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Centre for Diversity Equity and Inclusion Studentships


Centre for Diversity Equity and Inclusion

An Indifference to Difference? Exploring the intersections of disability, ethnicity, and gender within Physical Education (PE)
This PhD provides a unique opportunity for a student committed to exploring issues of inequality and discrimination within Physical Education. It has long been recognised that Physical Education can be an alienating and difficult space for some groups of young people. For example, research repeatedly highlights how young disabled students, students from minority ethnic communities and girls can encounter less than favourable Physical Education experiences. Whilst this research has undoubtedly developed understandings, it remains limited because disability, ethnicity and gender are often researched separately. Young people’s identities are much more complex than this. With this in mind, this PhD will explore how disability, ethnicity, and gender are experienced simultaneously; and how the interplay between these identity markers influences Physical Education experiences.

This study will be situated within school special and mainstream settings. A key feature of this research will be to centralise the views, thoughts and experiences of the young people themselves. As such, the research project lends itself to the use of more contemporary approaches in collecting data with the young people. These approaches will be participatory, creative and innovative and could include photo elicitation, drawings, scrapbooking, media exploration, and working with the young people as co-researchers. In adopting these kinds of participatory approaches, young disabled students from minority ethnic backgrounds will be enabled to authentically engage with the research process, and ensure their voices are captured and heard. If you are passionate about supporting all young people to enjoy and express themselves about Physical Education, this PhD will provide the perfect outlet for your research interests.

Please contact Dr Hayley Fitzgerald for further details
Email: H.Fitzgerald@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)113 8127570
Black Women: Leisure and Sport Identities
Since the 1980s onwards, sociologists have called for research to address and explore the sport and leisure lives of Black women. Yet still, with a few exceptions, there continues to be an absence of research that focuses upon the social, political and economic realities of Black women’s socio-cultural politics and position. 

Meanwhile, Black women’s bodies are subject to public scrutiny in and through the spaces of sport and leisure. For instance, popular discourses position Black female athletes as ‘Amazons’ that are particularly suited to physical sports.  Black women’s bodies are regarded as brutish, muscular and mannish - with the implication that they are sexually undesirable and/or lesbian (Cahn, 1993). Whilst the cultural analysis of black women’s bodies has triggered some insightful debate, the actual voices of black women are absent. Thus we know very little about how black women view their own bodies and how they read and respond to popular narratives about their lives and identities.

The proposed methodology would be qualitative in nature accounting for the multiple and complex identities of Black women. This project may appeal to students with an interest in the politics of race and gender as well as sport, community and leisure policy-makers interested in diversity, equity and inclusive practice.  

Please contact Dr Aarti Ratna for further details
Email: A.Ratna@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)113 8123803
Couples, leisure and the challenges and meanings of ‘mid-life’
Mid-life is a flexible, subjective term which has received relatively recent sociological attention and which most commonly applies to the ages 45 to 64. Traditionally at mid-life people are thought to be subject to what Thompson et al (2002) call the ‘demographic squeeze’ of jobs, mortgages, children, pets and wider family commitments. Hobbies and activities, then, are squeezed out of the picture including leisure activities which were part of established identity work for both partners. Mid-life as a concept is also experienced and enacted differently within different contexts such as ethnicities, cultural background or class. The proposed study will fit into several growing fields of enquiry, primarily leisure studies, with relevance to sociology, and gender and cultural studies.

We are particularly interested in how couples manage their leisure practices as they age and if they extend or curtail any activities; investigating the changes, continuities and challenges. The personal meanings of being ‘middle-aged’, in the context of their leisure practices, and the impact their ageing has on their health and ability to continue their leisure identities will be explored.

Qualitative research methods would be most appropriate for this study. We anticipate that the methodology might include life-history interviews with participants, singly and in couples.

Please contact Dr Samantha Holland for further details
Email: S.Holland@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)113 8123691
Place-based funding: a comparison of policy on increasing participation in disadvantaged communities in art and sport
The research starts with a question about the relationship of investment in local areas and rates of participation, and asks what the implications are of policies for community development funding in both the arts and sport. Facing criticism for prioritising metropolitan art, Arts Council England recently instituted Creative People and Places (CPP) investing  £37 million between 2013-2016 into a select number of local districts, who are defined in the Active People Survey as being within the lowest 20% in the country in terms of  levels of arts participation (Sport England, n.d.). The programme aims to “encourage long term collaborations between local communities and arts organisations” (Arts Council England, 2012) by exploring local cultural definitions rather than those prescribed by national arts organisations.

