I am currently working as a Research Fellow within the School of Health Sciences. Here I am based in the Workforce, Organisation and Wellbeing (WOW) research theme. The vision of this group is to lead high quality research and educational innovation that will inform practice and support the wellbeing of the healthcare workforce to ensure optimal staff and patient outcomes.
I work closely with Professor Jill Maben in Health Sciences on an NIHR study that is being led by Professor Aled Jones at Cardiff University and which is evaluating the implementation of a new role in NHS England designed to support staff who wish to raise concerns about the quality of patient care. Together with a research associate at Cardiff University, I have been conducting ethnographic research in acute and mental health trusts across NHS England to understand out how this role is being introduced and whether it supports staff to speak up about their concerns.
I am an anthropologist with an interest in health and care settings in developed countries. I am particularly fascinated by the kinds of social relations that are fostered in these environments and what this might indicate about what it means to be human more generally. As an anthropologist, I work ethnographically and this allows me to spend long periods of time with people, to focus on the minutia of their everyday lives and social relations with a view to understanding how these often seemingly mundane encounters reveal something more fundamental about our lived experiences of the world.
At the University of Surrey I am informally mentored by Dr Hrafn Asgeirsson, a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Law, whose expertise in ethics and philosophy provides guidance and insight around the complexities relating to personhood and what it means to live well for people with learning disabilities, as well as other individuals with cognitive impairments who require care and support for the duration of their lives.
Areas of specialism
Social Anthropology ;
Health and Social Care
University roles and responsibilities
- Member of Workforce, Organisation and Wellbeing (WOW) research theme, School of Health Sciences, University of Surrey.
- Member of Long-Term Conditions research cluster, School of Health Sciences, University of Surrey.
My individual work to date has focused on social care support for adults with learning disabilities and the social and political rhetoric that often underpins public representations of how people with learning disabilities can live well. Amongst developed countries, this rhetoric is rooted in liberal philosophical traditions in which autonomy and self-determination are highly valued and are the cornerstone of these societies. I seek to explore and understand how these values are played out in the lives of people whose autonomy and self determination is limited by their cognitive and/or physical impairment(s).
My doctoral research comprised an ethnographic study of how government policy is experienced by people with learning disabilities and the staff supporting them in everyday social care support settings in the UK. I was particularly interested in policies which focus on empowering people with independence and inclusion and sought to explore how these goals sit in relation to the fact that people with learning disabilities have cognitive - and possibly physical - impairments, meaning that they are in varying ways reliant on others for support with aspects of their lives. I found that there are limits to learning disability policy and practice which is organised around empowerment approaches because these approaches are at risk of discounting the needs that people experience as a result of their condition(s). Further to this, I also found that in focusing heavily on the importance of professional boundaries in support settings, everyday care providers are unintentionally at risk of depriving people with learning disabilities of important emotional connections with others around them.
I am interested in experimenting with the medium of film in research, particularly in the context of working with people with cognitive impairments who can encounter difficulties in expressing their thoughts and experiences verbally. In July 2018 I was awarded a competitive bursary from Methods@Manchester, University of Manchester to take part in the Filmmaking for Fieldwork (F4F) Summer School. This is a hands-on course providing an understanding of the foundations of ethnographic documentary filmmaking for anthropologists. I am keen to incorporate filmmaking into future research endeavours and I am open to potential collaborations with academics and non-academics interested in applying this approach in innovative ways.
Indicators of esteem
My doctoral research was awarded the 2016 Radcliffe Brown/Sutasoma Award from the Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI). This is ‘a starred award and given to students of exceptional quality in recognition of doctoral research that is of potentially outstanding quality and likely to make an important contribution to social anthropology’.
June 2010: Training and research dissemination workshop for clinical staff at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge.
Oct 2013: Teaching session to Social Pedagogy students, Department of Health and Society, University of Malmö, Sweden.
2015-2016: Teaching assistant for the Chinese stream for the MA in Interpreting and Translating (MAIT) (THPL-AFM31), University of Bath.
Together with Dr Cath Taylor in the School of Health Sciences, University of Surrey I co-supervise an MSc Nursing student on the Dissertation module (NUR112).
I welcome enquires from students seeking supervision in areas including:
- Anthropology of health and social care
- Ethnographic methods
- Ethical and philosophical tensions in the care of people with disabilities.
Banks, C.A. The downside of professional boundaries in learning disability social care support: a case for thinking about emotional connectedness in relations of care (forthcoming 2020 to be submitted to Sociology of Health and Illness).
