This week, I was invited to present to the wider donor experience team at NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) on my research by their Head of Organ Donation Marketing. In the presentation, I shared some of the ideas emerging from Mix & Match, particularly around the interconnection between ethics, emotion and ethnicity in the way racialised communities are approached to become stem cell donors.
Some of the arguments made in the presentation can be read in further detail in the first peer-reviewed article from the project, which is now available online here, and which I intend to turn into an accessible summary form in the next few months.
The presentation also made the point about taking seriously the work and implications of patient appeal work (not just around stem cell, but stories mobilised to encourage blood and organ donation too) – points that I raised in this conference paper at the British Sociological Association’s 2021 annual conference.
Before concluding, I touched on the issue of mixed race identity, and how this is not simply a theoretical challenge for sociologists (what constitutes being ‘mixed’ and what does it say about identity and the concept of ‘race’?) but a methodological challenge for recruiters: where does one go to locate ‘mixed raced communities’, and how does one reach out to this ‘group’, given it comprises an increasing number of highly geographically disparate, socioculturally diverse individuals? Moreover, what does this mean for the future of recruitment work, when practitioners are otherwise increasingly looking to specialise messages for specific racialised communities? I have published elsewhere on this topic, and touch on it in the first paper from the project, but will be developing this point into a paper later in the project.
The discussion afterwards with NHSBT demonstrated that the thoughts from the presentation chimed with their own thinking, particularly as they develop their own community engagement strategies moving forward. It was also great to learn that they’ve not heard from a sociologist on this topic before, and that it presented a very different and refreshing perspective on the issue for them!