i4C-3 Summitry

There has been little research on how to advocate for more rigorous use of evidence in global decision-making processes, which are characterized by diplomatic formality, cross-cultural clashes and inequalities of influence among states. This is important because decisions that are informed by the best available evidence are more likely to achieve better outcomes for money spent. Yet our own research has shown that decisions by at least two international institutions – WHO and the World Bank – do not always align with evidence of effects from systematic reviews of the research literature. The overall goal of this project is to explore opportunities for uniting evidence, art and advocacy as a strategy for improving global health decision-making. We will do this by undertaking a number of diverse and high-profile activities that draw upon the best-available evidence, creative insights and critical perspectives related to one pressing challenge: vaccines.

Map illustrates political, cultural, and economic barriers for vaccine accessibility and administration to children in low and middle income countries. Image was posted on Twitter by Seth Berkley, Gavi CEO, in preperation for World Immunization Week 2015

This project will proceed in three streams:

Stream 1 (Evidence) involves a research plan producing: 1) background papers; 2) evidence summaries; 3) news columns; and 4) journal series.  The background papers will study the intersection between art and agenda setting, political prioritization and decision making, and will be used to inform an initial development workshop.

Stream 2 (Art) will begin with an initial development workshop to be hosted in the Fall of 2015 in Canada, which will establish the foundations for at least one high-profile, evidence-based arts exhibition to be hosted at a major international summit (see stream 3, below).  Specifically, it will serve as a starting point to support artistic works development over a one-year period, which will include a variety of two-dimensional visual art media such as drawing, etching, painting, photography and printmaking.

Stream 3 (Advocacy) will draw on all other efforts to cumulate in at least one high-profile exhibition to be hosted at a major international summit (e.g., UN headquarters in NYC, WHO headquarters in Geneva, African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville). These exhibitions will be the cornerstone for additional activities such as presentations/public talks by participants and project leaders.

Artwork by i4C Researchers Natalie S. Loveless (left) and Sean Caulfield (right)

This inquiry will provide evidence about a new class of communication and advocacy tools that can be potentially powerful in engaging policymakers and fostering evidence-informed decisions.