the two-day international conference DATA POWER: global in/securities, September 12&13, 2019, in Bremen, Germany. The conference is organized by the ZeMKI, Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research, University of Bremen in cooperation with the Universities of Carleton (Canada) and Sheffield (UK).

The project paper that will be presented at the Good Data stream (programme to be announced soon):

Good data for health literacy and digital inclusion 


The adoption of personalised digital health environments (e.g. self-management mobile apps), big data (e.g. surveillance of infectious outbreaks) and AI algorithms that inform decisions about social and health care (e.g. IBM Watson Health for social care management) all raise important issues about data and privacy today. Meanwhile, health promotion and communication has also moved to a digitised era, with health organisations using texts and social media in order to educate about health risks and prevention (Lupton 2015). Public health communication models however often follow a linear model of communication, in which public health education campaigns and media coverage of health issues lead to behavioural change.

This paper reports on work in progress of a project that offers a systematic approach to how public health communication can be enriched by community-based participatory forms to account for ethical, social, political and cultural issues in the era of big data and personalised medicine.

First it reviews critically a) existing innovative communication tools, technologies and strategies used in health communication and marketing, and b) art-based participatory projects on health and wellbeing, and the theoretical literature relating to health promotion and communication, with focus on policy issues and practice that relate to health data and digital health technologies. Drawing from this review, the paper develops a theoretical framework that identifies the ethical, social, cultural and political issues of a data-driven, art-centric strategy in health communication.



Lupton, D., 2014. Health promotion in the digital era: a critical commentary. Health promotion international, 30(1), pp.174-183.

Series: What are healthcare data? Post 1. Structured and unstructured healthcare data

Series: What are healthcare data?

This is the first of a series of short posts that aim to clarify what we mean by health data.

Post 1. Structured and less structured data

Healthcare data can come from a variety of sources and can take various forms. They can come from Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs), and can include information about hospital visits and prescriptions for example, or patient surveys. In this case healthcare data are usually structured. But they can also be in the form of handwritten notes from nurses and doctors, or radiographic images such as MRI’s. In this case they can be entered in databases using unstructured databases in NoSQL language.

According to NHS Personalised Health and Care 2020 paper (2014),

In addition to the work on structured data standards, NICE, in collaboration with other members of the NIB, will convene a forum to support the adoption of semantic web technologies and the further development of established semantic standards, thus improving the management of less structured information within the health and care system.

The image below helps us understand the flow of structured & unstructured data from their creating at the point of entry – full report here.

Structured/unstructured health data flow

Source HIMMS 2016: “These data are stored in both structured and unstructured forms until they are either “pushed” (to users) or requested for use (by government agencies and others). Both structured and unstructured data need blending to create insights that will keep the patient at the center of care” 

FAQ – Research officer post

Many of you have contacted me with questions about the Research Plan that should b submitted as part of the job application package for the two postdoc vacancies ART/DATA/HEALTH- Research Officer in the project (deadline 5th April). Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. This should help with your application. Good luck!

Q: What do I need to include in my research plan?

A: The 500-word Research Plan should contain just that – information on how your background matches the project aims. It is a short statement of how you think you can contribute towards meeting the projects aims with your expertise and experience. It is an opportunity to highlight aspects of your CV that you think are very relevant.

Focus on:

  • methods and your empirical skills – this is a participatory action research project
  • team working skills – you need to be able to work with partners, artists, academics, participants from disadvantaged communities.

Q: Do I need to come up with a new idea?

The 500-word statement is not a new project plan – you should not present a new idea for a completely new project but elaborate how your profile fits the Job Description, and how you will work for the project. The project outline can be found here and the most important part is this:

This Inter-disciplinary Interface Innovation Fellowship project uses health data as the source of experiential stories and as the source material for creative expression. In a series of exploratory workshops, a community of artists, academics and members of disadvantaged population will use a combination of creative media, storytelling and data analytics to explore evidence around health in their local communities. They will co-produce creative work that takes various forms (such as 3D-printed data sculptures, sound art and data murals around the city), which is inspired by both anonymised personal and open statistical health data.

Q: Will I become a Fellow? 

A: No, you will be employed as a Research Officer, assisting the Principal Investigator Dr Aristea Fotopoulou. She is the UKRI-AHRC Innovation Leadership fellow.

Q: My PhD is in X, am I a suitable applicant? 

A: Please read the relevant disciplinary fields in the Job Description and the job ad. If your themes and disciplinary background are included there then the answer is yes. If they don’t but you have done a lot of community work/professional work in these areas and you are excited about the challenge then again, yes. If all the above are NO and you need a job you can still apply but we will shortlist candidates who fit the criteria only.

Q: I don’t have a PhD yet but I am close to completion, what are my chances? 

A: If you look closely at the Job Description you will see that a PhD is desirable but not necessary for being shortlisted. So the answer is that your chances are good, go ahead and apply. The question to you will be of course, can you work 0.5FTE for the project while submitting your thesis/preparing for your Viva?

Q: Can we meet/talk on the phone/Skype for clarifications?

A: As much as I would love to talk to you, there is just not enough time to talk to everyone. The good news is that all the info is included on the website, blog, ad and job description so have a close read through everything.


Two vacancies Research Officer – Closing date 5th April 2019

Two research jobs available in the ART/DATA/HEALTH project, University of Brighton, UK.

Closing date 05 April

The University of Brighton, School of Media invites applications for two Research Officers (one with focus on Digital Communications & Health, and one with focus on Arts
& Health). The two positions are attached to the UKRI-AHRC Innovation Leadership Fellowship project “ART/DATA/HEALTH: Data as creative material for health and wellbeing”. The project creates an innovative and interdisciplinary process offering disadvantaged groups and the wider public new tools, at the intersections of data science with art practice, to approach two key issues in healthy aging and prevention: digital skills and health literacy.
You will be working in consultation with the Principal Investgator (PI) Dr Aristea Fotopoulou and as part of a team to:
  • undertake filedwork;
  • liaise with project partners;
  • organise participatory research workshops;
  • manage, store and analyse fieldwork material;
  • co-author research outputs;
  • disseminate findings.

A high level of analytical capability, as well as the ability to communicate information clearly (in a variety of forms) are necessary. Collaborating well as part of the project team is essential. You will have knowledge and/or experience and research interests in one or more of the following areas:

Both posts are 0.5 FTE fixed term posts for approximately 9 months, and we would expect the successful candidate to be in post by the beginning of June 2019. The successful candidate will be based at the new Centre for Research Excellence ‘Digital Media Cultures’ at the University of Brighton. The Centre is an interdisciplinary knowledge network spanning computing, social science, media, art and design.
Details and to apply:
Closing Date for both posts: 05 April 2019
If you have any questions please contact the PI Dr Aristea Fotopoulou (