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Co-creating Performance and Play: Supporting community cohesion and well-being through mixed-media co-production in a post-Covid 19 society


   Graduate School

  Dr Lynn Love  Friday, October 29, 2021  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Abertay University R-LINCS2 funding. A PhD studentship that comprises tax-free stipend of £15,609 (increasing in line with UKRI per annum) per year over 3.5 years, student tuition fees paid, and a generous study package (e.g. limited research consumables, travel budget, and training when appropriate). 

The successful candidate will have access to the pan-University Graduate School, which offers facilities and an integrated training programme to the postgraduate community within a single centre, serving to inculcate interdisciplinary and collaborative working in our next generation of researchers.

You will be expected to undertake limited teaching duties of no more than 70 hours a year. We provide training on this activity, and it is a valuable part of career development.

The Studentship is available for a February 2022 start.

Interviews are likely to be online in the November/ December 2021.

Project Description:

This project seeks to examine the potential for play and games to support individual and communities in improving their well-being and social cohesion. The candidate will work with an existing community in Scotland, and through practice-based research will design and test playful interventions underpinned by creative co-creation processes within the community. The interventions will support the community to co-create an interactive experience and will also aim to examine how play can promote social connection and individual wellbeing.

The goal of the project is to research the potential of play, video games and arts participation to enhance engagement and well-being within the community. The main research question is: how can play and games support individual and communities in improving their well-being and social cohesion? The candidate will use games and performance production to explore alternative solutions for well-being and cohesion of communities and people. The candidate will rely on mixed qualitative methods, with a focus on adopting creative practice as a research method. There has been little research on how video games or performance can support well-being, especially from a participatory perspective, where players are directly involved in the co-design of the experiences.

To achieve this, the project will undertake the following objectives:

  1. Examine Play as a Motivator: Research how play can be used to motivate creative co-creation with community groups and the benefits and potential disadvantages in participating in playful co-creation of media as part of a group
  2. Assess Impact of Play on Community: Investigate how (if at all) participation in play and co-creation can affect participant’s well-being and sense of social connectedness
  3. Form Impact Framework: Devise a methodology for analysing the impact of creative interventions upon the well-being and social connectedness of a community.
  4. Assess and Formalise Playful Interventions: Develop a playful methodology for enabling participants to collaboratively design experiences using video games and performance which can be disseminated to and applied by practitioners and academics.

The output of this research will likely have widespread influence to groups working with communities, particularly in the arts and with an interest in mental health. The theoretical framework developed for assessing the impact of the research upon the community will also have widepread and significant benefit to artists, designers, performers and acadmics working with practice based research. The project will involve significant interaction with an existing community and also delivering talks to arts organisations and community groups to disseminate project findings. This activity will complement dissemination via academic writing and online documentation to reach a range of academic and public audiences.

Supervisory Team: The candidate will be based within the Division of Games and Arts, and will be supervised by Dr Lynn Love, Dr Mona Bozdog (Games and Arts), Professor Stefano De Paoli (Division of Sociology), Dr Mhairi Thurston (Division of Health Sciences) and industry adviser/ mentor, Mr Malcolm Hamilton (Play Disrupt, Bristol). Questions relating to this studentship should be directed to Dr Lynn Love in the first instance (). 

Two fully funded placements with Play Disrupt, an organisation working with play and communities in Bristol, UK will take place over the course of the Study.

Entry Requirements: Candidates must have, or expect to obtain, a first class or upper second-class honours degree in performing arts, performance practice or a closely aligned discipline. A Master’s degree is also desirable but not essential. We are looking for an independent, enthusiastic, and driven candidate with excellent interpersonal skills who has experience of working with and/or organising community groups. Candidates should have an interest in video games development and ideally have some experience working in co-design, creative practice and/or digital prototyping skills. Candidates should ideally have an understanding of qualitative research methods, but this is not essential but should be motivated to explore how their creative practice can form the basis of an academic research project (through Practice-based research methodology).

For applicants who are non-native speakers of English, the University requires IELTS of 6.5 (with no band less than 6.0) or an equivalent qualification accepted by the Home Office.

Applications and closing date: 29th October 2021

Applicants should submit through the Abertay University jobs page https://www.abertay.ac.uk/about/working-at-abertay/jobs/, or by going to PhD and Research Masters Projects | Abertay University submitting a personal statement of application detailing why you are interested in undertaking this project, and a CV.

If you are selected for interview you will be required to complete an online Research Student Application Form which includes the submission of a research proposal. Guidance on how to write the proposal can be found here: https://www.abertay.ac.uk/study-apply/how-to-apply/how-to-apply/, Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr. Lynn Love () to discuss proposal preparation for application.


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