Undergraduate Dissertation Prize.

For the best dissertation on any issue relating to the geographies of children, youth and families, part sponsored by Routledge

The third year of the Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group dissertation prize attracted a high quality of undergraduate dissertations, resulting in a very strong competition. The entries were peer-reviewed by academic geographers and we are now pleased to announce the winners.

First prize went to Bethan Siu Yin Thomas, School of Geography, University of Nottingham for her dissertation entitled: ‘Diaspora space: the changing nature of Woking Chinese School’. Her abstract highlights the central aspects of her dissertation.

This study offers an ethnographic presentation of the socio-spatial processes occurring in a diaspora institution. The Chinese diaspora, despite its linguistic and subethnic diversities, has formed community organisations across the UK, with Chinese language education for children taking priority. The Chinese diaspora in Woking, Surrey exemplifies such a community.

The research is conducted at Woking Chinese School with the children and young people who attend, as well as parents and adults involved with running the School. Multiple research methods are used, comprising participant observation, interviews, focus groups and secondary data collection. First, the study reviews how transnational narratives of different Chinese migration patterns to the UK have affected the School’s structure. Second, the institution is explored as a node in networks connecting the Chinese diaspora, the homeland and the host country.

Finally, the School is established as a site where the expression of transnational and hybrid student identities is fostered through language and cultural performance. Drawing on Avtar Brah’s work on diaspora, the institution is found to constitute a diaspora space, being a key site where a diaspora community of children and adults continually responds to and negotiates with the changing conditions that encase and absorb it.

Second prize went to Deborah Puttick, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Plymouth for her dissertation entitled: ‘Sacred Place on the Catholic World Youth Day Pilgrimage to Sydney.

We will soon be looking for entries to the competition before the closing date of 31st August.