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Scholarly biography

Bethan Prosser is a Post-doctoral Researcher, awarded a fellowship by the ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership. Her fellowship extends the impact of the innovative methodology she developed through her PhD: participatory listening research. Participatory listening research is a way of listening with others to the environment to generate new knowledge and discoveries, whilst embracing different listening experiences, practices and positionalities. 

The fellowship project will co-design creative and digital outputs to disseminate the doctoral project's findings on listening to urban seaside gentrification on the UK South Coast. Through knowledge exchange events, publications and presentations, this approach will be explored as a public engagement tool for hyperlocal socio-environmental and social infrastructure changes.

Bethan has academic teaching experience at the undergraduate and postgraduate level across the social sciences. She previously taught on the Community Engagement: Theory into Practice module in the School of Humanities & Social Sciences from 2018-2022. She has been teaching on the Advanced Research Methods to postgraduate students since 2020. She has been an active member of the Centre for Spatial, Cultural and Environmental Politics and Cities and Injustices Research and Enterprise Group.

Bethan’s academic background starts with undergraduate Philosophy and Politics, moving through Migration Studies and Social Research Methods at postgraduate level. Bethan has worked extensively in developing community-university partnerships and brokering knowledge exchange activities that benefit both the university and the local community. She brings over ten years’ experience of working in the community/voluntary and public sectors both nationally and internationally. This includes roles in support work and management supporting young people, Black and mixed parentage children and families, people experiencing homelessness and refugees and asylum seekers.

Research interests

I am interested in developing participatory creative and sensory methodologies for investigating issues of social, spatial and mobile justice. My doctoral research focused on using listening methods to investigate gentrification and displacement, but I have previously undertaken research into homelessness and the community/voluntary sector. Within gentrification, I am interested in the full spectrum of im/mobilities encompassed by gentrification-induced-displacement, bringing a mobilities lens to understand the processes of un-homing and loss of a sense of place. 

I am predominantly interested in listening and sound methods. I have developed a an innovative toolbox under the umbrella term of participatory listening research. I draw on sound studies for social inquiry underpinned by a participatory ethos. My doctoral project explored how listening practices can elicit people’s changing relationships to place. I am working with a local community music organisation to learn and share how listening activities and sound walks can be used as a tool for both research, community engagement and wellbeing purposes. This also furthers my interest in understanding how universities can work with local communities for mutual benefit. 

Approach to teaching

I bring my experiences of working in the community/voluntary sector to my teaching. In particular, my experience of facilitating group work with young people experiencing homelessness and other challenging situations has developed my ability to create a supportive and engaging learning environment. My approach to seminars and lectures is driven by an ethos of participatory pedagogy, whereby students can develop their own meaningful relationship with the topics and a variety of learning tools are used. I am also committed to diversifying and decolonising the curriculum.

Knowledge exchange

I am committed to sharing and learning with those outside of academia. I have in-depth experience of knowledge exchange activities through my previous professional role in the university’s Community University Partnership Programme, supporting partnerships to develop between the local community and researchers and students.

Through my doctoral role, I instigated and take part in a range of knowledge exchange activities. This included organising a series of creative public walks around the city that brought together local residents, academics and students to explore themes of urban injustice. I have developed a partnership with local community music organisation, Brighton & Hove Music for Connection, and the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage programme based at The Keep. Following on from the collaborative project, Sounds to Keep, we have adapted listening and community music activities to carry out innovative online workshops that engage with the local sound collections for wellbeing purposes.  

This partnership continues with my post-doctoral project whereby I am co-creating interactive listening walks and digital media walks with Brighton & Hove Music for Connection (BHMC). We will be recruiting two resident advisory groups and consulting with a range of community groups across Brighto, Worthing and St Leonard-on-Sea. 

Through BHMC, I am also part of The Ecomusicology Project  - a collective of music and sound art organisations creating a new space at Stanmer Park to explore the connection between ecology, sound and listening. I run listening and sound workshops on this plot, informed by my participatory listening research approach. 

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Listening to urban seaside gentrification: living with displacement injustices on the UK south coast, University of Brighton

1 Oct 201811 Nov 2022

Award Date: 11 Nov 2022

Master, MSc in Social Research Methods, University of Southampton

1 Oct 201730 Sept 2018

Award Date: 26 Jul 2019

Master, MA Migrations Studies, University of Sussex

1 Oct 200630 Sept 2008

Award Date: 30 Jan 2009

Bachelor, BSc (Hons) Philosophy & Politics, University of Bristol

1 Oct 200127 Jun 2005

Award Date: 27 Jun 2005

Keywords

  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • justice
  • space
  • community
  • participatory
  • methods
  • listening
  • Sound Studies
  • G Geography (General)
  • urban
  • seaside
  • gentrification
  • displacement

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