On 26 March 2020 we held a briefing event for University of Huddersfield staff and students about INIA. It provided them with a snapshot of the project and the key issues that we will be looking at, enabling them to think about ways that intersex issues might be relevant to their studies, teaching, or work. The School of Human and Health Sciences at the University of Huddersfield, which is the institutional base for INIA, is a multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral organisation with divisions that are practice-focused, with the professions of Nursing, Midwifery, and Social Work being prominent. Some colleagues who also have roles in frontline or policy making positions in the National Health Service and elsewhere also work for the University of Huddersfield.
At this briefing event the Associate Dean for Research, Professor Nick Hardiker, discussed the close fit between INIA and our University Research Strategy, which emphasises the importance of socially useful and innovative research carried out together with stakeholders such as NGO representatives and service providers. Prof Hardiker has a background in Nursing. Professor Padam Simkhada, our Associate Dean (International) then discussed INIA very positively in relation to the increasingly global remit that we have at the University of Huddersfield. Prof Simkhada works in the area of Public Health, including that of gender and sexual minorities and marginalised populations. Professor Surya Monro, Coordinator of INIA, then outlined the INIA project. We finished with a Roundtable that included representatives from Nursing (Professor Ann-Louise Caress), Social Work (Professor Brigid Featherstone), Midwifery (Dr Tomasina Stacey), Postgraduate governance (Dr Tray Yeadon Lee, who is also a member of the INIA team), and our Division of Criminology, Politics, and Sociology (Dr Carla Reeves).
There was considerable enthusiasm for the project, with colleagues discussing the importance of the real inclusion of intersex people in the project partnership (rather than tokenistic representation), the need for research to support intersex people’s wellbeing across a range of disciplines and service areas including nursing and midwifery, and the value to our students of having this project at the University of Huddersfield, as many of them are interested in issues of human rights and wellbeing and we can incorporate some aspects of the INIA outputs into our teaching. Colleagues were glad to hear that we will be delivering bigger events together with intersex colleagues later in the project.