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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

- Staff inequality in higher education
- Academic development, or staff educational development
- Creative arts education in higher education


Research activity per year

Personal profile


I was pleased to have joined the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work in April 2017. Critical Higher Education Studies is a multidisciplinary field which draws from and across many rich terrains, and so is well placed to harness the research, teaching and community engagement strengths of this School in particular, in addition to research clusters across Queen's University Belfast as we connect and collaborate across the world. Bringing these strengths to bear for transformative change in the majority world, in research and practice-based collaborations across institutional and national borders, is the primary impetus behind my 'work'. As such, I am committed to advancing Critical University Studies across Africa, from which I come. 

Before coming to Northern Ireland, I was a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Research, Teaching and Learning (CHERTL) at Rhodes University, South Africa. I continue to be committed to the agenda of the transformation of higher education in my country of South Africa; and so am a research associate for the Chair of the Critical Studies of Higher Education Transformation (CriSHET) at Nelson Mandela University.

One of my ongoing projects explore Counter//Narratives of Higher Education, through short films about first generation academics in Angola, Syria, South Africa and India. I am also engaged in a number of collaborations with academics from Syria, through the Council of At Risk Academics. Within Northern Ireland, I work with the thinktank Migrant and Ethnic Minority Council, and I am the Queen's University Belfast representative on the SAR-Ireland Committee (Scholars at Risk). 

I read for my PhD at Kingston University (London), under the supervision of Prof Emeritus Bernadette Blair and Ann Hulland. This was a transdisciplinary project drawing from literary theory and curriculum studies, to map interpretative approaches adopted at university deparrments of the creative arts within South Africa and England, to explore their significance for the conditions of creativity and agency for artist-students and their artist-assessors. You will note a number of the findings have been published and are accessible in the publications below.

My background is in fine art, having taught fine art studio practice as a practicing artist. This interest in  creative arts education has continued in much of my research, from arts-based research approaches through to research into curriculum and assessment in creative arts education. I welcome collaboration in visual higher education studies.

As indicated in my research activity on this site, much of my current research grapples with the the politics of belonging, academic and artists' development; questions of authorship and interpretation; issues of agency; and the conditions for creativity and critical consciousness. Of necessity, this has involved engaging with the complications of systems of oppressions related to race, gender, marginalisation, misrecognition of peoples and delegitimisation of knowledges, which has led to studies on the agency of those within institutions of authority (particularly universities)  and the machinations of power at a meso-and geopoltical level, including systems of in/validation through the powerful levers of assessment and evaluation (including funding).


Research Interests

Underpinning my intellectual and practitioner 'work' is a concern with the impact of interpretative frameworks - the ways in which their dynamics of power constrain or enable agency for social justice, and the significance of this for the academic project and artistic historic responsbility.

Against this tide, I am interested in how various levers and modes may act to develop and enable the conditions for critical consciousness and solidarity within these two potentially powerful groups of actors (academics and artists) who bear responsibility for representation in societies.

My particular concern is with contexts that are grappling with the legacies of post-conflict, widely defined, including post-colonial contexts. As such, I am currently working with those undertaking projects, networks and practitioner work in South Africa and SADC, India, East Africa, with academic refugeees in Turkey, and a number of other projects.

One of the continuing projects is:

PROJECT TITLE: A Higher Education Studies Arts Archive

ROLE: Curator

This is an online archive which places links to international ‘texts’ (art, music, literature, happenings etc) alongside each other, across various contexts, perspectives and times, which touch on the messiness of lived experience in higher education. I started it in South Africa, when I found that formal Higher Education courses provided the space for academics and students to engage dispassionately, but that more was needed to create possibilities for opening to diverse experiences, understandings and contexts. I felt, informed by my fine arts background, that more figurative texts might better enable the liminal and affective engagement necessary for substantive ‘challenge’ of the norms which are taken for granted in education. As the link is publically accessible, it provides an informal place of international dialogue across borders.   

See here for a recent project where counter-narratives were generated through creative arts research practice, in collaboration with Analogue Eye: VIdeo Art Africa.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


  • LG Individual institutions (Asia. Africa)
  • LB2300 Higher Education
  • LB2361 Curriculum
  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR


Dive into the research topics where Dina Belluigi is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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