In With A Bang_DSC_4493_(c) Patrick Mateer


Spaces of Outdoor Education, Health and Well Being in a City of Culture

Sorry, we're no longer accepting applications for this project, but take a look at our Postgraduate Research programmes for more PhD opportunities.

About this project

The benefits of learning in outdoor environments are well established. It helps children learn more effectively and aids their health and wellbeing.  Yet only since 2012 has ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ been expected by Ofsted.  Consequently, schools are adapting their policies and practices to provide outdoors learning, but this emerging field lacks academic analysis.  This project explores the changing spaces and learning relationships generated by the Learning Outside the Classroom agenda. In addition, this PhD project explores how outdoors learning is negotiated in Hull: a city with poor education and health indicators, but one with a UK City of Culture 2017 pledge to generate a legacy of improved health, wellbeing and social aspirations for its children.  Sustained ethnographic, participatory and interview-based research will assess how the outdoors agenda and City of Culture aspirations are understood and received across five Hull primary schools from different social catchments, and throughout the initial legacy period for City of Culture (2018-20).  The research will inform future agendas for Outdoors Education and for healthy living in future City of Culture initiatives.  

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible after the deadline and by 8th May 2017 at the latest.


The team of supervisors are interdisciplinary in their range: Professor David Atkinson (Cultural Geography, School of Environmental Sciences), Dr Lewis Holloway (Rural and Social Geography, School of Environmental Sciences) and Dr Josef Ploner (Education, School of Education and Social Science).

Next steps


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,553 in 2017/18) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements



Find out more about our research in Geography and Education.

For further information, email: Professor David Atkinson

How to apply

Application deadline: 13 March 2017

Research options:

PhD: 4 years (full-time)

The Postgraduate Training Scheme

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.