postgraduate research

Andy Barrett

57024161_10156560546651429_821128434812977152_nFor the past twenty years I have been the Artistic Director of the community theatre company Excavate (formerly Hanby and Barrett), creating projects with thousands of local people across the region. These have included a number of collaborations with the University of Nottingham (for example see and Our current projects include two large scale community theatre projects in India, funded by the GCRF.

My research is based on examining the texts of community plays, a specific form of theatre that began in the UK in the late seventies and which became very influential over the eighties and early to mid-nineties. I am particularly interested in seeing how the writers of these plays approached questions of place, history, and collective identity; how the form was shaped by and responded to the political, social and cultural environment it found itself in; why the form was unable to learn from its own practice; and how it became subsumed into the heritage agenda. Ultimately I believe that the form has the potential to re-emerge (as ideas of cultural democracy are) and I would like to help that to happen.

Bobby Beaumont

Bobby Headshot.jpgI am a performer and PhD researcher with the University of Nottingham and University of Birmingham. My research seeks to investigate what performance and play does in refugee camp settings.  The research is in collaboration with The Flying Seagull Project (FSP), a charity which specialises in providing play sessions and circus/clown performances for children in marginalised communities.  I will be conducting ethnographic research with the FSP in refugee camps and temporary settlements in Lebanon and Greece.  Although based in the School of Education, my research is very much interdisciplinary, drawing influence from education studies, art and theatre studies, refugee and migration studies, and childhood and youth studies. I approach my research as both performer and researcher, placing play and performance at the heart of my methodology.  My observations come from on and off the stage, from within play sessions and outside of them, theatre will be used as a self-reflexive method, and I am adopting a researcher clown character to host art-based discussion groups with children. The research ultimately seeks to explore the question; what does play and performance do here?

Fatma Poyraz Ciddi


My PhD work explores creating and sharing of multimodal family narratives in multicultural early years classrooms. It aims to discover if a sustained strategy of inviting parents and their children into the classroom environment to share multimodal family narratives will provide rich opportunities for literacy learning in ways that reflect the changing literacy landscape and disrupt deficit discourses about multicultural and economically disadvantaged families and enable a democratic, diverse and culturally responsive pedagogy.


Anna Colin

acolinAnna Colin is a curator, educator and researcher. She co-founded and co-directs Open School East in Margate (UK), an alternative space for artistic and collaborative learning. Anna also works as associate curator at Lafayette Anticipations – Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and is a PhD candidate in the School of Geography at the University of Nottingham. Anna was co-curator, with Lydia Yee, of the touring exhibition British Art Show 8 (Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton) in 2015-16. Previously, Anna was associate director of Bétonsalon – Centre for Art and Research, Paris (2011-12), associate curator at La Maison populaire, Montreuil (2012), and curator at Gasworks, London (2007-10). Anna is researching what makes an alternative space through an ESRC studentship.

Anthony Cropper

Anthony-CROPPER-e1501084780133-768x1024-225x300.jpgAnthony has published two novels and a collection of short stories. His play, I’ll Tell You About Love won the BBC Alfred Bradley Award for Radio Drama and he recently worked with Bristol Old Vic, writing the screenplay for the short film, Myself in Other Lives. Anthony has taught creative writing both in this country and abroad. He has worked with adult learners on short courses for the University of Hull (Centre for Lifelong Learning) and currently teaches on the creative writing MA at Nottingham Trent University. He was recently given an Arts Council award to work on The Accidental Memoir, a journal to promote and encourage writing. Anthony has also held writing residencies in schools for First Story, a charity set up to promote literacy and storytelling. He is researching the work of writers in schools.

Kubra Firat

kubra firat.jpegI am a third-year PhD researcher looking at the Literacy Development of Early Years Children. The findings of my master’s thesis (Fırat, 2018) guided me to focus on the topic of Reception teachers’ literacy pedagogies in general and to investigate  what matters for Reception teachers’ literacy pedagogies in particular. Adopting the ecological system theory of Bronfenbrenner (1979) as my theoretical framework, I believe the literacy pedagogies of teaching staff are shaped by different, yet interrelated environmental factors. Policy level decisions on literacy teaching strategy (namely, Systematic Synthetic Phonics) and its assessment have become more of an issue for educators due to the fact that the achievement of children in literacy has been one way to evaluate school achievement across England. My research explores educators’ literacy pedagogies when there is a prominent accountability regime in an English reception classroom. I am looking into the literacy experiences of childre,  parent-teaching staff collaboration, and the teacher-teaching assistant collaboration in supporting children’s literacy development.

Zubeyde Genc

yesil.jpgZubeyde taught as a preschool teacher in Turkey for about eight years. Her PhD research is a multi-sited case study which aims to explore the relationship between school policy, teacher beliefs and practice, regarding outdoor play in early childhood education in England. Within this research, she seeks to understand how beliefs emerged, how they are supported, and how play cultures and policies interact in a dynamic and formative way in early childhood education settings.


Cassie Kill

IMG_4954Cassie Kill coordinates postgraduate activities in CRACL. Her research is in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary: it is a collaborative ethnography of the gallery’s learning programmes which examines the ongoing relationships at play with young people, artists and teachers and the learning opportunities these afford. Cassie has over a decade of experience in gallery education and community arts and has provided consultancy for youth arts development to organisations across the North of England You can contact her at or on Twitter @cassiekill


Steve McNicholl


Julia Molinari

Julia_Molinari (2)My interdisciplinary PhD research explores answers to the following question: what makes writing academic? Taking as my cue the claim that ‘what is seen as academic writing is contestable and always emergent’ (Arlene Archer and Esther Breuer, 2016), I have provided some evidence to suggest that this may be the case. My answers to the question have drawn on writing research that foregrounds writing as a varied and mobile social practice (Theresa Lillis, 2013) and on the philosophies of social science (Keith Sawyer, 2001) and of mind (David Chalmers, 2006), which propose theories of emergence to explain how novelty can arise from seemingly unrelated constituents. This opens up possibilities for more diverse, creative, unpredictable and inclusive ways of writing academically.

Colin Morley

Colin was formerly head of performing arts at the Whitehills Federation in Nottingham. He now works in teacher education in the School of Education. He is researching creative partnership work in a cluster of northern primary schools.

Louisa Penfold

391A9491.jpgLouisa is a curator who works with children in art museums. Her PhD research, run in partnership with the learning teams at Tate and the Whitworth Art Gallery, is investigating the construction of art museum pedagogic practice that connects with children’s learning processes. Louisa also runs Art Play Children Learning – a blog that supports artists and educators to produce children’s creative learning environments.

John Perry

Wendy Sall

IMG_67271My experience as a classroom practitioner, working across the primary and secondary phases, led me to observe a growing reluctance among children to read, notably books. My PhD research focusses on primary aged readers who, having mastered basic decoding skills, are expanding their abilities to comprehend texts. I explore how these children talk about texts with peers within formal and informal school-based settings. I also explore the various policies around reading and how these impact children’s reading experiences.

Jane Trowell


Jane’s focus is on liberatory pedagogies and transdisciplinary practices. Her background is in contemporary art, collaborative art practices, environmental justice and education. Jane is reasearch associate for Platform London, the creative campaigning charity. She is researching the manifestations of race in the school art curriculum.

Helen West

Helen’s ESRC funded PhD will investigate the educational trajectories of young people through and after alternative education.

Brittany Wright

Brittany’s ESRC funded PhD will explore the educational experiences of three generations of working class women in Coalville.

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