Dr Julie Spray is an interdisciplinary medical anthropologist, child health researcher, and ethnographic illustrator. She brings cultural, structural, and biosocial perspectives to her research on child wellbeing, health policy, and global health inequities.
I am Pākehā, born in Tamaki-Makaurau (Auckland). I hold a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Auckland. I am based in Galway, Ireland.
Drawing from ethnographic, visual, and other qualitative methods, my work advocates for greater inclusion in health policy of those marginalised by dominant social structures and values, particularly children and racially or economically disadvantaged communities.
I have an academic and professional history of working flexibly across disciplinary boundaries, which allows me the capacity to adapt to new approaches and the ability to generate new approaches and insights through combining diverse disciplinary areas. My research sits across social, medical, and biological subfields of anthropology as well as drawing theory and evidence from psychology, public health, public policy, and childhood studies. My methodological focus has been on developing innovative ways for examining issues related to child health and wellbeing, including through collaborative drawing and other visual and co-constructed approaches. I bring a wide skill set in social sciences data collection, management, analysis, and presentation, along with the ability to tailor these approaches to different fields and projects.
I am author of the recent ethnographic publication The Children in Child Health: Negotiating Young Lives and Health in New Zealand (Rutgers, 2020). My research has won multiple awards, including the Society for Medical Anthropology Doctoral Dissertation Award, and the University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Best Thesis.
I am currently a Lecturer in Children’s Studies at the University of Galway. I hold an honorary research fellow position in Social and Community Health at the University of Auckland.