Hogeschool van Amsterdam

Urban Vitality

Keynote 3: Margarita Mondaca Arriagada

Towards a Responsive Occupational Science in Europe

Europe is facing many major and rapid changes. These changes have direct consequences shaping everyday lives of people experiencing diverse situations of vulnerability. Changes in health care systems, migration and a growing population of elderly are just a few examples of these changes in Europe. New ways of living and the struggles associated with them, urge our community to seek for sustainable ways towards social justice.

I choose to speak from my position as a hybrid scholar, formed and trained within diverse epistemologies to reflect on these issues. I aim to open a dialogue about the possibilities and responsibilities that we have as occupational therapists working in science to become responsive to persons and groups where failing infrastructures in our communities expose forms of vulnerability.

What can occupational science do regarding populations whose vulnerabilities are exposed? What kind of science is needed to meet these challenges? To reflect on this, I will draw on my research experiences of engaging in community building and my teaching experiences preparing future occupational therapists to face these emerging topics.

I will introduce the concept of “third space” as a possible way for knowledge creation embracing democratic collaboration, negotiation and contestation in research and learning contexts. I will conclude by engaging in a critical reflection about the epistemic privilege where occupational science is founded, and the urgency to explore and create other frames of collaboration and dialogues that allow us to construct together a more just world.

Since 2010 I have been working as lecturer and researcher at the Division of Occupational Therapy at Karolinska Institutet.

I am an occupational therapist specialised in Mental Health and Human rights with 15 years of clinical and educational experience in Latin-America, Sweden and other international settings. A common thread during my clinical, educational and research experience has been my interest in vulnerable populations experiencing marginality, human rights violations and attention towards the ethical demands these populations present.

My current area of research is about everyday life and vulnerability, particularly in care health services for older adults, both living in nursing homes and at home. My particular focus is on everyday life and the opportunities that older adults might have to influence everyday activities on a daily basis. I draw on critical and interpretative theoretical perspectives to problematize everyday life and what is often taken-for-granted in order to generate reflection forums about transformative practices within health care services.

Methodologically my interest is in qualitative methods and in particular in building collaborative practices between research, educational settings and stakeholders. I draw on various methods including narrative, ethnography, dialogical inquiry, critical discourse and photovoice.

The principle focus of my research is to:
(1) identify relevant hinders for inclusion in society and healthcare arenas, and (2) to contribute both theoretically, practically and methodology to a body of knowledge concerned with a humanistic healthcare and (3) engage in community building.

I am currently involved in two projects “A nursing home to long for” where the focus is on building collaborative practices, with nursing home residents, nursing home staff and with staff providing home services for older adults living at home.

Internationally I am part of an EU founded project Erasmus+ (2018-2020) called InterAct, Interdisciplinary Cooperation in Psychosocial Interventions as Swedish partner and in collaboration with university health programs in Germany, Greece, Spain and Finland. This initiative focus on the creation of European networks of best psychosocial practices for refugees.

Published by  Faculty of Health 20 June 2019