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Sociology: People


Maggie Laidlaw

Maggie Laidlaw
Maggie Laidlaw
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Feminism, Participation, creative research methods, poetry, Innovative Research Methods, work and labour, Bodies, participatory research, co-production, volunteering, Women's livelihoods, Community Belonging, Community Development, co-production and collaboration, time and temporality, Social Inequalities in Leisure and Time-Use, Family relationship

As part of the Imagine programme, this PhD  explores the temporal experiences of female volunteers in three community organisations. The Imagine programme (of which this PHD is part of) aims to explore the ways in which new forms of knowledge are emerging about communities and how they change, with opportunities opening up for voices to be heard that have previously been marginalised. There is  a particular interest in what community members think about how the future of their communities have been imagined, and how new ways of ‘doing’ research are making it possible for these views to be expressed (Imagine, 2015).

This near completed PhD is part of the Imagine programme which explores ways in which previously marginalised voices contribute new forms of knowledge about how communities change. Building on her active involved in community arts projects, Maggie explores the temporal experiences of female volunteers in three community organisations

On one hand the thesis presents a process that allows for agency through negotiation within the constraints of everyday demands. On the other hand, it argues that we as individuals cannot freely choose how to use our time. That it is always a question of negotiation with others – families, partners, children, employers, organisers, time zones, bureaucratic fields and so on. The data reveal how an individuals’ specific position in society influences how their time may be used and what powers they have within these negotiations. This suggests that time exists on various levels (of power and legitimacy), and this is being reflected in the diversity of ways in which women in this study engage with causes that may benefit themselves and/or their families and the wider community, but also in the ways that they are, at times, restricted in their engagement with these same causes.

Overall the thesis locates the analysis of this material in the broader debates about the ways in which time figures in people’s community involvement, and how time is ‘found’, ‘made’ and ‘negotiated’. The time ‘spent’ by a person involved in community activities is the outcome of extensive and on-going negotiations between that person and the collectivities of which she is a part, and following Elias, the argument is developed that these negotiations have to strike a workable balance between the ‘I’ and the ‘We’ elements of her life.

Panto Dames

(The ladies from 'Dancing Feet' dance group rehearse their seasonal pantomime for the local community)

Professor Graham Crow
Dr Michelle Bastian

I am actively involved in community arts projects, acting as project leader and lead artist in various projects, in both voluntary and paid positions.
Before embarking on my Ph.D, I volunteered as a support worker at Rape Crisis.