Leeds School of Social Sciences

Social class, belonging and imagining new futures in UK HE

Emily Dickens is working with myself and Dr Jessica Drakett at Leeds Beckett University on utilising arts-based research methodologies to allow for an imagining of a future where working-class students feel like they belong, and that UK Universities are their learning homes.

Students walking and sitting through the entrance of Portland Building, City Campus

Earlier research using arts-based methodologies has successfully provided further insight and understanding of important social science phenomena, such as belonging, and has consequently illuminated the multifaceted nature of human experience (O’Donoghue, 2009; Vaart et al., 2018). Cohen Miller (2018) used art-elicitation and likened the experience to a journey that allowed 'literal' and 'figurative' visual immersions within the lives of the participants involved. Via encouraging their participants to produce artistic creations, researchers are subsequently afforded the opportunity to support the emergence and articulation of participant voices in deep and meaningful ways.

This current project has been inspired by such research to produce a collaborative and participatory arts-based approach that will allow working-class students to creatively reimagine an inclusive, future UK Higher Education institution. This research is likely to produce visual, audio and creatively written future visions of belonging within HE.

The research aims to empower students to transcend traditional structural boundaries by supplying further agentic and pedagogical insight into improving inclusivity within HE by considering authentic student perspectives surrounding belonging. The researcher also aims to use this innovative ‘imagined future’ data to produce implications that could orchestrate future social change.Study recruitment is starting again in June/July 2021.

If you are interested in taking part in the study, please contact Emily Dickens at e.dickens3468@student.leedsbeckett.ac.uk. You can also find more information and send through details of your availability to take part through this online form.

All participants will receive a £20 Love2Shop voucher via email as a thank you for their time. 

Dr Bridgette Rickett

Head of Subject / Leeds School Of Social Sciences

Bridgette is Head of Psychology in the Leeds School of Social Sciences here at Leeds Beckett and the current Chair of Athena Swan Self Assessment Sub-Panel for the School.

Bridgette has also been the Chair of the Psychology of Women Section (British Psychology Society), is currently a committee member of the Association of Heads of Psychology and is leading the British Psychology Society position paper on the psychological evidence for in inclusion of social class/inequities as a protected characteristic in a revised UK Equality Act.

More from the blog

All blogs