Bethan Mitchell


Supervisor: Professor Tara Fenwick


After working for ten years in civil engineering laboratories as a technician, research assistant and laboratory manager, I went back to university as a full time student and achieved a BSc in Biological Sciences with Geography, Environment and Society.  I then became a Concrete Technology and management trainer for accredited courses, as well as managing the Management Trainee Scheme at RMC Readymix Concrete.  After that I took a year out to travel around the world, climbing to the top of Kilimanjaro and visiting India, East Africa, South East Asia, New Zealand and South America.

Returning from my travels, I became a management and laboratory trainer/assessor in the Department of Commercial Development and Training at Telford College, gaining my A1/V1 assessor and verifier awards as well as my Executive Diploma in Management and Certificate in Education (Post-Compulsory).  I then moved to Edinburgh and took up the post of Learning and Development Officer at NHS Health Scotland, where I achieved an MA in Management Learning and Leadership.  I also gained experience of organising and presenting at national conferences, leading projects in health improvement, designing on-line courses and influencing policy.  I am now a full time PhD student at Stirling University in the School of Social Sciences.  I was awarded ESRC funding, which also included completing a Master’s in Research Methods.

Thesis Information

Title: Examining the practices around Improvement Science and how this reconfigures learning for medical students

Thesis information: The main focus of my research is to critically examine professionals’ learning through practices that are enacted during an Improvement Science (IS) project.  The focus will be on medical students as they undertake an IS project.  My research aims to trace the fine grained activities, materials, spaces, behaviours and relationships that emerge during a project with the purpose of gaining a better understanding of what learning means in relation to IS.  This research is informed by Actor-Network Theory (ANT), more specifically borrowing from Latour’s work in this field.  This is a socio-material approach to education research that enables the researcher to attune to the detail of a situation, in terms of materialities and effects.  As a methodology, an ANT sensibility will be applied to trace what medical students do, what they experience and how they relate to objects, technologies, settings and bodies, as well as other people.  This research uses the term 'network' in the Latourian sense, which is defined here as an assemblage of human and non-human entities that are held together through continual work to produce identities, environment and knowledge.

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