Self-funded PhD opportunities

The voice of the child: listening to migrant children’s experiences of education, health and social care in the UK

  • Application end date: Applications accepted all year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Health Sciences and Social Work
  • PhD Supervisor: Annabel Tremlett and Tara Woodyer (Geography)

The question of how best to access and attend to the voice of the child has emerged as one of the most pressing issues for research and practice that involves children. There is a widely acknowledged lack of understanding as to how to really listen to children: practitioners in education, health and social care all aim, but frequently fail, to put children at the heart of decision making on matters that will affect their future, whilst researchers have been criticized for not being reflexive enough in their attempts to capture ‘the child’s voice’ in research.

This project will focus on case studies of children from migrant families from Eastern Europe, particularly from Roma (Gypsy) backgrounds, whose voices can be particularly obscured by strong, politicized discourses that exclude or stigmatize them. These children are also emblematic of the current discourses on superdiversity, which looks not only at ethnicity as a stand alone category but also language, class, gender, sexuality and other aspects of diversity. This project aims to get beyond the political and media rhetoric to build an understanding of how the children of such migrants are integrating and coping in UK society, considering children from these migrants will form a significant part of future UK communities.

The focus will be on how their voices are heard in institutional and family lives, and how to listen to their voices in the research process. The project will therefore take an ethnographic approach to ensure that the research has space for:

(i) rapport-building with the children and their families;

(ii) in-depth observations of daily institutional and family life: and

(iii) creative means to access the voices of children (e.g. play, photo elicitation, drawing); and (iv) deep reflexivity on the part of the researcher to ensure a critical examination of the research process including ethical considerations (e.g. through fieldnotes, theoretical reflections and supervisions).

The research will focus on case studies in the south of England, which has seen some of the largest migrations from Central and Eastern Europe.

Funding notes:

This PhD opportunity is available to self-funded students. Bench fees may apply. For more information please contact the project supervisor.

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Health Sciences and Social Work

Applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpage:

When applying please note the project code - HSSW3260217