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  • Author or Editor: Jude Robinson x
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This article considers the significance of family context for intergenerational drinking practices. Socialisation approaches to drinking behaviours assume that people carry forward actions and ideals that are developed in formative settings during childhood, particularly the family, community or school. In this article, we consider how a more active interpretation of time as a creative force can challenge the deterministic principles of family socialisation. We consider how parents use their own childhood experiences of drinking not necessarily as a blueprint of how they should act towards their own children, but as accounts of how not to act and how they are able to reverse their childhood experiences. Our account of drinking across generations is based on an analysis of 21 biographical interviews with parents of teenage children and considers how their childhood experiences of alcohol and drinking influence their own parental strategies when regulating their children’s exposure to alcohol.

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Policymaking decisions are often uninformed by research and research is rarely influenced by policymakers. To bridge this ‘know-do’ gap, a boundary-spanning knowledge mobilisation (KM) team was created by embedding researchers-in-residence and local policymakers into each other’s organisations. Through increasing the two-way flow of knowledge via social contact, KM team members fostered collaborations and the sharing of ‘mindlines’, aiming to generate more relevant research bids and research-informed decision-making. This paper describes the activities of the KM team, types of knowledge and how that knowledge was exchanged to influence mindlines.


KM team activities were classified into: relational, dissemination, transferable skills, evaluation, research and awareness raising. Knowledge available included: profession-specific (for example, research methods, healthcare landscape), insider (for example, relational, organisation and experiential) and KM theory and practice. KM team members brokered relationships through conversations interweaving different types of knowledge, particularly organisational and relational. Academics were interested in policymakers’ knowledge of healthcare policy and the commissioning landscape. More than research results, policymakers valued researchers’ methodological knowledge. Both groups appreciated each other as ‘critical friends’.


To increase research impact, ‘expertise into practice’ could be leveraged, specifically researchers’ critical thinking and research methodology skills. As policymakers’ expertise into practice also bridges the know-do gap, future impact models could focus less on evidence into practice and more on fostering this mutual flow of expertise. Embedded knowledge brokers from the two communities working in teams can influence the mindlines of both. These ambassadors can create improvements in ‘inter-cultural competence’ to draw academia and policymaking closer.

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The Bristol Knowledge Mobilisation (KM) Team was an unusual collective brokering model, consisting of a multi-professional team of four managers and three academics embedded in both local healthcare policymaking (aka commissioning) and academic primary care.

Aims and objectives:

They aimed to encourage ‘research-informed commissioning’ and ‘commissioning-informed research’. This paper covers context, structure, processes, advantages, challenges and impact.


Data sources from brokers included personal logs, reflective essays, exit interviews and a team workshop. These were analysed inductively using constant comparison. To obtain critical distance, three external evaluations were conducted, using interviews, observations and documentation.


Stable, solvent organisations; senior involvement with good inter-professional relationships; secure funding; and networks of engaged allies in host organisations supported the brokers. Essential elements were two-way embedding, ‘buddying up’, team leadership, brokers’ interpersonal skills, and two-year, part-time contracts. By working collectively, the brokers fostered cross-community interactions and modelled collaborative behaviour, drawing on each other’s ‘insider’ knowledge, networks and experience. Challenges included too many taskmasters, unrealistic expectations and work overload. However, team-brokering provided a safe space to be vulnerable, share learning, and build confidence. As host organisations benefitted most from embedded brokers, both communities noted changes in attitude, knowledge, skills and confidence. The team were more successful in fostering ‘commissioning-informed research’ with co-produced research grants than ‘research-informed commissioning’.

Discussion and conclusions:

Although still difficult, the collective support and comradery of an embedded, two-way, multi-professional team made encouraging interactions, and therefore brokering, easier. A team approach modelled collaborative behaviour and created a critical mass to affect cultural change.

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