Banks, C.A. People with learning disabilities who get into trouble: do they understand the consequences of their actions? (forthcoming 2020)
Banks, C.A., D. Wainwright, R. Gooberman-Hill. An ethnography exploring the limits of dedifferentiation in the lives of adults with learning disabilities. Special Issue in Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability (forthcoming September 2020).
Banks, C.A. (2019). Professional distance versus human touch. Community Living. Available at: https://www.cl-initiatives.co.uk/professional-distance-versus-human-touch/
Banks, C.A. (2019). Care in the 21st century: what can mainstream services learn from the Camphill movement? Alliance for Camphill. https://www.allianceforcamphill.com/post/manage-your-blog-from-your-live-site
Banks, C.A. (2019). Analysing Ethnographic Research Methods: The Importance of Retaining Immersion During the Analytic Process Using Research From UK-Based Learning Disability Social Care Settings. SAGE Research Methods datasets. https://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781526495990
Banks, C.A. (2018). Sometimes people with learning disabilities need a hug – but support staff aren’t meant to give them. In: The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/sometimes-people-with-learning-disabilities-need-a-hug-but-support-staff-arent-meant-to-give-them-100709
Banks, C.A. (2018). Working through ethical and emotional concerns and uncertainties in ethnographic research with people with learning disabilities. In Ethnographies and Health: Reflections on Empirical and Methodological Entanglements. E. Garnett, J. Reynolds & S. Milton (eds.). Palgrave macmillan. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-89396-9_2
Banks, C.A. (2015). Lifting the veil on concealed vulnerability: the impact of the ethnographic experience. Medical Anthropology Theory. http://www.medanthrotheory.org/read/5149/lifting-veil
Banks, C. (2013). Social Care Support within UK-Based Supported-Living Homes for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: A Qualitative Interview Study of Support Workers' Accounts of the Nature of Everyday Care and Support. SAGE Research Methods Cases. dx.doi.org/10.4135/978144627305013501439
Redley, M., Banks, C., Foody, K., and Holland, A. (2012). Healthcare for men and women with learning disabilities: understanding inequalities in access. Disability & Society, 27(6), pp. 747–759. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2012.673080
Banks, C. (2012). Interpreting and ‘doing’ empowerment and protection care imperatives in a supported-living environment for intellectually disabled adults: findings from an ethnographic study. Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 37(3), pp.75-88. https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/everyday-ethnography-interpreting-and-doing-empowerment-and-prote
Banks, C. A., K. Foody, M. Redley and A. J. Holland 2010. Report to the Cambridgeshire Learning Disability Partnership Board: Understanding the Access and Provision of Healthcare to Adults with Learning Disabilities in Cambridgeshire. Cambridge: Cambridgeshire County Council.
Banks, C. and Redley, M. (2009). IMCAs in their second year: the experience of key stakeholders. The Second Year of the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service: 2008-2009, London: Department of Health, pp. 44-54.
Methods: A suite of user needs studies was conducted in 4 European countries (Greece, Italy, Slovenia, the UK) prior to the development of PD_Manager, a mHealth-based CDSS designed for Parkinson?s Disease, using wireless technology. Study 1 undertook Hierarchical Task Analysis (HTA) including elicitation of user needs, cognitive demands and perceived risks/benefits (ethical considerations) associated with the proposed CDSS, through structured interviews of prescribing clinicians (N=47). Study 2 carried out computational modelling of prescribing clinicians? (N=12) decision strategies based on social judgment theory. Study 3 was a vignette study of prescribing clinicians? (N=18) willingness to change treatment based on either self-reported symptoms data, devices-generated symptoms data or combinations of both.
Results: Study 1 indicated that system development should move away from the traditional silos of ?motor? and ?non-motor? symptom evaluations and suggest that presenting data on symptoms according to goal-based domains would be the most beneficial approach, the most important being patients? overall Quality of Life (QoL). The computational modelling in Study 2 extrapolated different factor combinations when making judgements about different questions. Study 3 indicated that the clinicians were equally likely to change the care plan based on information about the change in the patient?s condition from the patient?s self-report and the wearable devices.
Conclusions: Based on our approach, we could formulate the following principles of mHealth design: 1) enabling shared decision making between the clinician, patient and the carer; 2) flexibility that accounts for diagnostic and treatment variation among clinicians; 3) monitoring of information integration from multiple sources. Our approach highlighted the central importance of the patient-clinician relationship in clinical decision making and the relevance of theoretical as opposed to algorithm (technology)-based modelling of human judgment.