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Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

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


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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 teaching and research strengths of this School in particular, in addition to research clusters across Queen's University. Bringing these strengths and research interests to bear, in research and practice-based collaborations across institutional and national borders, is the primary impetus behind my 'work'.

Before this, 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 at Nelson Mandela University.

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.

As indicated below, muc of my current research grapples with the the politics of belonging, aademic and artists' development; the question of authorship; 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, delegimitations of peoples and knowledges, which has led to studies on the agency of those within institutions of authority (such as universities)  and the machinations of power at a meso-and geopoltical level, including systems of in/validation through assessment and evaluation.

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.   


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Research Output

Open Access
  • Critical Connections: Sociologies of Transformation and University Studies

    Keet, A., Khoo, S-M. & Belluigi, D. Z., 2019.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther

    Mixed metaphors, mixed messages and mixed blessings: how figurative imagery opens up the complexities of transforming higher education

    Belluigi, D. Z., Alcock, A., Farrell, V. & Idahosa, G., 30 Sep 2019, In : Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in the South. 3, 2, p. 110-120 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Visual Narratives as Reflective Processes for Learning Engagement

    Belluigi, D. Z., 2019, Encyclopedia of Educational Innovation. Peters, M. A. & Heraud, R. (eds.). Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd., 5 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary

    Open Access
  • Open Access
  • 118 Downloads (Pure)


    Jadavpur University

    Dina Belluigi (Visiting lecturer)
    17 Jan 202017 Feb 2020

    Activity: Visiting an external institution typesResearch and Teaching at External Organisation

    UK-East Africa Knowledge Frontiers Symposium on the theme of 'Truth, Justice and Peace'

    Dina Belluigi (Participant)
    27 Mar 202029 Mar 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    The challenges of social justice in and of higher education.

    Dina Belluigi (Keynote speaker)
    27 Jan 2020

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic lecture/debate/seminar