Thomas, Julia

Julia Thomas
Start date:
October 2015
Research Topic:
Disclosure, distrust and discourse in the public engagement of psychiatric genetics and genomics
Research Supervisor:
Professor Adam Hedgecoe
Supervising school:
Ysgol y Gwyddorau Cymdeithasol,
Primary funding source:
ESRC Studentship

Mental ill-health is a national problem, high on the policy-makers agenda, and an important area of scientific research. However, psychiatric genetic research and UK wide anti-stigma mental health campaigns both critically depend on addressing the need for increased public participation.

This research will explore how individuals and groups negotiate the decision making process of psychiatric genetic research participation and the impact on this of the broader movement to public disclosure.

How do public groups engage with the genomic era of mental health research?

What are the barriers to participation?

How does the changing society of public disclosure affect this participation?

The research will provide critical insight into the tensions, resistance, and motivations related to this decision-making process whilst referencing multiple perspectives and past socio-political and scientific influences. The results of this study have the capacity to incorporate a more informed understanding for policy makers and research organisations of the behaviour of potential research participants, particularly in relation to scientific and public discourse, disclosure, and distrust.

I will be drawing on socially engaged/participatory arts practice and social science methods incorporating both quantitative and qualitative insights.