View graph of relations


      I am pleased to have joined the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work to coordinate an international programme in Higher Education. 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, where I coordinated both the honours and masters programmes. The various modules I taught included those to do with the contexts of higher education and the role of the university; the philosophies and paradigms which underpin and construct notions of teaching and learning, the assessment of student learning, and the evaluation of teaching and courses. I have supervised at Masters and Phd level in the multidisciplinary area of Higher Education Studies.

      I read for my PhD at Kingston University (London), under the supervision of Prof Emeritus Bernadette Blair and Ann Hulland.

      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, my current research grapples with the the politics of belonging and staff development within institutional cultures; practice-based knoweldge(s) in the relationship between practice-based learning, teaching and research; the question of authorship; issues of agency; and the conditions for creativity.

      Underpinning these foci is a concern with interpretative frameworks in higher education, the ways in which their dynamics of power constrain or enable agency, and the significance for this for the academic project.

      Research Interests

      Higher Education Studies is a broad, interdisciplinary area which builds on the strengths of a range of disciplines. This is indicated in the range of my own current research interest. While these may seem diverse (from the impact of the evaluation of academic staff on trasformation in higher education, to assessment and authorship in the creative arts), they are underpinned by an attempt to disentangle and become conscietised to the ways in which interpretative framework position, constrain and enable agency and possibility. Often in the name of safeguarding or measuring quality, such frameworks do violence to what they affect, from knowlegde creation; criticality and challenge; to representation and creativity.


      Below I outline some of the projects in which I am involved.

      PROJECT TITLE: Considering the reception of equity-agenda development programmes by its recipients in a rapidly transforming higher education context

      ROLE: Lead researcher Dr Dina Belluigi, with Dr Gladman Thondhlana (Rhodes University, South Africa)

      SUMMARY OF FOCUS: Video overview (10 mins)

      In the past two decades South African higher education has been characterised by concerns with numerical access (enabling the representation of different demographics) and epistemological access (ie. access to disciplinary ways of knowing to enable ‘success’ in terms of learning achievements). This project aims to contribute to studies on the complexities of relational or interactional ‘diversity’ which go beyond the parameters of ‘inclusion’, towards acknowledging the politics of belonging and risks inherent to substantive equity and sustainable transformation efforts in such a context, with its legacy of conflict and inequality. Participation was invited from academic fellows of accelerated development programmes, which were initiated for the purposes of equity and transformational of the faculty body at an historically white institution.


      Pathways to Impact:


      Belluigi, D. Z & Thondhlana, G. 2017. 'Recipients' reception of equity-agenda programmes in a rapidly

      transforming higher education context’.  Conference paper presented at International Higher Education Teaching & Learning Association (HETL), Paisley, United Kingdom, 27/06/2017 - 30/06/2017.  Video overview (10 min)

      Journal article outputs currently being peer-reviewed from this project:

      • ‘Why mouth all the pieties?’: Lived experiences of the recipients of faculty equity-agenda programmes for the transformation of South African higher education

      • Transformation or ‘training the dog’? Faculty insights into approaches to access and equity within an historically white institution in South Africa

      • Beyond numbers: The paradox of belonging as black and women academics at ’transforming’ South African university

      PROJECT TITLE: Exploring the relationships between practice-based learning, teaching and research in various disciplinary and higher education contexts

      ROLE: Lead researcher

      SUMMARY OF FOCUS: Emerging from my previous research, in a practice-based discipline, has been a realisation that the relationship between practice-based learning, teaching and research is often unexplored, particularly from the perspective of those teaching. This project explores where and how they intersect, to better inform these interactions,  within and beyond each of the disciplines I consider, particularly as inquiry based research (in all its variations) is increasingly being recognised as of value for epistemological access. Data has been generated from three practice-based areas within disciplines which in particular have a studio learning/ pedagogy focus (such as fine art, music), in addition to those which use the laboratory or observational contexts (including field work, laboratories, therapy observations etc). To dates, participants have been drawn from chemistry; botany; clinical psychology; physics; fine art; and law. Whilst these teaching contexts vary dramatically, all are designed to give students access to practice-based research and to various extents form their identities, in those fields. They have in common that their traditions were originally based on master-apprentice dynamics, albeit that these may have been challenged and shifted over time.

      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.   


      View all

      Frequent Journals

      • Assessment in Higher Education

        ISSNs: 0260-2938

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1469-297X

        Taylor and Francis Ltd.

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 1.74 SJR 1.216 SNIP 1.565


      • Perspectives in Education

        ISSNs: 0258-2236

        University of Pretoria

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.33 SJR 0.255 SNIP 0.479


      • Journal of Aesthetic Education

        ISSNs: 0021-8510

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1543-7809

        University of Illinois Press

        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.08 SJR 0.119 SNIP 0.278


      • Studies in Higher Education

        ISSNs: 0307-5079

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1470-174X


        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 2.11 SJR 1.334 SNIP 1.814


      • The International Journal of Art & Design Education

        ISSNs: 1476-8062

        Additional searchable ISSN (Electronic): 1476-8070


        Scopus rating (2016): CiteScore 0.47 SJR 0.247 SNIP 0.955


      View all »

      Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

      ID: 127839916