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Personal profile

Research interests

Professor Flis Henwood is a social scientist with a background in science and technology studies and medical sociology.

Her research focuses on understanding the design, development and use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in everyday work and life settings, with particular emphasis on how such technologies mediate and shape health and social care practices. Examples of past projects include: the development and use of electronic patient records (EPR) in the maternity services; the use of the internet by lay people seeking information about health risks; the use of ICTs to support self-care in the context of 'obesity'; mid-life and older adults' engagements with the discourses of self-care, personal responsibility and choice in the context of the new 'healthy living' imperative; the creation of electronic patient records in primary care and renal care; the information and support needs of people with dementia and their carers; and a longitudinal evaluation of the Alzheimer’s Society’s ‘self-management’ programme for people with early stage dementia (2014-2017).

Flis's current and recent projects include a 5-year EU-funded EmERGE project on the development and evaluation of a mobile 'phone app for stable HIV patients (2015-2020) and a 3-year Leverhulme-funded project exploring the everyday practices of self-monitoring (2016-2019)

Scholarly biography

Professor Flis Henwood studied applied social sciences at Bristol Polytechnic, before going on to study for a Masters in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Sussex. 

In the early part of her career, her PhD and immediate post-doctoral research and teaching were concerned with exploring the gender-technology relationship, particularly in educational and work contexts. She led the innovative ‘women and technology’ programme at the University of East London (formerly the Polytechnic of East London and North East London Poly) between 1988 and 2001. 

Since 2001, and her move to the University of Brighton, the focus of her work has been the development of critical social science perspectives on information and ‘new’ technologies with respect to digital health developments. She is particularly interested in the relationship between information, technology and care and in developing an understanding of these relationships both in, and between, the contexts of policy, practice and the 'lived experience'.

"I completed my BA (Hons) Social Sciences degree (2:1) at Bristol Polytechnic in 1978. I went on to study for my Masters in Science, Technology and Industrialisation at the University of Sussex (1983), gaining a distinction, before completing by DPhil in 1992, entitled Gender and Occupation: Discourses on Gender, Work and Equal Opportunities in a College of Technology, also at Sussex. I worked as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Innovation Studies at the University of East London (formerly Polytechnic of East London and North East London Polytechnic) where I led an innovative ‘Women and Technology’ programme on an interdisciplinary IT degree between 1988 and 2001. During this time, I published widely on gender and technology issues.

"In 2001, I moved to the University of Brighton’s School of Computing, Maths and Information Sciences- first as a Senior Research Fellow, then Senior Lecturer and then Reader (2003). In 2006, I was made Professor of Social Informatics and led a successful programme of research concerned with the social implications of new digital health developments (e-health). During this period, I held several senior leadership roles in the School, including a short period as Acting Head of School (2007-8). In 2009, I moved to the School of Applied Social Science at Brighton and continued to work on e-health/digital health, as well as taking on the role of Head of Research for the school in 2010. From September 2016 to July 2018, I was Deputy Head of School (Research) where I continued to lead the school on research strategy implementation. From August 2018, I took on the role of Chair of the University's Concordat Implmentation Steering Group and continued in my role as a member of the Research Mentoring steering group".

"My many research projects have been funded by the Department of Health, ESRC and Medical Research Council (joint programme), the Social Care Institute of Excellence,  the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Leverhulme Trust, the Wellcome Trust, the Alzheimer’s Society and the EU (H2020 programme)"

"During my career, I have undertaken many external roles, examining many PhDs (including York, Imperial College, Cambridge, Newcastle, Keele, Edinburgh, East Anglia, Liverpool, Memorial University, Canada, University of Western Ontario, Canada); acting as invited expert for a range of Research Council funding programmes in the e-health area, both in the UK and in Norway (EPSRC, ESRC, Technology Strategy Board, Norwegian Research Council) and was invited external evaluator the ESRC’s ‘E-society’ programme of research that ran from 2003-2007.

"I am Joint Chief Editor for Sociology of Health and Illness (from October 2018) and continue as a  member of the editorial board for Digital Health. I was on the editorial board for Information, Communication and Society from 2008-2018. I referee regularly for another 5-6 journals and for research councils and other funding bodies (including ESRC, Department of Health, Social Science and Humanties Research Council of Canada and the Dutch Royal Academy of Sciences)"

"I am an active member of the British Sociological Association (and currently Co-convenor of the  Medical Sociology Study Group which organises an annual conference) and the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)."

External positions

Joint Chief Editor, Sociology of Health and Illness

1 Oct 201830 Sep 2021

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Projects 2016 2019

Research Output 2001 2018

Ambivalence in digital health: Co-designing an mHealth platform for HIV care

Marent, B., Henwood, F. & Darking, M., 6 Sep 2018, In : Social Science & Medicine. 215, p. 133-141 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
social scientist

Constituting practices, shaping markets: Remaking healthy living through commercial promotion of blood pressure monitors and scales

Williams, R., Weiner, K., Henwood, F. & Will, C., 17 Jul 2018, In : Critical Public Health.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
public health

Development of an mHealth platform for HIV care: Gathering user perspectives through co-Design workshops and interviews

Marent, B., Henwood, F. & Darking, M., 15 Sep 2018, In : JMIR MHealth and UHealth. 6, 10, 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
grounded theory

Inform with care: ethics and information in care for people with dementia

Barnes, M. & Henwood, F., 1 Jan 2015, In : Ethics and Social Welfare. 9, 2, p. 147-163 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
moral philosophy

Information and care: a relational approach

Barnes, M., Henwood, F. & Smith, N., 1 Jan 2014, In : Dementia. p. 1-16 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

sense of security
narrative interview