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Understanding and Challenging Inequalities: Participatory Action Research (PAR), Fashion and Dress

Project Description

This research will focus on developing a PAR approach to understanding and challenging inequalities by focussing on fashion, style and dress as a site of interrogation. PAR is an approach that centres on participants as co-researchers and which aims to challenge social inequalities and effect change (e.g. Kagan, Burton & Siddique, 2008). However, there has been very little research which has looked at the potential of fashion and dress as a site for PAR research. Cultural Studies, Fashion Studies and sociological research has demonstrated for example, how young people and more recently, fashion bloggers use fashion as a form of resistance (e.g. Hall and Jefferson, 2006; Titton, 2015). Fashion, style and dress have also been the focus for researching identity, such as young people wearing “streetwear” (e.g. Mason, 2018); Muslim women wearing hijab (Tarlo, 2010); Queer style (e.g. Clarke and Turner, 2007) to name but a few. PAR has been used successfully to understand inequalities in areas such as health (e.g. Mitchell et all, 2005) and education (e.g. Anyon et al. 2018) and to develop transformative interventions in those areas. However, there has been very little research which seeks to take a PAR approach where understanding inequalities is grounded in the experiences those who experience inequalities in relation to fashion, which is both participatory and potentially transformative.

Brief description of supervisor esteem:

Dr Bipasha Ahmed has worked as an academic psychologist as both teacher and researcher for over 20 years, with a specific interest in inequalities research.

Dr Dane Lukic has been involved in several projects funded by the EU on intercultural competence (EMIC, PROFIC) and he researches knowledge boundary crossing.

Specific requirements of the project:

Candidates are requested to submit a more detailed proposal (of a maximum of 2000 words) on the project area as part of the application. The proposal can be based on any area of inequalities and fashion, however we are looking for innovative and novel proposals with a clear rationale for both the research aims and the use of PAR.

Specific qualifications, skills and knowledge expected of the candidate
Successful candidates will have:
- a demonstrable understanding and interest in inequalities research
-a demonstrable excellent understanding of research methodologies, specifically qualitative approaches
-experience of using qualitative methods of data collection and analysis in academic research
-an understanding of PAR

How to apply:

Project Reference Number: GCUL-2019-008 Ahmed


Applicants will normally hold a UK honours degree 2:1 (or equivalent); or a Masters degree in a subject relevant to the research project. Equivalent professional qualifications and any appropriate research experience may be considered. A minimum English language level of IELTS score of 6.5 (or equivalent) with no element below 6.0 is required. Some research disciplines may require higher levels.

Candidates are encouraged to contact the research supervisors for the project before applying. Applicants should complete the online GCU Research Application Form, stating the Project Title and Reference Number (listed above).

Please attach copies of academic qualifications (including IELTS if required), 2 references and any other relevant documentation to the online application.

Please send any enquiries regarding your application to:

Applicants shortlisted for the PhD project will be contacted for an interview.

For more information on how to apply and the online application form please go to:

Funding Notes

This project is self-funded. A variety of scholarship packages including funded studentships (tuition fees and stipend) and fees only scholarships are available to UK/EU and international candidates. The studentships are not guaranteed and candidates interested will be competing against others in the funding opportunity.

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