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School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work

Migration and Community-based Language Education: A comparative analysis of community and volunteer-led initiatives for the social integration and language education of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
Deadline: 30 June, 2021
Level of Study
Postgraduate Research
Application Status
Closed

Eligibility summary

  • Level of StudyPostgraduate Research

Overview

PhD Supervisor: Dr Aisling O’Boyle

Background

Queen’s has an excellent track-record of collaborating with private industry, public sector organisations, and the third sector to successfully deliver impactful, user-informed research. To support the development of these collaborations, the University will commit again commit a number of studentships (funded via Department for the Economy and EPSRC) commencing in October 2021 for projects across the Institution that will significantly involve working with a non-academic partner.

Context

There are 79.7 million forcibly displaced people worldwide (UNHCR, 2020). Individuals and families fleeing conflict and persecution are often characterised by their vulnerabilities and need for support (Sheikh and Anderson, 2018). Language learning in contexts of migration include formal, non-formal and informal approaches. In the UK, statutory measures can afford access to formal classes but are often unable to consider factors such as long-term consequences of torture and post-traumatic stress common in refugee populations which affects a person’s ability to engage with formal learning (Salvo and Williams, 2017). In response, voluntary sectors provide informal approaches (Simpson, 2015). With reference to Northern Ireland, the community sector has long provided non-formal and informal language classes to meet socially embedded communicative needs (McNulty, 2019). However, as demand for programmes increases there remains a void in research on the impact of non-formal language education. There is an absence of research on learner outcomes, programme evaluation, management of volunteers and the notion of altruism embedded in these social contexts, which could provide answers to: How do initiatives emerge through community groups as compassionate responses to unfulfilled human needs? What impacts on the sustainability of volunteer-led initiatives? In a pandemic, how does a community fulfil the “intrinsic nature of our species’ heritage” (Rabben, 2016) to offer sanctuary? Answers to these questions require a partnership model of inquiry and international scope.

Project Outline 

This project is a collaboration between QUB and the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC). The Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre (BURC) set up in September 1984 provides support, education/ training and facilities to the unemployed and other groups suffering from social and economic disadvantage. Its purpose is to promote equality, through supporting the participation and inclusion of all individuals, groups and communities. The core values of the organisation are to deliver sustainable activities and services, through a flexible creative approach based on partnership, networking, accountability and leadership.

This studentship will examine and evidence the impact of community and volunteer-led social integration and language education initiatives for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, in order to develop future programmes of work in BURC. Working in collaboration with the partner organization with guidance and mentorship of experienced academic staff the studentship has three objectives: to undertake an international systematic review of the approaches to the evidenced-based evaluation of community volunteer-led language education initiatives for migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers; to evidence the phenomenon of volunteer-led language education through comparative case study of the partner organization (BURC) in NI and three comparable organizations in national and contexts, and to conduct empirical research with key internal stakeholders (e.g. learners, volunteers, volunteer managers, and governance leaders) and external stakeholders (e.g. statutory bodies; NGO; policy advisors; community leaders) at macro, meso, and micro levels of analysis.

Further Information

Why study with us? 

Throughout this project you will be mentored and supervised by experienced academic staff and supported in training by highly skilled voluntary sector specialists.  As an enhanced and integrated doctoral experience you will spend at least three months with the collaborating partner organization (BURC) as part of this studentship. Mentorship and training experience with be provided throughout the project. In addition there will be the provision of a level 5 qualification in teaching English to speakers of other languages conducted in the partner organization and hands-on experience of teaching, delivery, design and evaluation of programmes. There will also be opportunities to better understand the context within which ‘hard to reach groups’ in positions of vulnerability use the services provided by the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre and similar organizations. The international perspective in this project offers a chance to widening horizons and building networking opportunities both face-to-face and online with practitioners and researchers active in related projects locally, nationally and internationally, through representation at events and conferences as well as managing and updating various social media accounts.

Funding Towards

Tuition Fees, Living Costs / Stipend

Funding Body

Department for the Economy (DfE)

This project is funded via a Co-operative Awards in Science and Technology (CAST) studentship. The voluntary sector partner organization is the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. 

For further details about eligibility criteria please read the DfE Research Eligibility Guidance Notes.

Funding Amount

What funding is included? 

We will cover tuition fees  up to £4,500.

We are also pleased to offer an annual stipend of £15,609 to support living costs while undertaking your doctoral research.

Successful candidates are expected to undertake full time working hours on the project. There may be scope to further supplement income through teaching activities should opportunities arise.  

Number of Awards

1

Funding Body

Department for the Economy (DfE)

This project is funded via a Co-operative Awards in Science and Technology (CAST) studentship. The voluntary sector partner organization is the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. 

For further details about eligibility criteria please read the DfE Research Eligibility Guidance Notes.

Eligibility

Student eligibility criteria for DfE-funded studentships can be accessed here.

All applicants must meet the School’s entry criteria for PhD study: https://www.qub.ac.uk/schools/ssesw/Study/PostgraduateResearch/PhD/

Given the partnership model of working required for this project we are seeking an outstanding applicant who can not only demonstrate knowledge and skills but also i) experience of volunteering and ii) experience of engaging with people in positions of vulnerability. This will be assessed during shortlisting and then interview.

The studentship must begin in October 2021.

Funding Type

Help with new course

Fee Status

EU, GB, NI, ROI

Study Level

Postgraduate Research

Start Date

Wed, 19 May 2021 13:45:00 BST

Close Date

Wed, 30 Jun 2021 23:59:00 BST

Contact Us

If you any queries about your application, please email Dr Aisling O’Boyle a.oboyle@qub.ac.uk

How to Apply

Selection Process

To apply, please log onto Queen’s University Belfast Direct Application Portal, select the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, select ‘Education’ for the subject area, and then select the degree of ‘Education (Doctor of Philosophy)’. Complete the required sections and submit your application by Wed 30th June 2021. Cite reference AOB21 in your application if you are applying for this studentship.

All applicants are also required to submit a 500-word statement (please upload this document to ‘proposal’ in place of a standard research proposal) describing how their current skills and experiences make them the ideal candidate for this project. Considering the project aims and requirements, we encourage candidates to draw particular attention to any experiences related to community and volunteer-led initiatives for the social integration and language education of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. 

Shortlisted candidates will be asked to take part in a brief interview (via MS Teams). It is anticipated that interviews will take place week commencing: 2nd August 2021. We expect this position to be very competitive and therefore reserve the right to enhance shortlisting criteria if necessary.

The successful candidate needs to be in a position to take up this opportunity by October 2021.