19 Mar, 2020

Research Placement: Sustainable business models for craft and design- Developing a research agenda for the Harewood House biennial

£1,473 monthly
  • Faculty of Environment (University of Leeds)
  • Remote
Part time & Casual   Research Vacation and Summer Jobs Work from home

Job Description/Duties

*This Placement can take place on a 100% remote working basis if necessary*

The placement will take place 29 June – 24 July 2020 (4 weeks)

Salary: University Grade 3 (pro-rata £17,682)

For More information contact Alice Owen (a.m.owen@leeds.ac.uk)

Deadline for Applications: Monday April 20th

"To apply, send in a CV along with 300 word statement of suitability to Dave Riley (d.d.riley@leeds.ac.uk). The statement should detail why you want to carry out the placement, and how your skills and experience make you a suitable candidate". 

Brief overview of project

This placement sits within a wider research agenda exploring the role of craft and design businesses in a future sustainable economy.  What are the motivations, rewards and obstacles to craft business success?  This research is part of a research fellowship attached to the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity, more information here.  There is also the exciting opportunity to discuss sustainability issues with members of the Harewood House charitable trust.

This focus has two distinct features: most craft businesses are micro-businesses employing less than 10 people, and the process of making provides intrinsic rewards to the maker, is deliberately labour intensive and offers the potential of innovating in the use of sustainable materials. 

There are two empirical, qualitative datasets available which need to be analysed in order to develop key themes and ideas for future research, as well as providing insights directly. 

·  Dataset 1 comprises four transcripts of hour long interviews with craft entrepreneurs, all yarn dyers. 

·  Dataset 2 is a set of 26 artists’ statements collected by the curator of the inaugural craft and design biennial at Harewood House, which took place in 2019, called “Useful:Beautiful

These datasets require formal definition (creating metadata), transfer into a form in which they can be analysed, and initial thematic analysis.  In terms of relevant areas of theory, the analysis will draw on institutional literature and ideas of institutional “logics” but also behavioural psychology and the framework of capacities-opportunities-motivations needed to achieve change.

There are two audiences for the outputs from this research: scholars working at the interface of business and sustainability research, and the Harewood Trust who are seeking to establish a long term research agenda on craft and business as part of their biennial programme. 

Nature of tasks to be pursued by the Placement holder

1.       Induction and briefing with supervisor (Alice Owen)

2.       Inception meeting with members of Harewood House team (with supervisor)

3.       Familiarisation with datasets

4.       Creation of metadata and structure for data storage, compliant with data management practices

5.       Familiarisation with relevant literature on (a) institutional logics and (b) sustainable behaviour/motivations

6.       Thematic analysis of Dataset 1, using existing preliminary coding in text document

7.       Preparation of summary report on “logics” represented in dataset 1

8.       Uploading dataset 2 to Nvivo

9.       Thematic analysis of Dataset 2

10.   Preparation of summary report on themes in Dataset 2

11.   Presentation of results from dataset 2 to Harewood House team (alongside supervisor)

12.   Presentation of placement activity to SRI’s Business & Organisations for a Sustainable Society (BOSS) research group’s July meeting


Developmental benefits for Placement holder

The Placement holder will benefit from developing a number of important research and professional skills in carrying out this project:

·         rapid assimilation of information as they start by becoming immersed in a new area of knowledge

·         professional communication skills in  working with data holders and research users

·         time management skills in preparing, analysing and reporting within a 4 week schedule,

·         knowledge of research processes involving qualitative data

·         presentation skills

In addition, the candidate will gain experience of academic research in working alongside the BOSS research group in SRI.

These translate into several skills areas listed on LeedsforLife including in the areas of

·         Communication skills

·         Creative problem solving

·         Initiative

·         Planning and organisation

·         Research skills

·         Independent working

In principle, there is no reason why the Placement holder should not develop their individual dissertation from these datasets or from allied work.

Nature of contact with/support for Placement holder from staff member 

The Placement holder will be supervised and supported by Alice Owen, with regular meetings (at least twice per week) throughout the project, and the potential to use the ‘spare’ desk in Alice’s office for research activities.

The supervisor will provide guidance on project management and assist with tasks the candidate will carry out, including arranging the inception meeting with Harewood House and the two final presentations to Harewood House and the BOSS research group.

The supervisor will also provide access to the datasets, explain the parameters of the ethical approval for the project and ensure the Placement holder understands and works to data management standards.  If appropriate, the supervisor will also provide a basic introduction to Nvivo and support the Placement holder in accessing further training.


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