Research Projects.

Border Crossings: Charity and Voluntarism in Britain's Mixed Economy of Health Care Since 1948

Since

August 2021

This project examines the history of health-related charity and volunteering in the UK since the formation of the National Health Service (NHS). Through identifying relevant case studies - including third sector institutions that have moved in and out of the NHS - we investigate their relative failures and successes, the challenges they have faced and achievements made. In so doing, we contribute to ongoing debates about the relative advantages and disadvantages of the voluntary sector, both broadly and specifically regarding health-care provision.

 

This is a collaborative research project by the Universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Strathclyde, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This project is funded by a £1.4 million grant from the Wellcome Trust through their Collaborative Awards in Humanities and Social Sciences Scheme. 

 

Read more about the project and our outputs here

PhD: Philanthrocapitalism in the UK

2017-2021

For my PhD, I examined philanthrocapitalism - the application of business- and market-based actors, methods, and motives to philanthropy. Given the growing policy- and agenda-setting abilities of philanthrocapitalists, attention on their perspectives, experiences, and approaches is urgently needed. However, reflecting methodological difficulties of accessing high-net-worth individuals, relevant research remains methodologically, thematically, and geographically limited with a disproportionate focus on the US. Addressing this gap, I investigate what influences whether and how individuals engage in philanthrocapitalism in the UK.

This project was informed by a multi-theoretical framework, constructed by integrating Bourdieu's three primary concepts - field, habitus, and capital - and a social relations theory of philanthropy. The resulting framework provides insight into the different philanthropic strategies philanthropists may pursue, and what influences their choice and selection of each strategy.

From January-June 2019, I conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with 42 UK-based high-net-worth philanthropists. Insights were analysed using a thematic approach, in line with the interpretive, social constructionist methodology supporting this research.

Mapping Philanthropy in Scotland

2017-2021

Addressing the currently limited number of resources and publications exploring Scotland's rich history of philanthropy, this project aims to develop an online story map allowing users to identify and learn about places, people, and events of philanthropic interest in Scotland.

I supported and contributed to this ongoing project through:

  • Data collection and analysis, primarily using text and archival research

  • Planning and contributing to joint publications (currently in development)

  • Planning, creating, and delivering presentation materials to project funders and stakeholders

  • Producing and managing blog content based on project findings; our blog posts were read by over 14,000 people in 2019

  • Designing and delivering public engagement projects for a range of academic, practitioner, and public audiences​

This project was conducted at and by the Centre for the Study of Philanthropy & Public Good and was funded by a £9,000 Knowledge and Impact Grant from the University of St Andrews.

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Image credit: Carnegie birthplace museum

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