Material Sensibilities

making space for play across the life course

Category Archives: Study opportunities

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