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AHRC CDA Doctoral Scholarship - Creators in the classroom: developing writing for pleasure, and future writers, in Scottish primary schools


   College of Social Sciences

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  Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The University of Glasgow, the University of Edinburgh, and the Scottish Book Trust are seeking a doctoral student for an AHRC and The Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership award, ‘Creators in the classroom: developing writing for pleasure, and future writers, in Scottish primary schools.’

According to National Literacy Trust (NLT) research, children’s engagement with, and enjoyment of, writing is at the lowest level in a decade. However, research conducted pre- and during lockdown found that young people (8-18-years-old) engaged with creative writing more in lockdown than they did previously. This growth in writing activity was, according to the youth participants, partly due to increased time and space to think and generate ideas. Additionally, these creative writing activities helped the participants deal with, and process, feelings of anxiety and uncertainty around the pandemic. Whilst the more technical aspects of writing (e.g. grammar, spelling, handwriting) are typically taught in a formal school setting as part of an increasingly narrow and instrumentalist understanding of literacy, the more creative and collaborative aspects of writing are often relegated to informal education spaces or enacted through voluntary workshops/activities. This project will forefront a Writing for Pleasure (WfP) pedagogy which involves children engaging with authors, storytellers, poets, and other creatives/artists and their processes within schools.

This project aims to provide a robust evidence base for the examination of creative writing with children. It will contribute to current understandings of children’s creativity by exploring if/how artist-led creative writing workshops/residencies can promote WfP cultures in Scottish schools, independent WfP in primary school children, and create a pipeline for future authors, particularly those traditionally underrepresented in the creative industries.

The research questions, to be refined by the successful candidate, are:

  • What are the barriers to and enablers of WfP development in primary school children, and how do artist-led creative writing workshops/residencies impact this?
  • In what ways does the presence of an artist/writer influence children’s (and teacher’s) relationship to WfP?
  • What kinds of pedagogic and creative spaces can be developed to support and promote WfP?
  • How do the relationships between artists/writers and teachers develop and influence each other?

We anticipate the methodology for this project will involve focus groups, interviews, and participant observation with pupils (9-12-year-olds), teachers, and creators/artists, alongside arts-based methods. Fieldwork will take place across Scotland, in primary schools. The successful candidate will have the flexibility to shape the project further, in line with their specific interests and expertise.

As part of this PhD project the successful candidate will be supported to work across academic (i.e., University) and non-academic (i.e., Scottish Book Trust) settings. Furthermore, the successful candidate will be supported by PhD supervisors at the University of Glasgow (Dr Melanie Ramdarshan Bold) and the University of Edinburgh (Dr Shari Sabeti) and who are working across disciplinary boundaries (Education, Anthropology, Contemporary Book Studies). The successful candidate will spend the majority of your time at the University of Glasgow but will work closely with the Scottish Book Trust (based in Edinburgh) throughout.

This research has the potential for significant impact. The studentship is designed to intersect with a range of activity within the Scottish Book Trust: through engagement with audiences and staff, through research seminars and conferences, and through their Live Literature programme.

Eligibility

We encourage applications from candidates with a background in education, creative writing, literary sociology, cultural studies, communication and media studies, anthropology, and related subjects.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria

Essential:

  • Achieve (or expect to achieve) an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, with an excellent or very good classification (equivalent to a first or upper second class honours in the UK)
  • Experience of, or interest in, research or work in school settings.
  • Experience or interest in creative writing.
  • Qualitative design, data collection, and analysis skills.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Enthusiasm and a conscientious approach to work.
  • Be able to organize own work and meet deadlines.
  • Be able to work within a team and show an interest in working across academic and non-academic settings.
  • Confident user of Microsoft Office.

Desirable:

  • Achieve (or expect to achieve) a Masters degree in a relevant discipline
  • Confident user of NVivo
  • Experience of presenting information in different formats and styles to reach different audiences.
  • An interest in the work of Scottish Book Trust and a passion to promote its charitable aims.

Please note that all applicants must also meet the entry requirements for the Education, PhD

We welcome applications from candidates of all backgrounds, and are committed to providing support and guidance to under-represented groups both during the application process, and throughout the period of funded study.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a +3.5 programme only. The programme will commence in October 2022. The funding includes:

  • An annual stipend at the UKRI rate
  • Fees at the standard home or international rate
  • Students can also draw on a Mobility Allowance, usually up to a maximum of £550 per year

Application process

Applicants must apply via the Scholarships Application Portal, uploading the following documentation:

  • AHRC CDA PhD Scholarship (Creators in the Classroom) application form (in Word format)
  • Academic transcripts (All relevant Undergraduate and Master’s level degree transcripts (and translations, if not originally in English) – provisional transcripts are sufficient if you are yet to complete your degree).
  • 2 references (where possible your references should include an academic familiar with your work. Both references can be from academics but you may include a work reference, especially if you have been out of academia for more than 5 years).
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) (academic where applicable).
  • A 1,000-5,000 word sample of your writing (this might be an academic essay or another example of your writing style and ability)

Selection process

Applications will be assessed by the project team. Applicants will be notified if they are being invited to interview by Thursday 09th June. Interviews for the position will take place on Zoom on Thursday 16th June.

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