The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Florence Darling

Postgraduate Research Student


Project Title
The Social and Cultural Value of Participatory Arts for Young People

Professor Janice McLaughlin and Professor Elaine Campbell

PhD Research
I am a PhD researcher from the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University. I embarked on an ESRC-funded collaborative PhD with Culture Bridge North East in 2016 titled The Social and Cultural Value of Participatory Arts for Young People.
My research examines how young people feel about taking part in arts-based projects and how valuable these opportunities are for them to express themselves, comprehend and reflect on their experiences and identities and communicate to others. The study also explores the various different factors and contexts that shape how a young person participates in artistic activities.
My fieldwork was based in three North East secondary schools with young people aged 11-14 years old taking part in projects encompassing visual art, creative writing and music. The methods used were designed to enable the gathering of different types of textual, visual, ethnographic and representational data: semi-structured interviews, field conversations, group discussions, participant observations, and the artworks produced by the young people themselves through the creative process.
Culture Bridge ( work across the North East region to create sustainable partnerships between the arts and education sectors. The research findings will form an ongoing dialogue with Culture Bridge and its networks to reflect on the implications for designing participatory creative projects with young people.


2016 MA Sociology and Social Research (Distinction), Newcastle University
2008 BA Politics (2:1), Newcastle University
2006 Higher Education Qualification in Social Anthropology, British History and Politics, Edinburgh University

2016 - Teaching Assistant SOC1032 Politics and Society, Newcastle University 
2017 - Teaching Assistant SOC1027 Comparing Cultures, Newcastle University
2018 - Teaching Assistant SOC2071 Sociology of Childhood, Newcastle University