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  6. Exploring the experiences of students of minoritised ethnicities through a longitudinal community of enquiry

Exploring the experiences of students of minoritised ethnicities through a longitudinal community of enquiry

Prof Samantha Broadhead and Dr Laura da Costa, Leeds Art University 

Authors (not presenting): Sherina Purnomao and Kingston Amaechi, Leeds Art University


Session recording












Click to download the presentation Exploring the experiences of students of minoritised ethnicities through a longitudinal community of enquiry (.pptx)


This presentation reports on the findings from the first year of a three-year research project with successive cohorts of minoritised ethnicities in order to explore their experiences at a creative arts institution in the north of England. The method comprises a longitudinal community of inquiry (CoI) methodology and findings from the research will be used iteratively to identify and hone appropriate support measures. Whereas previous research (Bale et al. 2020) created a CoI as a single event that considered student experience at one point in time, this project seeks to consult the same community over the three years of their undergraduate degree.

Two paid research facilitators were recruited from postgraduate students of minoritised ethnicities and trained in facilitation of CoI. An external service was used to transcribe the recorded discussion, before revision by the research facilitators. The facilitators received further staff support in analysing the transcripts, to discuss emerging findings and themes. The analysis was written up into a final report including recommendations for appropriate support measures.

Initial findings corroborate some issues reflected in the original iteration of the project, indicating that these were still encountered in current student experience, but also new insights. Findings concerned students’ expectations pre-enrolment, the sociocultural context of choosing to pursue the creative arts, the dynamics between different groups of students, interactions with tutors and forms of pedagogy associated with creative arts education, and finding belonging.


Sam Broadhead

Prof Sam Broadhead

Head of Research, Leeds Arts University

Professor Samantha Broadhead is Head of Research at Leeds Arts University. Her research interests include access and widening participation in art and design education and the educational sociology of Basil Bernstein (1924–2000). She serves on the Journal of Widening Participation and Lifelong Learning’s editorial board. Broadhead has co-authored with Professor Maggie Gregson (2018) Practical Wisdom and Democratic Education - Phronesis, Art and Non-traditional Students, Palgrave Macmillan. She also has co-authored with Rosemarie Davies and Anthony Hudson (2019) Perspectives on Access: Practice and Research, Emerald Publishing. She has also produced an edited book, Access and Widening Participation in Arts Higher Education, Palgrave Macmillan (2022). Broadhead has been involved with projects funded by the Learning and Skills Improvement Service and the Education and Training Foundation that aimed to improve Access students' experiences of transition from further education to higher education by the use of joint practice development. Other research includes  the QAA Collaborative Enhancement Projects 2021 “Belonging Through Assessment: Pipelines of Compassion”. Currently Broadhead is working on Learning Returns , a practice-based project that uses YouTube to capture the experiences of mature students studying art and design. 


Laura da Costa

Dr Laura da Costa 

Access and Participation Development Manager, Leeds Arts University

Dr Laura da Costa is Access and Participation Development Manager at Leeds Arts University, where she works to support equity and inclusion across the student lifecycle and beyond. Her research and professional background have focused on inequality, compassionate assessment, evaluation and motivation. Before coming to LAU, Laura studied BA (Hons) Education and English, MA Research Methods in Education, and a doctorate in the psychology of education at Durham University, and worked in evaluation at the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring. Laura then worked as Senior Researcher for the Bridge Group, conducting quantitative analysis to promote socioeconomic equality in schooling, higher education and the labour market including for The Sutton Trust, KPMG, and Linklaters.