An investigation into the experiences of parenting a vocational dance student in the UK

   School of Psychology and Wellbeing

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  Dr H Clegg, Dr R Manning  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD research project investigating the experiences of parenting a vocational dance student in the UK. Parents of dance students are pivotal in providing both practical and financial assistance as well as emotional and psychological support to enable young people to achieve their dance related goals. There is considerable research in sport that considers the experiences of parents of young elite athletes and sports persons (for example Knight, Berrow, & Harwood, 2017). However, whilst previous research in dance has identified that dance students value the support from parents, which can be crucial to maintaining their commitment to dance, (Risner, 2002, 2014) the voice of the parents has yet to be heard.

You will work with parents of both male and female vocational dance students collecting both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis. This research is expected to have applications for enabling better support for parents of vocational dance students in schools.

The School of Psychology and Wellbeing at the University of Buckingham has a thriving research community gathered into 3 research hubs. You would join the Centre for Research in Expertise Acquisition, Training and Excellence (CREATE) (; a thriving research hub focusing upon research in: Expertise and the Drivers of Excellence; Insight and Creativity; Performance Science (Music, Dance); Niche Populations.

This project will be supervised by:
Dr Helen Clegg’s ( research is focused on individual differences and creativity with a particular interest in dance psychology. Recent projects have considered gender and wellbeing in dancers. Dr Clegg’s work uses a mixed methods approach.
Dr Rachel Manning ( is a social psychologist whose work is informed by spatial, collective, and critical psychological approaches, and has an interest in the development of novel methodologies.

In terms of entry qualifications, PhD applicants must hold at least a 2:1 Honours BPS-accredited degree in Psychology or an associated subject at Undergraduate level (including at least a 2:1 in their final year dissertation, and a good working knowledge of research design and stats), and would typically be expected to have an MSc degree (or equivalent) although this may be waived in the case of an exceptional applicant. The candidate should be enthusiastic about the research area and have excellent written and oral communication skills along with experience of qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Continuation on the PhD will be subject to suitable progress, assessed after one year.

Funding Notes

Candidates must be self-funded, but we are happy to work with prospective PhD students to apply for external funding. For suitable students, there may be teaching opportunities after progression is confirmed.


Applicants for this opportunity should upload a single document including a covering letter and brief CV, outlining (a) how their previous experience supports their application to pursue a PhD in Psychology and (b) how their experience/interests suit them for this particular study. The names of two academic referees should be included, but would only be approached in the event that the applicant was shortlisted. Please refer to the code: PHD-DANCE-PARENT in your application.
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