Project Symposium

UPDATE 24/7/19: A short report summarising the event is now available here!

Health Technologies in Practice: Between the home and the clinic

Symposium programme

The programme for the event is still available here


There has been an explosion in markets for digital and wearable technologies such as Fitbit and health apps. At the same time, and to some extent prefiguring this, there has been a growth in consumer markets for what might be thought of as more clinically orientated self-monitoring devices. Products that were seen as the preserve of clinicians, such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose or blood oxygen monitors, are now widely available to buy. It is claimed that self-monitoring could transform healthcare, promoting self-care, improving health and saving costs. The provenance of such claims can be traced through previous innovations such as ehealth, telecare and telehealth. Yet, as with previous innovations, self-monitoring raises important questions about the distribution of responsibilities for health and care, the spaces and relationships involved, the role of health professionals and commercial actors, and the production, distribution and control of knowledge. We might also ask how we come to understand self-monitoring, and the different methods for approaching this from a social science perspective.

The symposium is part of a Leverhulme Trust Funded Research Project on ‘Knowledge, Care and the Practices of Self-Monitoring’. Focusing on health technologies in practice, the project aimed to understand how and why people self-monitor and to consider how this relates to knowledge, expertise and care. Presentations at the symposium will relate to self-monitoring and other everyday health technologies to consider ‘health technologies in practice’ from different perspectives and very different methodologies. The symposium brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers, with interests in STS, medical sociology, anthropology, disability studies, media studies and cultural studies.

Speakers included:

Btihaj Ajana, Kings College London
Sharing and its discontents in the quantified self culture

Dorthe BrogÄrd Kristensen, University of Southern Denmark
Optimization and the imaginary of metrics 

Fiona Stevenson, University College London
Raising, discussing and using the internet in GP consultations

Janice McLaughlin, University of Newcastle 
The home and everyday life as a site of embodied self-monitoring

Minna Ruckenstein, University of Helsinki
Seeking medicinal agencies: antidepressants and life effects       

Kate Weiner, University of Sheffield
Partial data and curation: the everyday data practices of self-monitoring

Catherine Will & Flis Henwood, Universities of Sussex and Brighton
Monitoring with care? Exploring the role of family (and friends) in the practices of self monitoring

Ros Williams & Jacob Andrews, University of Sheffield
After the interview: adventures in methods