Professor Mohan J Dutta has received the 2015 International Communication Association (ICA) Applied/Public Policy Research Award. This award honors a scholar or group of researchers who have produced a systematic body of research in communication studying a particular applied or policy problem for the betterment of society. The award is a recognition of Prof. Dutta’s decade-long collaborations with marginalized communities in developing the culture-centered approach as a framework for addressing needs voiced by members of marginalized communities, for developing participatory processes for structural transformation through grassroots-driven advocacy, for fostering communication infrastructures for listening to community voices, and for co-constructing knowledge claims from the global margins. Under the umbrella of the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) that he directs at NUS, Dutta has developed partnerships with communities that work toward addressing locally articulated and contextually constituted solutions such as building cultural resources of health and wellbeing, building healthcare services, building locally-based agricultural systems rooted in indigenous knowledge, developing culturally-centered communication campaigns, and creating policy advocacy tools that center the voices of marginalized community members in policy spaces.
Our director, Prof Mohan Dutta, has written an op-ed piece featured on The Straits Times which talks about what inspired him to attain this spirit of always questioning and going back to the evidence, however incomplete or uncertain. He feels that the language of science is being used to shut out conversations or to push notions of development rather than creating a space to question any assumptions and beliefs on the basis of evidence.
"To question means to hold our existing values and beliefs to scrutiny. The spirit of science is also public, subjecting scientific claims to public deliberation and examination. Thus, transparency and debate are two key elements of the scientific process."Follow the article through this link.
"That food can be so integral to health can be something so simple but easily overlooked." - Prof Mohan Dutta The "Respect Our Food Rights" Campaign Launch was held yesterday at the FASS Faculty Lounge and the campaign has since been featured on our local newspapers. The advocacy for better food access to the migrant construction workers highlights the importance of regulation over the poor nutrition of the workers. This would be an important step towards ensuring food safety and security for them. Follow the news coverage by The Straits Times and TODAY Newspaper below: More than 9 in 10 Bangladeshi foreign workers say they are given unclean and unhygenic food: NUS survey Catered food for workers needs more regulation, urge researchers Follow our Social Media Channels to receive updates on the campaign: Facebook - Migrant Workers Rights SG Twitter - @MWRightsSG Campaign Website - www.migrantworkersrightssg.com
Written By Prof Mohan J. Dutta and Satveer KaurCARE will be launching our first campaign created by foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in Singapore, “Respect Our Rights”, to raise awareness among Singaporeans about the rights of FDWs in Singapore. This campaign is part of a larger effort aimed at curbing human trafficking and addressing specific issues pertaining to the exploitation of FDWs in Singapore. Member of Parliament, Christopher de Souza, has drafted a bill for Parliament this October to tighten human trafficking laws in Singapore. CARE research, driven by the voices of the domestic workers, along with other groups such as the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (HOME), seeks to create a discursive space for the discussion of a victim-centered approach in the execution of this bill, where victims are entitled to receive far more protection than they currently do. Protection includes having access to shelter and food, legal aid, medical aid, and other basic resources in order to alleviate their trafficked conditions. More information on the victim-centered approach to human trafficking can be found at HOME’s website. Our ethnographic research with FDWs in Singapore who have been sheltered at HOME suggests the need for addressing health rights as integral to the lived experiences of FDWs. In our culture-centered project emphasizing listening to the voices of FDWs, we hear voices of FDWs suggesting the importance of having access to fresh food and water every day, seeing a doctor promptly when they are ill, receiving their salary from their employer on time every month, having adequate sleep, not being overworked and abused physically, sexually or verbally as integral to addressing their physical and mental health. These key provisions are stipulated in their employment contract but are frequently flouted by errant employers. [caption id="attachment_2155" align="alignleft" width="500"] FDWs enjoying their entitled day-off at Orchard Road (Images by Julio Etchart)[/caption] The concept of the cultured-centered approach inverts the research process by centering FDWs at the center of decision-making. Our roles as researchers for the FDWs are guided by the problem configurations and solution frameworks developed by the FDWs. As an exemplar of the CCA process, the “Respect our Rights” campaign is aimed at communicating specific messages about respecting the basic rights of FDWs to all employers of FDWs in Singapore. The campaign will be launched in the form of television advertisements on Starhub’s cable platforms, bus stop advertisements, newspaper advertisements on The Straits Times, and online platforms where our documentary film will be aired. All media materials for the campaign were conceptualized and designed collaboratively by the FDWs and CARE, and are aimed at raising awareness on the common issues faced by FDWs. Embedded is a teaser trailer on the upcoming campaign launch on 21 October 2014. Addressing the issue of migrant worker rights is crucial, especially in a burgeoning first-world economy like Singapore where numerous transient workers make up a critical mass of economic support for the country. In just the first quarter of 2014 alone, HOME received 405 distressed calls from domestic workers on a myriad of issues, with 159 of them reporting verbal abuse. [caption id="attachment_2154" align="alignleft" width="500"] Advisory Board and CARE members after a fruitful photovoice session (Images by Julio Etchart)[/caption] CARE has been working closely with HOME on fostering spaces for FDWs to share their stories, and collaborate on problem identification and solution development on the basis of these stories. HOME houses domestic workers that have fled their employer’s place of residence for reasons such as abuse and exploitation. CARE has conducted almost 50 interviews, 3 focus groups and 11 advisory board meetings with FDWs to garner a deeper and meaningful assessment of the structural and agentic constraints they face when engaging in domestic work in Singaporean homes. To gain a greater insight on these issues, visit our campaign website and/or our Facebook page. More updates on our campaign launch coming up soon!
Professor Charles Briggs will be giving a talk on how the media and health institutions have become closely interconnected and thus creating news stories that form our understanding towards health issues. Details as stated below.
CARE Director Professor Mohan J Dutta was recently recognized as a Provost’s Chair Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in recognition of his outstanding and impactful scholarly accomplishments, which are internationally acknowledged. Professor Dutta’s recognition as Provost’s Chair Professor recognizes his recent work with the culture-centered approach and with setting up the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE). In his scholarly work, Professor Dutta has published over 170 articles and book chapters, and seven (7) books. He has won multiple research and teaching awards, including the Lewis Donohew Outstanding Health Communication Scholar Award and the University Faculty Scholar Award from Purdue University.