About us

INNOVATE is a multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary consortium uniquely positioned to deliver an ambitious program of work. It brings together a diverse range of subject experts and stakeholders, including NHS, local authorities, community organizations, academic and community researchers, service providers, and people experiencing multiple disadvantages from Essex.

The consortium comprises of a strong interdisciplinary team of Lead academics across the fields of Health and Social Care, Organisation Studies and Management, Arts, Theatre and Performance Studies.

Our collective knowledge spans across art-based methodologies, health system change, intersectionality, tackling inequalities, community engagement, social determinants of health, statistical analysis and integration of technology for promoting community resilience and well-being.

Prof. Anuj Kapilashrami (Principal Investigator)

Anuj Kapilashrami is an Interdisciplinary social scientist trained in Public Health and Sociology and Professor in Global Health Policy and Equity in the School of Health & Social Care. She is Director of the Centre for Global Health & Health Equity Research at the University of Essex.

Kapilashrami has longstanding research experience in health policy and systems research, with particular interest in advancing intersectionality approach to examine health inequalities and social determination of health and well-being, especially among multiply disadvantaged populations, and the mechanisms for meaningful engagement in policy processes. To this end, she developed technical guidance for community participation in health service design/priority setting.

Kapilashrami leads INNOVATE, a UK-based intersectionality-focused multi-stakeholder consortium tackling inequalities in mental health in Essex, and the NIHR Global Health Research group on Gender, Violence and Mental health among Migrants in precarious Situations (GEMMS) in Southern Asia & Southern Africa, and.  She is Chair of Medact, a UK based health charity of health workers for health justice and peace, former convenor of People’s Health Movement, Scotland and expert advisor on the Gender Equity and Rights Panel for WHO’s Sexual Reproductive Health Programme.

X: @AKapilashrami

ORCID: 0000-0002-6719-9216

Dr George Kokkinidis (Co-Investigator)

Dr George Kokkinidis is a senior lecturer in Management at Essex Business School and a member of the COVER research centre, specialising in alternative forms of organising. His research draws from sociology, philosophy, political theory, urban studies and human geography. His current research projects turn around social economy education and grassroot community health care initiatives, working closely with cooperatives, social clinics and community organisations.

Prof. Peter Bloom (Co-Investigator)

Prof. Peter Bloom is Professor Management at the University of Essex and Head of its Management and Marketing Group. He is a world leading researcher, award winning educator, and internationally recognized public expert on the future of Economy, Society and Politics who leads innovative high profile projects for creating socially impactful technological change. He has written numerous academic books and articles, conceived and led on the creation of the VR App “Virtual Inclusion” and AR Community Toolkit “Shared Futures, submitted testimony to the House of Lords Select Committee on “Artificial Intelligence”, and was the Lead Expert on the BBC 2 Documentary “The Secrets of Silicon Valley”. He is also the co-founder the Research Centre for “Commons Organising, Values, Equalities, and Resilience”.

Dr Martin Harris (Co-Investigator)

Dr Martin Harris is a senior lecturer at Essex University Business School. Martin’s current research within the INNOVATE project is focused on organizational learning within health and social care partnerships and on facilitating knowledge exchange between statutory and non-statutory care providers.

  • BA Hons (Camb.)

  • MSc, LSE (London)

  • PhD (London)

Dr Annecy Lax (Co-Investigator)

Annecy Lax is a researcher and academic in Theatre Studies at the University of Essex. Her research interests are in applied theatre, performing testimony, trauma in performance, the body performing protest and representations of ethics. Annecy’s research investigates a series of inter-linked areas: the role and effectiveness of theatre-making as means and process of social change, applied theatre and live arts performance as manifestation of public protest and resistance in times of conflict, and the ethics of verbatim and testimony theatre, within an international and comparative context. She is also working on drawing together philosophical, cultural and socio-legal definitions of dignity in dialogue with performance work around displacement, diaspora and disfigurement, particularly in relation to performance art, live art and other non-drama based performance actions. Following on from an AHRC GCRF funded residency, Annecy is currently working on a book publication on women theatre makers who use theatre for social justice dialogues in conflict and post-conflict zones.

Dr. Reza Majdzadeh (Co-Investigator)

Reza Majdzadeh is a professor of Global Public Health at the School of Health and Social Care within the University of Essex. He boasts an impressive research portfolio of almost 350 peer-reviewed papers, some of which have been published in prestigious journals. With over two decades of professional experience, he has worked in diverse settings, spanning conflict-affected regions, resource-limited countries, and underserved areas in high-income nations. His primary focus centres on evidence-informed policymaking, with a specific emphasis on reducing health inequalities and promoting community engagement.

Dr. Mary Mazzilli (Co-Investigator)

Mary Mazzilli is a Senior Lecturer in Drama and Literature at University of Essex. She has an expertise in both Chinese and British drama and theatre. She is also a playwright and her plays have been staged in UK and China.

Dr Steven Haworth (Research Assistant)

Steven Haworth is a post-doctoral researcher who has collaborated with national health agencies and governmental departments on several public health projects, including protecting rough sleepers against COVID-19 and modifying social prescribing processes for migrants. Steven is experienced in analysing big data and is interested in the social determinants of health, inclusion health, and health inequalities.

Dr Elizabeth Bennett (Research Assistant)