While many of the stated aims of diversity, equity and inclusion are consistent between both Sport England and the Arts Council there is limited research comparing the approaches of the two. This research may seek to fill this gap by assessing initiatives in both sport and the arts that have been taken with a view to addressing low rates of participation. Alternatively the candidate may choose to focus entirely on either the arts or sport.  In either case the research will be conducted in some of the areas defined as low in participation and/or high in deprivation, to examine the value of place-based funding. The intention is to examine not just the outcomes of arts policies and sport policies in such circumstances, but also to examine the underlying rationales for intervention.

The study might use either quantitative or qualitative methods or a mix depending upon the expertise of the applicant.  However, it seems likely it would need at least a qualitative dimension to it. Quantitative research could be used to analyse existing data sets on rates of participation in art and sport (e.g. Active People and Taking Part) and develop mapping tools to compare investment, deprivation and rates of participation nationally. The qualitative dimension would involve interviews with policy makers and deliverers to examine a number of case studies of practice. These might include comparative case studies of areas of Yorkshire eligible / not eligible for funding and successful / unsuccessful applicants to examine how investment and delivery do or do not address the aims set by policy makers.  

Alternative theories of power and decision-making provide a framework for the research and offer scope to make an original contribution to the policy literature.  

Please contact Professor Jonathan Long for further details
Email: J.A.Long@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)113 8127565

OR

Dr Leila Jancovich 
Email: L.Jancovich@leedsbeckett.ac.uk 
Tel: +44(0)113 81 23480
Religion, women and sport
The relationship between sport and religion is multifaceted and can be traced back over 100 years. Both institutions share similar structures: they are based on ritualistic tradition, require dedicated time and space for worship, and have a multitude of deities. Characterised by deeply-held convictions and ideologies, both sport and religion inspire passion, dedication and, frequently, conflict. Sport is also a contested terrain for women.

Despite increases in female participation, high profile female athletes and public policy initiatives to celebrate female athleticism, female sport remains peripheral in relation to male sport and female athletes continue to suffer social and economic sanction as a result of their sporting activities. Women from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds experience access to and involvement in sport differently. This PhD provides applicants with the opportunity to consider how religion and sport intersect in the everyday lives of women living in an increasingly secular society (UK). Applicants may choose to concentrate on one religion specifically, or on ‘religion’ more broadly, but are encouraged to consider the multiplicity and complexity of women’s sporting experiences.

Please contact Dr Kate Dashper for further details
Email: K.Dashper@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)113 8123460
Sport, leisure and migrant families
Ever since different migrant communities began processes of global migration, sport and leisure have been an integral feature in how we conceptualise and experience the notion of being part of a diaspora (Burdsey et al. 2013). Over time, migrant communities have established numerous ways of maintaining links with ‘home’ even as they put down new roots. For many migrants, sport and leisure feature prominently in how they imagine their new ‘homes’ to be (Fletcher and Spracklen, 2013).

Sport and leisure provide migrant communities with a powerful means for creating transnational ties, but also shape ideas of their ethnic and racial identities in the diaspora. Sport and leisure can provide important coping mechanisms from the experience of being dislocated, but they can also afford opportunities for political mobilisation/resistance and strategies of adaptation to an unknown (and often, hostile) social environment (Werbner, 2002). Experiences of belonging to a diaspora can vary greatly. Indeed, the experience of diaspora is now inter-generational.

How these generations interact with and through sport and leisure will also vary; especially as everyday activities (including sport and leisure) related to their ‘homeland’ are negotiated – i.e. whether they are retained, rejected or rediscovered. The lives of migrants then are grounded through a combination of the cultures and traditions of their parents and their place of origin, and in the culture and social practices of their ‘new’ home.

This PhD opportunity would enable an interested student to explore the role and significance of sport and leisure, and diasporic belonging through the generations, in specific families. Studies of particular interest would compare how different generations of migrants utilise the aesthetics of a sport and leisure in their everyday routines and expressions of ethnic and racial identities.

Applicants may wish to add a comparative element (different migrant groups and/or geography) to their proposal in order to add to the originality of the work, but this is not essential. The particular ethnic group(s) involved, and their location, may be determined by the student’s own cultural history.

Please contact Dr Tom Fletcher for further details
Email: T.E.Fletcher@leedsbeckett.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)113 8123515