Portrait of Dr Jennifer Leigh

Dr Jennifer Leigh

Centre for the Study of Higher Education - Reader


I am a Reader in Higher Education and Academic Practice at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Kent. My route into Higher Education research has been somewhat eclectic. I have an MA in Higher Education, a PGCHE and a PGCE in secondary science. I am a qualified yoga teacher and somatic movement therapist, I worked as a body-worker and movement artist and my first degree is in Chemistry with Analytical Science. My doctoral studies were a phenomenological exploration of young children’s perceptions, expressions and reflections of embodiment through movement.

Research interests

My research interests centre around embodied experience, how innovative and creative research methods can add depth, richness, honesty and emotion to experience, and include reflective practice, reflexivity the ethics of research, the boundaries between research and therapy or art, and how these relate to practice and academic identity. I have worked on large mixed methods projects including Skilled support for people with severe or profound intellectual disability and complex needs and Imagining Autism.



Research Projects

  • 2016 Won the SRHE Newer Researcher Prize for a phenomenological study using creative research methodsExploring embodied academic identity
  • 2016  Consultant for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama Exploring reflective practice across the Conservatoire 
  • 2013  Small grant from University of Kent Centre for the Study of Higher Education awarded for research study on professional practice within higher education.  This resulted in dissemination at an international conference, and a publication in an international journal 
  • 2011  Small Faculty Grant from University of Kent Social Sciences Faculty awarded for pilot research study ‘Touch, and Parents. Perspectives on Raising Children with Autism and Tactile Defensiveness.  A poster describing this study was accepted at an international conference.  With Dr Julie Beadle-Brown.

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