Making space for hidden voices in Mindfulness-Based Programmes Sawubona: we see you! – MRes Scholarship

 

Making space for hidden voices in Mindfulness-Based Programmes Sawubona: we see you!

Project ID: BUK2E095
Annual Stipend: £13,131
Application Deadline: 5th December 2022.

We are seeking an applicant to undertake a 1-year Research Masters commencing on 1st January 2023 and ending on 31st December 2023. The project is a collaboration between The Mindfulness Network charity and Bangor University’s Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice.

The primary supervisor for the project is Dr Thandi Gilder, the second supervisor is Dr Gemma Griffith. The company supervisor is Dr Sophie Sansom. Prof Rebecca Crane, Dr Ken Lunn and Dr Bridgette O’Neill will be a project advisors.

This project aims to examine how Mindfulness-Based Programmes (MBPs) can embed a commitment to and valuing of equality, diversity and inclusion in their delivery and their organisational ethos.

Within this overarching investigation the project aims to research:

1. How the Mindfulness Network (MN) training and support team can build awareness of how systemic structures of oppression plays out within the organization and within teaching spaces.

2. What pedagogical approaches to training mindfulness-based teachers would create spaces that are inclusive, democratic and which offer an environment in which all participants can fully bring their lived experience, identities, and cultures.

3. How an ‘anti-oppression lens’ would influence the structure and content of, and accessibility to the MN’s Teacher Training Pathway (TTP).

Sawubona is an ancient African greeting meaning ‘we see you’. Strengthening Sawubona seeing involves resisting participation in the dehumanizing dynamics of oppression and engaging intentionally in the liberation of ourselves and others. Once we “see”, we then have a responsibility to live in alignment with our seeing. There is a growing recognition of the importance of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in mindfulness based TTPs, given current imbalances in representation of teachers and trainers, and a recognized need to build awareness of personal and organizational biases. Despite the wide acceptance of MBPs as a mainstream approach to wellbeing, there are concerns about how accessible these programs are to the whole of society, particularly underrepresented groups. It is anecdotally observed that the majority group within the MBP teacher training and teaching community are White, middle-class, and female. There is scarce MBP research representing the perspectives of people of diverse ethnicity, disability, religion, socio-economic status, or sexual orientation. There is growing recognition of the need to implement EDI frameworks in MBP teacher training to widen access, and to foster inclusion and a sense of belonging among trainees from underrepresented groups.

This project offers a focused opportunity to systematically investigate these issues in a way that is tailored to the specific context of the MN charity. The project is designed to build understanding of how current approaches to teaching and training create barriers to people from marginalised backgrounds, and how we can forefront a deeper awareness of racial inequality in the content of mindfulness-based programs/approaches. We aim to take a broad perspective on oppression and discrimination which includes all the protected characteristics within the UK 2010 Equality act and is also open to other areas that influence access and privilege such as economic status. However, within this broad territory, we aim to foreground oppression and discrimination based on race, because this is a characteristic that is so starkly unbalanced within our current white-centric team.

The project will involve conducting a selective review of the literature on anti-oppression approaches to pedagogy, followed by a Delphi study to build practical knowledge on how the theoretical principles identified in the literature review can inform practice within the MN’s TTP. The Delphi study will engage people with lived experience of both marginalisation/ exclusion and mindfulness-based teaching, and the MN’s training and support team to contribute to developing practical methods for implementing the findings about anti-oppression into the MNs ethos, organisational processes and delivery of training, supervision, and retreats.

To apply for this studentship, please e-mail a CV, a degree transcript and a covering letter, along with one reference letter, to Dr Thandi Gilder (thandi.gilder@bangor.ac.uk) and cc p.j.dowdney@bangor.ac.uk. The closing date for applications is 05/12/2022.

Knowledge Economy Skills Scholarships (KESS 2 East) is a pan-Wales higher level skills initiative led by Bangor University on behalf of the HE sector in Wales. It is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.

Due to ESF funding, eligibility restrictions apply to this scholarship. To be eligible, the successful candidate will need to be resident in East Wales on University registration, and must have the right to work in the region on qualification.