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17 October 2019  


Margaret O'Sullivan

Margaret O'Sullivan receiving the NUI Denis Phelan Scholarship from NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning at the NUI Awards Ceremony 2016.

Margaret O'Sullivan receiving the NUI Denis Phelan Scholarship from NUI Chancellor Dr Maurice Manning at the NUI Awards Ceremony 2016.

 

Margaret O'Sullivan was awarded the Denis Phelan Scholarship in 2016 for her PhD studies in curriculum and pedagogy, specialising in music education, at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada. Her research is an investigation of the conceptualisation of quality in music education, through collaborative theoretical inquiry with children and young people in music education as part of the Music Generation programme.


In your experience, what have been the benefits of holding an NUI award?

The extraordinary honour of this award gave me a deep sense of validation for the work I have undertaken, as I absorb the leap of faith that the NUI has taken with me on this quest to understand what happens in music education for children and young people on their own terms. The financial support has allowed me to study full-time in Canada, to engage with deeply qualitative new methodologies for understanding experience in music education with my supervisor Peter Gouzouasis, and to study with world leaders in the field of curriculum studies, including William Pinar.

The benefits of travel to my research have been life-changing. Being away from my day to day work routine in Ireland has provided new perspectives and lenses through which to view my own experience and positionality that have shaped my ambition and understanding of how I can contribute to the story of music education in Ireland through collaborative inquiry with children and young people. The opportunity to live, study, and work at UBC has given me a deeper insight into the responsibility of acknowledgement of the Musqueam People upon whose ancestral, unceded territory the university is located, and the pedagogical potentialities of that daily gift for how to live in relation to the land. I have many new friends who are wonderful scholars from all over the world, and I look forward to their future visits to Ireland when we will have the opportunity to share our learning.


"The benefits of travel to my research have
been life-changing. Being away from my day to
day work routine in Ireland has provided new perspectives and lenses through which to view
my own experience and positionality that have
shaped my ambition and understanding of how I can contribute to the story of music education in Ireland through collaborative inquiry with children
and young people.
"

What advice would you give to prospective applicants to the NUI Travelling Studentship Scheme?

My advice to prospective applicants is to work hard and go for it! Use the opportunity of the application process to present yourself clearly, with all that you have to offer to scholarship and learning in your field. Ask trusted people both within and outside of your field to read your proposal, and give your referees plenty of advance notice.

 

What would you consider to be the highlights of your experience holding an NUI award?

Hassan pictured with fellow 2016 Maynooth University NUI awardwinners (L-R) Bronagh McShane, Gene Carolan and Brian Hughes

Margaret O'Sullivan, recipient of the NUI Denis Phelan Scholarship 2016.

A highlight of my experience has been the grind of the comprehensive exam process, through which the PhD student becomes a PhD candidate or ABD (all but dissertation). It may seem strange to highlight that experience but it has been transformative for me in terms of my sense of myself as a scholar, as my capacity to defend my work has been tested and strengthened before I cross the final threshold of the doctoral dissertation defence. To have to devote myself to that goal in the midst of all the other things a PhD student has to do to survive - including Teaching Assistant work, funding applications, generating conference papers and publications - has made me a better, more rigorous and tenacious scholar. Also, on a more celebratory note, I was really chuffed to attend the NUI awards ceremony with my mother - we had a fabulous day out!

 

In 2019, two NUI Travelling Studentships were offered in the Sciences.

The closing date was Friday 29 March 2019.