Student Representatives

The SWDTC has 7 student representatives that attend Academic Advisory Board (AAB) meetings. The reps were recruited after an open call for volunteers. The reps have a shared e-mail address for receiving details of any issues that students would like raised at the AAB. Please e-mail them on

Student reps are an important of the SWDTC to inform the way we work and to lead onto various cohort building activities. If you are interested in joining, please e-mail Sonja Ho.

Siobhan Mitchell

Student Representative

PhD Researcher in Health and Wellbeing (ESRC +3)
Department of Health, University of Bath

Start date: September 2014

Research topic: Implications of maturation timing on the psychological wellbeing of elite dancers

Current research suggests that maturation timing (whether an individual biologically matures in advance of their peers, later than their peers or at an average time) may be an important factor in how individuals cope with different learning experiences and social contexts and can therefore play a role in subsequent psychological wellbeing. My PhD research aims to explore this within the context of elite dance training and to investigate how we might use this knowledge within dance teaching contexts to promote and to optimise psychological wellbeing in adolescent dancers.

Research supervisors: Dr Sean Cumming, Dr Anne Haase

Professional memberships / Positions held: International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Member, One Dance UK Member, SWDTC Student Representative, Organising Committee Member SWDTC Student Conference 2015, Council Member of the South West Research Cooperative, International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Student Committee Member


LinkedIn: Siobhan Mitchell

Twitter: @Siobhan_Dance

Hope Christie

Student Representative

PhD Researcher in Psychology (ESRC +3)
Department of Psychology, University of Bath

Start date: September 2015

Research topic: Parental Distress and PTSD – Impact and outcomes on the child

I only started my PhD in September, so I am still finding my feet with my research! Broadly speaking my research is concerned with parental distress and parental posttraumatic stress disorder, how this impacts on parenting behaviours and subsequently how this may impact on the child. 

Research supervisors: Dr Sarah Halligan, Dr Catherine Hamilton-Giachritsis

Positions held: I am a SWDTC Student Rep and I am also part of The Open Review journal (TOR)


Twitter: @HChristie_psych

Research Gate:

Ben Hudson

Student Representative

PhD Researcher in International Law & Human Rights (ESRC 1+3)
School of Law, University of Bristol

Research topic: 'Realising a Legal Right to Return: The Human Rights Protection of Internally Displaced Persons in International Law'

My research concerns the human rights protection of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Inspired by my time in Georgia working with non-governmental organisations and United Nations' agencies in 2010-2011, my research engages with the realisation of durable solutions to internal displacement, specifically a legal right to return in international law.

Research supervisors: Professor Sir Malcolm Evans and Dr Diego Acosta Arcarazo

Professional memberships / Positions held: I also hold the following positions: Teacher, LLB Law & State and IFP Law; Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy; Student Director, University of Bristol Human Rights Implementation Centre Law Clinic; Chair, Bristol SU Postgraduate Network Committee and Student Representative for the SWDTC.
LinkedIn: Ben Hudson
Twitter: @ben_hudson7

Edward Burtonshaw-Gunn

Student Representative

Socio-Legal Pathway (ESRC 1+3)
School of Law, University of Bristol

Research topic: A multi-case study of housing models in Bristol, UK: Commercial Housing, Housing Associations, and Community Land Trusts.

It is widely regarded that the UK is facing a housing crisis. The projected number of required new homes has failed to be met since the early 1980s. My research proposes to explore the underpinning social, legal and financial aspects of three forms of housing builders in Bristol, UK; commercial developers, housing associations, and community land trusts.

Research supervisors: Professor Antonia Layard, Dr Janine Sargoni

Professional memberships/Positions held: Socio-Legal Studies Associations (SLSA) Postgraduate Member, SWDTC Student Representative, Law School PGR Student Representative


Twitter: @BurtonshawGunn

Katherine Evans

Student Representative

PhD Researcher in Education (ESRC+3)
School of Education, University of Exeter

My research is focussed on contesting and reconceptualising dominant discourses of ‘readiness’ in the context of early childhood education.  In particular, my work is engaged with a post-structurally informed critique of current ideas and practices concerning notions of ‘readiness-for-school’ and ‘readiness-for-learning’ that have dominated developments in policy and pedagogy in England in recent years.  I am also interested in the development of creative research methodologies that explore the potential of deconstructing the theory/practice binary that can often dominate within conventional approaches to educational research.


Twitter: @kat_evans201

Amy Ridgway

Amy Ridgway

Student Representative

PhD Researcher in Economic and Social History (ESRC +3)
College of Humanities, University of Exeter

Start date: September 2014

Research topic: 'Wage labour and poverty on a Dorset estate, c.1680-1834'

For my PhD, I am undertaking a comprehensive analysis of wage labour and poverty in Dorset from c.1680 to 1834. My research, which will be a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods, will help bridge the gap in literature by directly linking these two topics. It will consider how individuals and households managed to survive at the subsistence level and what happened if they did not manage to ‘get by’. The research will focus on the Kingston Lacy estate, in east Dorset.

Research supervisors: Professor Jane Whittle, Professor Henry French

Professional memberships/Positions held: Assistant Editor of Ex Historia, Member of the Economic History Society, SWDTC Student Representative, SWDTC Conference Chair 2015


Twitter: @amy_ridgway1

Joanna Thomas

Student Representative

PhD Researcher in Economic & Social History (ESRC +3)
Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, University of Exeter

My research is focussed on 19th-century British seafarers and maritime communities. Using quantitative and qualitative methods I am investigating the maritime labour force from 1850 – 1911, and am looking at the impact of the introduction of the steamship and the change from sail to steam on the social and economic structures of the maritime labourers. I am examining social backgrounds, motivations for going to sea, opportunities for social mobility in maritime communities, crew financially investing in shipping, and women at sea and their roles in maritime communities and businesses.