Mix and match: constituting racialised communities in UK stem cell donation


  • Dr Ros Williams

    University of Sheffield

Project summary

Stem cell transplants are an increasingly common option for cancer treatment, but Black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) and mixed-heritage people in the UK are far less likely to find matching stem cell donors than their white counterparts. 

Charities and campaigners are seeking to address this inequality by organising donor drives and using social media to encourage BAME and mixed-heritage people to register as stem cell donors. I will investigate the ways in which they do this, focusing on how racial difference is understood and used to engage communities in acts of donation. I will use ethnographic observation, interviews and digital methods to explore this offline and online activity. I aim to explore how categories of difference are being used, and what the social and ethical implications of this may be. 

My findings will be used to develop co-produced guidelines for charities and institutions interested in engaging BAME communities in health inequalities.