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January 23rd, 2014 at 3pm

Special two-part colloquium! Jeremy Burman and Laura Ball

History for/as Knowledge Translation, Parts 1 and 2.

Speaker 1

Jeremy Burman


History for/as Knowledge Translation, Part I.

I am presently the Director of Research at The MEHRIT Centre, a non-profit spin-off of a research institute that had been based at York from 2005-2013. I was also recently named the Norman S. Endler Research Fellow and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Fellow at York University. Normally, though, I would be teaching introductory and advanced developmental psychology. My primary interest, there, is in helping students to help children. And, in this, my goals as a teacher relate to my primary concerns as a writer.

As an historian and theoretician, my contribution to the science of psychology comes by way of clearly explaining ideas that have previously not been well-understood, or which have been dismissed for reasons that no longer make sense. To this end, I have found that there is nothing better to encourage clear thinking than interacting with students in the classroom or with peers at conference talks and colloquia: if they’re bored, or can’t understand, then the writing won’t be effective either. My goal is therefore to entertain and explain, both in class and outside of it; this material is difficult, but it doesn't have to be painful.

My paper for HT-Talks is the first part of a two-part presentation with Laura Ball about “knowledge translation.” I will introduce translation as a problem affecting how psychologists understand the sources of their ideas. This is obvious when the importations are from “foreign” sources, but much more pernicious when they’re from other disciplines. (I talked about this latter problem specifically when I discussed “the misunderstanding of memes” at HT-Talks a few years ago.) I will also present some of the methods that I have been developing in order to demonstrate that this problem is in fact a source of opportunity for historians, some of which are “digital.”

My primary “topic affiliation” is to the history of developmental psychology, with particular emphasis on the last works of Jean Piaget. But I think of my project as epistemological: I am not so much concerned with the “content” of Piaget’s so-called “new theory” as I am with the fact that we call it “new.” (They don’t do that in French.) Indeed, this focus on meaning seems to be the theme underlying most of my work. And it’s the main focus of my dissertation, which I aim to complete in time for the Summer 2014 start times posted for most new faculty hires.

My work is discussed and described at my website:

I would be delighted to discuss any of it with anyone who cares.




Speaker 2

Laura Ball


History for/as Knowledge Translation, Part II.


In part 2 of the series on “translation”, I will be discussing the rapidly expanding field of knowledge translation (KT), where the goal is to minimize the “know-do gap” between research and clinical practice. CIHR has defined KT as “a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system.” For many political, financial and practical reasons, KT is in high demand in the health and mental health care sectors. Yet, despite the wide-spread interest in KT, attempts to minimize the know-do gap have been mixed – at best. In this colloquium talk, I will discuss two ways in which the History and Theory of Psychology can engage with, benefit from, and expand the field of KT, in both academic and applied settings.


Laura C. Ball is the Knowledge Translation and Implementation Coordinator for Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, and is a PhD candidate in Psychology at York University. In her role, she provides information and support relating to best practices implementation for staff, clinical programs, or for corporate initiatives in order to improve the quality of client-centred, evidence-informed care and service delivery at Waypoint.

Laura’s primary research interests include integrated knowledge translation, and how to improve access to and implementation of best practices within a recovery-oriented, culturally competent inter-professional environment. Her other interests include technologies of the self, research methods in psychology, historiography, and deconstructing psychological narratives of exceptionality, gender, sexuality and deviance.

Laura currently serves as the Editor for the History and Philosophy of Psychology Bulletin, and the “Heritage Column” for the Feminist Psychologist newsletter. She is also President of the History and Philosophy of Psychology section of the Canadian Psychological Association.


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