1st Edition

Public Health, Humanities and Magical Realism A Creative-Relational Approach to Researching Human Experience

By Marisa de Andrade Copyright 2023
    192 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book calls for a re-conceptualisation of the public health evidence-base to include crucial forms of creative and relational data about people’s lived experiences that cannot be accessed through the biomedical approach to generating and using evidence. Drawing from the author’s ethical, ontological and epistemological dilemmas when studying controversial topics, and methodological evaluation framework to measure impacts of creative community engagement, the book argues that traditional methodologies and conceptualisations of evidence have the potential to exacerbate health inequalities by excluding and misrepresenting minorities. Fantastical realities based on ‘truthful’ research findings are intertwined with traditional public health approaches through artistic engagement with so-called ‘hard-to-reach’ groups. Working with their (sur)real life stories, the author reflects on how the population’s breadth is inadequately reflected which threatens validity and generalisability in public health research and decision making. Through different ways of knowing (epistemology) and different ways of being (ontology), this book shows how to design studies, make recommendations and adapt services that are aligned with views and experiences of those living on the margins and beyond. As such, it is an essential read for public health researchers and students.

    1.What’s real and unreal in public health?  2.Emergence – the gap between two epistemic bubbles.  3.Measuring Humanity—a methodological mine-(mind)-field.  4.Knowledge is Power.  5.Can you hear me?  6.Convergence – accepting our differences.


    Marisa de Andrade is an academic in health policy at the University of Edinburgh. She is Programme Director for the MSc by Research in Health Humanities and Arts; Programme Director for the PhD in Health in Social Science; Associate Director for the Centre for Creative-Relational Inquiry; and a Co-Director at the Binks Hub working with communities to co-produce a programme of research and knowledge exchange that promotes social justice, relational research methods and human flourishing. Marisa has led several traditional and community-based arts-informed public health studies. She is currently PI on an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) collaborative place-based grant putting the arts at the helm of strategic decision-making across multiple sectors including health and social care, employability, education and social justice.