Title: Managing Director
Hometown: Edinburgh, Scotland
Qualification: PhD (CANTAB); B.SC (Hons – GU)
Email address: gill.black@livelihoods.org.za

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5081-274X


Gill began her career as a health scientist in 1993. Her experience as an infectious diseases immunologist in Kenya, Brazil, Malawi and South Africa, and regular interactions with research participants in these diverse contexts, catalysed Gill’s transition to the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) in 2010. In her capacity as co-director at SLF, Gill now works to engage with people living in townships and informal settings about the public health concerns and health-related research activities that most affect their lives. Gill has developed a core interest in the use of participatory visual methods (PVM) as platforms for action research to foster community mobilization and transform local health practice. Over the past 9 years, Dr. Black has gained extensive experience in a wide range of PVM including digital storytelling, applied theatre, participatory photography and collaborative film-making. She has also developed innovative approaches to working with body mapping and hand mapping as grounded platforms for knowledge exchange and co-learning.

Gill is the lead editor for a collection of articles that will feature in the journal Frontiers in Public Health (FPH) at the end of 2021. The collection will focus on the research topic ‘Public and Community Engagement in Health Science Research: Openings and Obstacles for Listening and Responding in the Majority World’. The topic will tackle the following questions: what are the aims of listening when we facilitate research engagement initiatives; what challenges or risks are introduced when we listen and acknowledge but don’t respond, and what are the outcomes and impacts when we do? The collection aims to address questions such as these by assembling the experiences of multiple engagement practitioners and scientists working to integrate engagement into clinical and biomedical research in the majority world. Perspectives will be drawn from clinical trials to small research studies. Gill is delighted to be co-editing this exciting anthology of papers with colleagues Dr. Deborah Nyirenda (Malawi-Liverpool-Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme), Dr. Mary Chambers (Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Vietnam) and Professor Phaik Yeong Cheah (Mahidol Oxford Research Unit, Thailand). Find out more at Public and Community Engagement in Health Science Research: Openings and Obstacles for Listening and Responding in the Majority World | Frontiers Research Topic (frontiersin.org)

Gill received her qualifications and biomedical training at the Universities of Glasgow, Oxford, Cambridge, London and Stellenbosch. She is an associate researcher at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford (https://www.ethox.ox.ac.uk/about/overview/research-associates). Gill has lived and worked in Cape Town since 2002.

For a more in-depth and comprehensive view of Gill’s publication history, please visit her Research Gate profile.

Grants Awarded

2020: Co-Investigator; Western Cape Government, Department of the Premiere (R500 000) Title: Needs Assessment of School-Based Learner-on-Learner Violence in the Cape Town Metropolitan Area; Duration: 6 months

2019: Co-Investigator; UK Research Innovation Global Challenges Research Fund (£992 388) Title: Water and Fire: Enhancing capacity and reducing risk through 15 ‘Best Bets’ for transformative adaptation with vulnerable residents on the Cape Flats; Duration: 3 years.

2018: Principal Investigator, Wellcome Trust Public Engagement grant (£93 000). Title : Bucket Loads of Health; Duration:12 months.

2016: Principal Investigator, Wellcome Trust International Engagement Award (£33 000). Title: The Heart of the Matter; Duration: 9 months.

2015: Co-Investigator; Making All Voices Count (£75 000) Title: Translating Complex Realities Through Technology: Lessons about government responsiveness in South Africa; Duration: 18 months.

2015: Co-Investigator; Institute of Development Studies Participate Initiative (£30 000) Title: Citizen-led policies for safer and inclusive cities: shifting accountabilities in Cape Town, South Africa; Duration: 12 months.

2015: Principal Investigator, USAID TB Care II (R750 000). Title: Participation in action for the prevention of tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa; Duration: 6 months.

2014: Co-Investigator; Institute of Development Studies Accountable Grant Partnership with the UK Department for International Development (£10 000) Title: Researching collective action with men and boys against gender-based violence; Duration:12 months.

2013: Principal Investigator; Institute of Development Studies Participate Initiative (£10 000) Title: Engaging South African youth in the digital storytelling process on the theme of tuberculosis and HIV; Duration: 6 months.

2013: Principal Investigator; USAID TB Program South Africa (R500 000). Title: Engaging a vulnerable South African community in tuberculosis and HIV prevention using a participatory approach; Duration: 12 months.