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Research Associate: dementia, gardens & everyday creativity

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University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
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Fixed term
32,817 - 34,804 a year
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Role Description

Research Associate: Dementia, Gardens and Everyday Creativity

The post will involve working on a pilot study and pump priming project: ‘My home, my garden story: exploring how people living with dementia access and use their garden in everyday life’, funded by the University of York Research Priming fund 2019-2020. You will work with Dr Christina Buse, Lecturer in Sociology and a wider team at the Universities of York and Manchester (Prof. Sarah Nettleton, Prof. John Keady, Dr Andy Balmer). The project is examining the role of gardens in the everyday lives of people with dementia who are living at home, and the potential of garden spaces for facilitating ‘everyday creativity’. Everyday creativity involves small practices of improvisation and innovation, adapting existing practices and spaces to meet with the challenges of living with dementia. Through pilot research, the project explores the potential of different creative qualitative methods for researching this topic, working collaboratively with people living with dementia, family carers, third sector organisations, an artist and landscape architects.

There is potential to contribute to the development of a grant application for a larger project, and for co-authorship of any publications from the pilot research.


You will conduct qualitative research with people living with dementia who are living at home and other household members, examining the potential of different creative qualitative methods for researching this topic, for instance: quasi-ethnographic methods (e.g. garden tours, go-alongs, in-situ interviews); diaries (photographic/audio/film/written); visual methods (e.g. visual mapping, filming, sketches). As part of the role you will:

  • Contribute to the design of the research methods and research instruments.
  • Conduct pilot research to test out the suitability of different qualitative and creative methods for researching the role of gardens in the everyday lives of people living with dementia.
  • Contribute to the coding and analysis of qualitative data.
  • Liaise with our partner organisation and other organisations supporting people living with dementia and family carers (e.g. in relation to the recruitment of participants, and the development of research ideas collaboratively). 

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • First degree in Sociology or other relevant discipline (Essential)
  • PhD in Sociology or other relevant discipline (or near completion) or equivalent experience as a researcher (Essential)
  • Experience of conducting and analysing qualitative research (Essential)
  • Experience of conducting research with people living with dementia or older people and family carers (Desirable)
  • Experience of using visual/creative and/or ethnographic methods (Desirable)
  • Experience of applying ethical considerations to the collecting and managing ofqualitative data (Essential)
  • Experience with word processing, data management and NVivo qualitative data analysis software (Desirable)
  • Experience of writing up research forreports and publications(Desirable)

Interview date:  4th December 2019

For informal enquiries: please contact Dr Christina Buse on

This post is available on a fixed term basis from 6 January 2020 to 31 July 2020.

This post is available at 11 hours a week (0.30 FTE).

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