Material Sensibilities

making space for play across the life course

Category Archives: Study opportunities

ESRC studentship – Gender neutral toys

You can apply for 1+3 (masters and PhD) or +3 funding. All 1+3 SCDTP students will undertake the Masters in Social Research Methods (MSRM) in their first year.

Investigating the influence of gender-neutral toys advertisement on children’s attitudes and play behaviours

Project Description

Project code: PSYC4270118  7961433594_f2f52a0aa6_b

Supervision team:

Project in brief

Children’s toys are heavily gendered, resulting in boys and girls developing varied sets of skills which may either help or hinder them in their future curricula and career choices. Media and advertisements further encourage the prevalence of gender stereotypes in many forms, including toy catalogues. Recently some progress has been made in developing gender neutral toy descriptions in advertising, to encourage children to take part in cross gender play. The present project investigates the impact of gender-neutral material on children’s attitude and behaviours, and on the conversation they have with parents and peers.

Specific candidate requirements:  

Applicants for this PhD position should have at least a completed BA or BSc honours level degree in psychology, geography or cognate discipline from an accredited course (minimum 2.1 award) (required); Experience with child research participants (desired); basic knowledge of quantitative and qualitative data analysis (desired).For all funding, students must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second-class level, from a UK academic higher education institution. Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.
The studentship includes an annual maintenance grant, of £14,553 (2017/18).
For more information and to apply click here.
The closing date for applications is 22 January 2018, 11.59 pm. 

Workshop on teaching geographies of children and youth

Registration open for RGS Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group (GCYFRG) workshop:

Educating undergraduate geographers for/about/using the geographies of children and youth

Is it for you?

This workshop is for anyone who is interested in using research on the geographies of children and youth in their teaching. We will be exploring issues such as:

  • How to use doctoral research in undergraduate teaching
  • Should we be delivering modules on the geographies of children and youth? And if so, what makes for a good module?
  • What practical exercises work well in class?
  • What works well in fieldwork?
  • How can we embed the geographies of children and youth in more general geographical teaching?

In short, this workshop is for you whether you are a postgraduate student, early career researcher/lecturer, or an established academic!

FINAL Programme

1000-1030       Registration and teas/coffees

1030-1100       Part One – Introductions

1100-1155       Part Two – Taking centre stage? Modules in Children’s Geographies

1205-1315       Part Three – Approaches to learning Children’s Geographies

1315-1415       Lunch

1415-1450       Part Four – Dissertations

1450-1535       Part Five – Fieldwork

1535-1600       Roundtable with teas/coffee

1600                 End of workshop


Royal Geographical Society, London. Wednesday 10th January 2018
Cost:  ​ £20 waged, £10 unwaged (lunch included); Bursaries Available

Convenors: John H. McKendrick (Glasgow Caledonian University) /

Click here for more information and booking form


Funded PhD Opportunity

Understanding the lived realities of informal kinship care for grandparents

Supervisors: Dr Tara Woodyer (Geography); Dr Annabel Tremlett (Social Work); Dr Carol Ekinsmyth (Geography)

Project description
The question of how best to attend to intergenerationality and support informal kinship care provision by grandparents has emerged as a pressing issue for research and social care practice. Whilst geographical research is beginning to make important contributions in the future direction of age-related research, grandparents and their crucial role in informal kinship care remains noticeably under-researched.

Using a qualitative approach, this project will examine the lived realities of informal kinship care provision from the grandparent’s perspective, exploring the role of intergenerational connections in shaping the life transition to grandparenthood. More specifically, it will examine: the role of space, age, gender and intra-familial relations in the construction and performance of a carer identity; the role of local networks and community in informal kinship care provision; social and economic obstacles in informal kinship care provision and how these can be mitigated; and the perceived benefits and/or detrimental impacts to self in undertaking an informal kinship care provider role. Drawing on established connections with user communities, the research will use Portsmouth as a case study site.

The project aims to provide an in-depth evidence base for addressing major questions surrounding kinship care and later life transitions within social care. Working closely with key non-academic organisations, it seeks to inform local and national social care policy, support provision and social care education.

Find out more here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your application, please contact Dr. Tara Woodyer by email.
Funding includes: bursary stipend (at current RCUK rates), University fees (UK/EU rate) plus £1,500 pa project costs/consumables for the duration of the studentship.

The bursaries are offered for full-time, Home or EU candidates only. You will need to meet the following requirements to undertake a research degree at the University of Portsmouth:
A good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered. For those students without English as a first language or without a first degree from an English speaking University, an English Language Proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0 is required.

How to apply:
If you would like to apply for one of these projects, please use the web links above and complete the online application form which includes uploading a CV and 1000 word project proposal. We recommend that candidates contact the first supervisor prior to applying to discuss the proposed project.
Closing date for applications:
The closing date for applications: Sunday 5th February 2017.
For more details about studying as a PhD student at the University, visit