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EUTOPIA award for “Learning Space” PhD project

Image credit: EUTOPIA European University

    A EUTOPIA PhD Co-tutelle Programme 2021 award with a value of £150,000 has been made to support a joint PhD research project between the Global Sustainable Development (GSD) Department at Warwick and the Department of Geography at CY Cergy Paris University (CYU).
    The PhD project has been developed by Lao scholar and PhD candidate Thipphaphone (Kee) Xayavong under the mentorship of Dr Marco J Haenssgen (GSD) and Professor Elizabeth Auclair (CYU). Under the guiding question “How does formal education affect health beliefs and behaviours in rural Lao PDR?”, Kee will utilise heritage-sensitive participatory, qualitative, and quantitative methods to investigate the cognitive, social, and political pathways linking education and health. The project thereby responds to the livelihood challenges of local minority groups in rural Lao PDR and engages critically with mainstream assumptions (automatic links between formal education and Western ideals of health behaviour) and approaches (human capital) in global development agendas.
    The EUTOPIA award follows the successful pump-priming activities of the "Learning Space" project, in which Kee has developed strong local links to the study communities and partner organisations including the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), the University of Health Sciences, and community-based and non-governmental organisations such as Namjai Community Association, Gender Development Association, and the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre (TAEC) in Luang Prabang. The cross-institutional project supervision by Dr Haenssgen and Professor Auclair further helps create synergistic linkages between the applied development research focus of GSD and action-oriented culture and heritage research at CYU.