Profile: Sara MacKian

Dr. Sara MacKian, Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care at The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK. Sara’s research contributes towards a much needed visual representation of the spaces of reflexive modernisation — using health and well-being as key tools.

Born in England, but following an early move to Sweden and subsequently Wales, it was inevitable Sara MacKian would develop an interest in geographical difference. After suffering from myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) as an undergraduate, and inspired by medical geography lectures with Tony Gatrell at Lancaster University, Sara completed a dissertation exploring situated experiences of longterm illness. She carried this forward to her PhD, supervised by Bill Edwards at Aberystwyth University, developing a particular interest in models of citizenship and participation.

Through this research Sara developed an interpretive method for ‘mapping’ qualitative data and she has continued to build work around this theme in a variety of policy and applied contexts. Recent projects include: exploring cultures of participation in Uganda and South Africa, supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship; the development of rights based approaches to patient participation; and, with colleagues at Salford University, an ESRC funded exploration of the power of health literacy as a concept for developing targeted health promotion amongst gay men.

Sara’s work has been published in a number of geography and health-related journals, including Health and Place, Social Cultural Geography, Critical Social Policy and Health Policy Planning. She is currently working on the production of a book exploring contemporary alternative spiritualities in relation to health and wellbeing.

Sara may be contacted at See also — See also her research blog:

Updated: February 2008