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Messy Realities - the Secret Life of Technology

Discussing public engagement in research into assistive living technologies. The podcast series comprises conversations between health services researchers, Museum experts and community members on wide-ranging topics relating to assistive living technologies including living with disability, ageing, conservation and ethics.

Studies in Co-Creating Assisted Living Solutions (SCALS) is a five-year research programme (2015-2020) funded by Wellcome and led by Professor Trisha Greenhalgh of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at Oxford University. SCALS examines technology-driven or supported improvements in different health and social care organisational setting.
Whilst hopes are high that technology can improve health, the reality of technology-in-use is often messy, with unintended consequences. The lives of older people with several medical conditions and social needs are often complex and evolve over time. Technologies designed to help these people often fit awkwardly into their lives, there is often a mismatch between the way people actually use assisted living technologies to help them live at home and their intended use.

The Messy Realities project brought health services researchers, museum facilitators and community partners together at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. Together, they considered the emerging findings from SCALS research alongside the Museum collections, and co-produced a temporary exhibition which provoked debate about the meaning of technology. The public engagement programme offered a novel way of considering the complexity of human and societal connections with technology, and led to new interpretations of the research - contextualising research into assistive living technology as part of wider human endeavours involving technology. A collaboration between the Interdisciplinary Research into Health Sciences Group at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences and the Pitt Rivers Museum funded by the Wellcome Trust.

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Introducing Messy Realities: the Secret Life of Technology Professor Trisha Greenhalgh and colleagues discuss what assistive living technologies are and how they engaged the public in exploring assistive living technologies at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Gemma Hughes, Trisha Greenhalgh, Jozie Kettle, Beth McDougall 12 Nov 2019
2 See-touch-think-wonder Stories, objects and pictures as methods of engagement in research in assistive living technologies. Gemma Hughes, Joe Wherton, Beth McDougall 12 Nov 2019
3 Living objects - ageing bodies Researchers and community members go behind the scenes at the Pitt Rivers Museum to learn more about the care and ethics involved in conservation. Caitlin Pilbeam, Jozie Kettle, Jem Uden, Andrew Hughes 12 Nov 2019
4 Technologies: love or hate them? The context of the Pitt Rivers Museum stimulates discussion about human-technology relations. Gemma Hughes, Joe Wherton, Laura van Broekhoven, Sara Shaw 12 Nov 2019
5 The magic of everyday technologies Exploring how everyday objects support health and wellbeing: medicines containers and mobility aids. Gemma Hughes, Caitlin Pilbeam, Beth McDougall, Jozie Kettle 12 Nov 2019
6 Technology, aging and progression: from amulets to robots Discussions about the protective powers of amulets, alarms and jewellery are interrupted by the arrival of a cuddly robot. Gemma Hughes, Caitlin Pilbeam, Jozie Kettle, George Leeson 12 Nov 2019