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Reimagining community housing with people with disabilities post-pandemic: a comparative study of supporting independent lives


   School of Social Sciences

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  Dr E Hall  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

This fully funded PhD studentship on community housing for people with disabilities in UK and Canada post-pandemic is part of ‘Community Housing Canada’, a large collaborative research project (2020-2025), with universities and housing organisations in Canada. 

The studentship is co-funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) in Canada, and University of Dundee, and will be based in Geography and Environmental Science, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee. There will be opportunities for (in-person/online) fieldwork in the UK and Canada and the successful candidate will become part of an international network of academics, students, and practitioners, with research interests in community housing; and part of an active and vibrant PhD community at the University of Dundee.

Outline of the research

The Covid-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted the lives of people with disabilities and has highlighted the vulnerable situations within which people with disabilities living independently are located. Whilst many more are now living within communities, in private rented or more commonly social/community housing, independent living is the product of social and support relations – with family, neighbours, friends, formal carers, local voluntary organisations and housing providers. The pandemic severely disrupted or stopped these networks of relations, resulting in exclusion from employment and education, inability to access social and health care, and social isolation.

This PhD project begins from the premise that the Covid-19 pandemic is a moment to reflect upon and rethink the provision of social/community housing for people with disabilities, and the role and importance of formal and informal networks in supporting and making possible independent living and inclusion in communities. A comparative study of Canada (within the context of the National Housing Strategy) and the UK, the project will: (i) examine the social and spatial characteristics of pre-pandemic ‘normal’ social/community housing provision for people with disabilities in the two countries, and the sites, services and networks that support people’s everyday independent lives; (ii) detail the impact of the pandemic on individuals with disabilities housing support provision, local accessibility and inclusion, and on the groups and organisations providing support; and (iii) co-design affordable, accessible and sustainable post-pandemic community housing support services, and social connections for people with disabilities; to strengthen social, economic and cultural inclusion in local places.

The project will adopt a co-productive methodological approach to design and undertake the research, working in collaboration with people with disabilities, national and local disability and support organisations, and community housing partners, in Canada and the UK (at national level and local case-studies).

Supervisory team: Dr. Ed Hall (University of Dundee) and Prof. Robert Wilton (McMaster University, Canada).

Dr Ed Hall has research expertise in disability and learning disability, and has published widely on topics including social exclusion/inclusion and belonging, creative arts and hate crime; in 2020, he completed an ESRC-funded project on social care and support for people with learning disabilities (with University of Southampton).

Prof. Robert Wilton is based at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He has an established research interest in disabilities and mental ill health, and social geographies of exclusion. Recent projects include SSHRC-funded research on the exclusion of disabled persons from spaces of paid employment.

Closing date for applications: 5pm on Monday 19th July 2021. Interviews will be held in w/c 2nd August (online).

Start date: End of September 2021.

Duration: The studentship will run for three years (full-time only).

Funding: The funding will cover the full UK/Home tuition fee and a stipend (at UKRI rate: £15,609 in 2021/22), and a research project fund for fieldwork etc.

Eligibility: Applicants must hold a MSc in Human Geography or a cognate discipline (such as Sociology, Social Policy, Disability Studies, Social Research), preferably including research skills training that will allow them to undertake a PhD; plus a 1st or 2:1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject. The studentship is open to UK/Home students only.

To be classed as a UK/Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

-         Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or

-         Have settled status, or

-         Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or

-         Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

How to apply

Please include the following documents in your application for the PhD studentship:

-         A full CV, including qualifications and relevant training and work experience.

-         A two-page application letter: setting out why you would like to undertake this PhD project; the skills, knowledge and experience that you would bring to the project; and some brief reflections on the purpose, methodological approach, and potential impact of the study.

-         Two references, at least one of which should be an academic reference (on headed paper and signed).

-         University degree transcripts and relevant academic degree certificates.

Please email your application documents in a single email to [Email Address Removed] with the subject line ‘Community Housing PhD’, by the deadline of 5pm Monday 19th July 2021.

For further details of the proposed project and for informal discussion, please contact Dr Ed Hall ([Email Address Removed]).

For further details of Community Housing Canada: https://sites.google.com/ualberta.ca/community-housing-canada/home


Funding Notes

The funding will cover the full UK/Home tuition fee and a stipend (at UKRI rate: £15,609 in 2021/22), and a research project fund for fieldwork etc.