Associate Professor Steve Bell

Principal Research Fellow

UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences

Affiliate Principal Research Fellow

School of Public Health
Faculty of Medicine

Overview

Steve Bell is a Principal Research Fellow in the UQ Poche Centre for Indigenous Health. With interdisciplinary training in human geography, anthropology, development studies and public health, he has over 20 years’ experience of community-based qualitative, participatory and ethnographic research, with a focus on the health and wellbeing of marginalised peoples, health inequity and injustice, and the socio-structural determinants of health.

He is currently working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in urban, regional and remote settings across Australia, and excluded communities in Asia and the Pacific (Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). Based in academic, research consultancy and non-governmental organisations, he has undertaken previous research and evaluation work in countries in Africa (Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Asia (India and Nepal).

Steve works in partnership with communities, community organisations and government institutions to build understandings of people’s everyday experiences of health and wellbeing, societal structures that produce health inequalities, and community action that effects change. He specialises in the use of community-based methods and interpretive approaches to access and amplify excluded voices, knowledges and experiences, and is committed to prioritising community expertise and leadership to strengthen health programs, services, polices and outcomes. He has published two edited collections in these areas: ‘Peer research in health and social development: international perspectives on participatory research’ (2021), and ‘Monitoring and evaluation in health and social development: interpretive and ethnographic perspectives’ (2016). He is Joint Editor, Sexual Health journal and Member of the International Editorial Advisory Board for Culture, Health & Sexuality.

Current research

Current research projects include a focus on:

  • Aboriginal men’s perspectives on health in South East Queensland
  • Transforming access, relational care, and primary health care in an urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population through patient-centred medical homes
  • Using peer research approaches to understand Aboriginal young people’s sexual well-being
  • Aboriginal youth-led rapid qualitative assessments of COVID-19 needs and experiences
  • Young women's and men's experiences of pregnancy in Papua New Guinea
  • Socio-cultural dimensions of tuberculosis, diagnosis, prevention and care in Papua New Guinea
  • Socialising biomedical approaches to HIV testing, treatment and care among key populations in PNG, Indonesia and Uganda
  • Indigenous-led birthing on Country programs

PhD supervision

Steve has a keen interest in mentoring and training community, doctoral and early career researchers in rigorous qualitative health and social research. Please do reach out for a chat if you’re interested in undertaking qualitative PhD research on any of the research interests listed below!

Recent PhD supervision experience includes:

  • ‘HIV prevention among men who have sex with men and female sex workers in Uganda’, by Lydia Nakiganda, due to submit in 2023 (In progress; Associate Advisor).
  • 'Drug use practices and changing HIV risk environments: the lived experiences of people who use drugs in Jakarta, Indonesia' by Dr Anindita Sudewo (successfully completed, 2022; Principal Advisor)
  • 'Navigating the social dynamics of HIV care: A qualitative study in urban Indonesia in the era of scaled-up testing and treatment', by Dr Elan Lazuardi, now a Lecturer in Anthropology at Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (Successfully completed, 2020; Principal Advisor)
  • 'Socio-ecological factors influencing access to and use of HIV testing, treatment and care services in fishing communities around Lake Victoria in Uganda', by Dr Christopher Tumwine, now a Lecturer in Medical Sociology at Kabale University in Kabale, Uganda (Successfully completed, 2019; Principal Advisor)

Research Interests

  • Socio-structural determinants of health and wellbeing
    Critical qualitative enquiry; lived experiences research; operation of determinants of health; production of health inequities
  • Community action, activism and resistance for social justice and health equity
    Community-based participatory research; working with community researchers; understanding operations of power; social change; role of community organisations and collectives; theorising agency
  • Urban Indigenous health
    Place-based and transdisciplinary approaches; client-centred health services research; innovation in community-controlled health service delivery
  • Sexual, reproductive and maternal health of young people
    Youth-led co-design of services, programs and policies; qualitative research design; health and social risks; agency and action; sex-positive and rights-based approaches
  • Community-based HIV research with key populations
    Individual and collective agency; forms of solidarity and action; concepts of agency, vulnerability and social practice; community-led innovation in HIV testing, treatment and care
  • Innovation in qualitative, participatory and ethnographic research
    Community-led research; working with community researchers; longitudinal research design; photovoice; peer research; participatory video

Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of London
  • Master of Arts, University of London
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of London

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Steve has a keen interest in mentoring and training community, doctoral and early career researchers in rigorous qualitative health research. Please do reach out for a chat if you’re interested in undertaking qualitative PhD research on any of the following areas:

    • Urban Indigenous health
    • Community action, activism and resistance for social justice and health equity
    • The transformative role of community-controlled approaches to health service provision in tackling health inequities
    • Sexual, reproductive and maternal health studies that centre the agency of Indigenous peoples in Australia and other international settings
    • Critical approaches to community-led health promotion and health service delivery
    • Community-based HIV research with key populations that centres community-led innovation in HIV testing, treatment and care

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Bell, Stephen, Aggleton, Peter and Gibson, Ally (2021). Peer research in health and social development: Understandings, strengths and limitations. Peer research in health and social development: international perspectives on participatory research. (pp. 3-19) edited by Stephen Bell, Peter Aggleton and Ally Gibson. Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780429316920-2

  • Bell, Stephen and Aggleton, Peter (2016). Interpretive and ethnographic perspectives: Alternative approaches to monitoring and evaluation practice. Monitoring and evaluation in health and social development: interpretive and ethnographic perspectives. (pp. 1-14) edited by Stephen Bell and Peter Aggleton. Abingdon, Oxon United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315730592-1

  • Robson, Elsbeth, Bell, Stephen and Klocker, Natascha (2007). Conceptualizing agency in the lives and actions of rural young people. Global Perspectives on Rural Childhood and Youth. (pp. 135-148) edited by Ruth Panelli, Samantha Punch and Elsbeth Robson. New York, United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203942222-20

  • Bell, Stephen (2007). 'The child drums and the elder dances'?: Girlfriends and boyfriends negotiating power relations in rural Uganda. Global Perspectives on Rural Childhood and Youth: Young Rural Lives. (pp. 179-192) New York, United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203942222

  • Punch, Samantha, Bell, Stephen, Costello, Lauren and Panelli, Ruth (2007). Power and place for rural young people. Global Perspectives on Rural Childhood and Youth: Young Rural Lives. (pp. 205-218) edited by Ruth Panelli, Samantha Punch and Elsbeth Robson. New York, United States: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203942222-26

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Steve has a keen interest in mentoring and training community, doctoral and early career researchers in rigorous qualitative health research. Please do reach out for a chat if you’re interested in undertaking qualitative PhD research on any of the following areas:

    • Urban Indigenous health
    • Community action, activism and resistance for social justice and health equity
    • The transformative role of community-controlled approaches to health service provision in tackling health inequities
    • Sexual, reproductive and maternal health studies that centre the agency of Indigenous peoples in Australia and other international settings
    • Critical approaches to community-led health promotion and health service delivery
    • Community-based HIV research with key populations that centres community-led innovation in HIV testing, treatment and care