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  • Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Programme (European/UK Students Only)

Profile Description


Applications are invited for a DfE funded PhD studentship tenable in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the Magee Campus, in collaboration with the Faculty of Life and Health Sciences (Nursing).

Project Title: Development of an interactive model of applied drama, creative agency and critical reflection to advance ‘sympathetic presence' within multidisciplinary teams

Project Summary:
In the wake of critical reports on the National Health Service, there is a fresh drive to create a culture of care that delivers a dignified and empowered patient experience (O'Neill, 2013). Person-centred practice is an integrated approach to people who need health care. It emphasises the importance of focusing on the unique characteristics of the individual. Conceptual models such as the Person-Centred Practice Framework (McCormack and McCance, 2016 in press) have emerged to provide a strategic direction for development in this area. One of the constructs within the PCP Framework ‘sympathetic presence', which focuses on the practitioner being available to the patient ‘in the moment' (McCormack and McCance, 2010, p 104) and challenges the limitations of empathy, suggesting that it is neither desirable nor possible ‘to fully comprehend another individual's particular experience' (McCormack and McCance, 2010, p 102). Similarly, political and applied theatre practitioners have challenged Aristotelian dramaturgical concepts of ‘empathy' and ‘identification' as ‘coercive' and detrimental to the capacity for rational thought and social action (Boal 1998; Brecht 1978).

This PhD research will use applied theatre approaches to develop an interactive model of applied drama to advance ‘sympathetic presence' within multidisciplinary medical teams.

Research question and objectives of the research
How does the use of applied drama, creative interaction and critical reflection advance sympathetic presence within multidisciplinary teams?

1. To explore practitioners' understanding of sympathetic presence as a component of person-centred practice.
2. To understand the influence of the use of applied drama, creative agency and critical reflection on the advancement of sympathetic presence in practice.
3. To develop an interactive training model to support the development of sympathetic presence in practice.

Entrance Requirements:
Candidates should have ordinary UK residence to be eligible for both fees and maintenance. Non UK residents who hold ordinary EU residence may also apply but if successful will receive fees only. All applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree in Drama or Music or a cognate area. It is expected that the successful candidate will also hold a degree at Master's level.



Skills required of applicant:
1. Experience of using qualitative research methods including interviews, narratives, focus groups and observation.
2. Excellent computer literacy
3. Excellent oral and written communication skills
4. Experience of using creative approaches broadly within a healthcare context.

Applications will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate's qualifications, skills experience and interests. Successful candidates will enrol as of 1 October 2017, on a full-time programme of research studies leading to the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.

The studentship will comprise fees together with an annual stipend of £14,553 and will be awarded for a period of up to three years subject to satisfactory progress.

If you wish to discuss your proposal or receive advice on this project please contact:-
Dr Lisa Fitzpatrick, Head of Research Graduate School (Arts), at [email protected]

For more information on applying go to ulster.ac.uk/research
Apply online ulster.ac.uk/applyonline

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is April 30th 2017
Interviews will be held in May 2017.


Funding Notes

Some or all of the PhD opportunities in this programme have funding attached. It is available to citizens of a number of European countries (including the UK). In most cases this will include all EU nationals. However full funding may not be available to all applicants and you should read the full programme details for further information.

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