Sussex Partnership ‘Spirit of Enquiry’ conference

A&R welcome screenThe Sussex Partnership ‘Spirit of enquiry’ Audit & Research conference is a Trust-wide, multi-disciplinary event. Its primary aims are to show continuities between audit and research, to give new researchers an early experience of presentation, to expose delegates to information and opportunities for A&R development, and to encourage creative and innovative thinking across applied disciplines.

We were very pleased to have two keynote speakers representing different aspects of research and innovation. Dr Bob Brecher, Professor of Moral Philosophy at the university of Brighton and member of the South East Research Committee and the university’s ethics panel, gave a challenging talk about the workings of an ethics committee and then took part in a lively ethics panel. Rob Berry, Head of Innovation and Research at the South East Regional Health Authority, gave a presentation that put in context the research and audit activities of clinicians and delivered a clear message linking best practice to best research. We were also delighted to welcome two expert speakers, Ruth Chandler and Alice Fox. Ruth is coordinator of public involvement and chairs the lived experience advisory forum (LEAF) with Sussex Partnership. She encouraged us to think about the value of bringing in public and lived experience perspectives while acknowledging the difficulties this can present, particularly where there is cognitive impairment or substantial ill health. Alice presented a radically different perspective on research, coming from an arts background but working primarily with adults with learning disabilities alongside post graduate students. She showed us not only how this very different environment could offer opportunities for evaluative and collaborative research, but brought out the value of self generated theories and the opportunities involvement offers for the capacity to form something out of basic elements.

A&R exit image

Four local projects were presented by Renee Harvey (consultant psychologist), David Beattie and Natasha Thorburn (assistant psychologists),  reporting on the STEPPS & STAIRWAYS programmes,  Charlotte Wilcox  (STR worker, Assertive Outreach) on an evaluation of two early intervention studies in Australia and Sussex Partnership (with Dr Rick Fraser and Dr Kathy Greenwood),  Barbara Vincent  (Professional Lead in Nursing for OPMH) and Jane Shepherd (consultant psychologist) on an audit of the management of violence and aggression in people with dementia, and Tony Levitan and Dulcie McCormack (psychology doctoral trainees) on an audit of psycho-educational workshops held for low intensity IAPT workers in Brighton and Hove. You can download a copy of the programme, including posters, here.

The conference was supported by internal communications promotion and also via twitter using the channel #ARconf on our @SussResCon account.

A version of this report may also be found in an edition of the CLRN newsletter.

Spirit of Enquiry A&R conference Dec 6th updates

A&R conference welcome imageThis post is for delegates attending the Spirit of Enquiry audit and research conference on December 6th. Adverse weather conditions have led to transport problems for many people but are not expected to persist. This page will be updated regularly over Friday, Saturday and Sunday to reflect best advice. You can check too with the Met Office official site, and Brighton & Hove council (twitter handle @BrightonHoveCC) in making your own plans.

Friday 03/12/10 11.14 Going ahead as planned.

Friday 03/12/10 12.32 Advisory warnings for Friday/Saturday, Awareness Sunday, clear Monday. Going ahead as planned.

Friday 03/12/10 14.11 Advice unchanged.

Friday 03/12/10 16.02 Advice unchanged.

Friday 03/12/10 22.13 Advice unchanged.

Saturday 04/12/10 Looking good, no alerts or warnings.

Sunday 05/12/10 All good. No adverse conditions expected.

Imperial College London | Treet TV

treet tv homepage

Imperial College London | Treet TV.

Imagine making a live TV show with a bunch of potentially maverick scientists and a studio audience. Nervous? Good. Now imagine that you’re going to do this in a virtual world with all your presenters and guests represented as avatars and communicating using text, in-world voice, and VOIP. Not to mention you need them to face front at the right time, have in-world voice turned on but not up so you get lip sync without echo, and nobody’s connection cracks up. That’s the challenge faced by the Treet TV team that followed Dave Taylor, Robin Winter and me through the various sets in which medical training, research and development takes place in Second Life.

I am not at all sure what I had expected and, as all of this kind of interaction often takes place in one’s own very familiar environment at home, there is always the risk of being slightly ‘off duty’, as it were and forgetting that you need to sit up straight and pay attention. In my case, I had to get rid of the sheep helicopter that had followed me from an earlier steam punk exhibition and stop the cat purring into my microphone. I should also have ditched the hat and remembered to park my cursor so that my avatar held her head up instead of  peering intently into an invisible gutter.

Clearly, marshalling amateurs like us is what this team does supremely well although at least one of us, (Mr Taylor, mentioning no names), had to be constrained to stop rushing around and just please stand still. Of course it was essentially the Imperial College Show and the build and animations designed and produced by Dave and Robin, the in-house 3D designer, were the stars. I have known about this work for some time but even so, I was astonished at the complexity of the models and interactivity available to trainee doctors and nurses in these realistic environments. In theatre, we looked at the workings of intricate positioning equipment for different operations as Robin ran through the animations and, on a ward, we saw the trail of information designed to alert nursing staff to developing risks.

Later, Dave demonstrated a patient examination animation in which lab tests could be ordered and treatmenttreet tv clip2 applied after palpating the patient’s abdomen. The chap even demanded water after perking up with his newly applied salbutamol nebuliser although this is plainly unrealistic. In my experience as a nurse it was always the loo they needed just as you got them kitted out with their tubes and lines. Maybe in the next iteration!

Meanwhile, I was hanging about, microphone muted so as not to introduce spurious and alarming domestic noises, outside the waiting room of the Royal Sussex County where we had run our study on consent last year. That was where I discovered I was still carrying my sonic screwdriver and also where I realised just how difficult it is to be spontaneous to order. Thank goodness my avatar was handling the hair, makeup and motion end of things or I would probably have tangled my feet, walked into the lamppost and delivered a glassy spinach-in-the-teeth beam to the air. Instead of which, my hat hid most of me while I examined the pavement in minute detail then walked sideways into the door frame.

Once successfully indoors, Saffia Widdershins and I did the tour of the examination room, operating theatre, and recovery room treet tv clip3where we had taken twenty adults with learning disabilities in late 2009.  This was an unscripted Q&A guided only by our run-through earlier in the evening.  I should not have been surprised at how elements of our casual conversation were woven into that scene to give the impression of a planned interview. That’s professionalism.

Today, seeing the final product (see link above), I was struck by how much less ‘real’ it seemed as video than it had at the time and that, precisely, is the value of an immersive interactive virtual environment. However good a video presentation, and this is a remarkable production for so many reasons, it does not have the sense of co-presence, the personal volition, the capacity to change at will one’s perspective or some element of the environment. It does not involve because it is passive. Virtual technology is active, allows for change, capitalises on the social psychology of human interaction, and is responsive to the presence of its inhabitants. That’s why we use it for research, for training, for development of human services, and for management of risk.

That and the sheep helicopters.