- Course: Mechanical Engineering PhD
- PhD title: Together Through Play: Facilitating meaningful play between disabled and non-disabled children through participatory design
Why I chose to study for a PhD at the University of Leeds
I applied for the PhD Studentship at the University of Leeds because I was particularly interested in the collaborative, interdisciplinary nature of the project and working with children and young people has always been a worthwhile and rewarding experience for me. I have teaching experience in the areas of Graphics and Product Design, and I previously worked in industry as a Graphic Designer/ New Product Developer, therefore I was confident that I had the relevant skills and experience to work progressively in this field.
I chose to move to Leeds for the post, as I felt that the PhD Studentship would give me the opportunity to further enhance my professional development, and I was aware that my supervisors were doing some ground breaking research in their fields.
About my research
My project is entitled Together Through Play, and the purpose of the project is to develop understanding of children's needs and aspirations for inclusive play. This is a piece of action research that explores ways to facilitate meaningful play between disabled and non-disabled children, through a process of contextual inquiry and participatory design.
My favourite part of studying at Leeds
During my time at the University of Leeds, I have been fortunate enough to work with some of the leading academics at the School of Mechanical Engineering and the Centre for Disability Studies at the School of Sociology and Social Policy. I have benefited from the opportunity to further enhance my skills as a researcher, and to actively engage in the development of new programmes of study in the area of product design.
Activities outside of my studies
Outside of my studies, I currently run for the Leeds Gryphons, The University of Leeds Cross Country Club (LUUCCC), and I have started to undertake teaching and demonstrating responsibilities in both product design, and sociology and social policy. I also work as Student Ambassador and Student Host for the University of Leeds Access and Community Engagement Department.
My ambitions for the future
Once I have completed my PhD, I would like to continue to work in the field of academia, to build links with industry and to pursue opportunities to engage various focus groups in the process of inclusive design and inclusive education in the future.
My advice to prospective students
I would highly recommend engineering research degrees to other students. There is great scope for progression and links with industry, and the University of Leeds in particular has an excellent reputation in this field.