Community dance in the UK: recovery and ‘re-socialisation’ for participation and engagement in dance in a post-pandemic era

Community dance in the UK: recovery and ‘re-socialisation’ for participation and engagement in dance in a post-pandemic era

Eligibility: UK/EU graduates with the required entry requirements

Funding details: Bursary plus tuition fees (UK/EU)

Duration: Full-Time – between three and three and a half years fixed term

Application deadline: 16 October 2020

Interview dates: Will be confirmed to shortlisted candidates

Start date: January 2021

To find out more about the project, please contact Professor Sarah Whatley.

The Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE) is a world leading research Centre that conducts research into a wide range of dance activities, many in collaboration with professional dance artists and organisations and much of it in partnership with other disciplines including, for example, cognitive psychologists, anthropologists, law experts, cultural heritage experts and programmers.

The Centre’s strength lies in promoting the importance of understanding the world and our place in it as embodied whether this is in the analysis of dance, the transformation of dance and performance through digital technologies, dance’s culture and history, dance pedagogies and research-informed teaching, practice-as-research, tangible and intangible cultural heritage, or inclusive dance practices and pedagogies.

Coventry University has a highly supportive provision through the Doctoral College, with skills training and research sharing opportunities such as research methods, presentation skills, and academic writing.

Project details

This project will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on the Community Dance (CD) sector in the UK, and specifically examine how CD practitioners have adapted their practice and developed new ways to deliver sessions and maintain connections with their participants during lockdown.

CD is primarily participatory and is largely dependent on social interaction, often involving physical contact, through partner and group dancing. The impact of COVID-19 and social distancing has led to CD leaders and practitioners having to adapt their practice to find remote ways to maintain contact.

This project will investigate this impact through three interrelated enquiries:

  • case studies to explore how CD practitioners have adapted and transformed their practice;
  • a related broader survey of the CD sector in the period of social distancing to contextualise the case studies;
  • the devising of a roadmap of strategies, methods and procedures to support the recovery of CD that envisages new modes of connection during social distancing and into a post-pandemic era.

RQs include:

  • What should we learn and remember from this period?
  • What new working methods will be needed to recover/resume the core values of CD?
  • What will CD mean in a post-pandemic era?


Fully funded PhD studentship, which includes bursary plus tuition fees.


Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


  • The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years.
  • A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component).


Candidates should have a good working knowledge of community dance in the UK.

How to apply

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus an up to 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Apply to Coventry University