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Investigating the experiences of female dancers in the UK

   School of Psychology and Wellbeing

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  Dr R Manning, Dr H Clegg  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 female dancers in the UK. Whilst female dancers often constitute the majority of participants in dance psychology research, the impact of gender is less often considered in any depth unless the focus is on eating disorders. Research on male dancers suggests that dance teachers traditionally expect female dance students to be passive recipients of their instruction but that male dance students are afforded more power within the dance studio (Clegg, Owton, & Allen-Collinson, 2018). Such privileging of male dancers continues into the professional dance world with the expectation that female dancers accept such inequality, although research has suggested that female dance teachers, whilst at times colluding with this privileging, are unhappy with the status quo (Clegg, Owton & Allen-Collinson, 2016). This PhD would aim to facilitate female dancers’ voices to be heard and to enable them to guide research towards the issues that are important to them.

You will work with female vocational dance students and professional dance performers and teachers, initially collecting interview and focus group data to identify the concerns of the participants. This will then inform future studies that may involve both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.

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 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.
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.

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-FEMALES-DANCERS in your application.
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