I was grateful to receive a postgraduate grant from the James Pantyfedwen Foundation over the last year. I recently graduated with Distinction in MPhil Sociology at the University of Cambridge. This opportunity was made possible with the Foundation’s kind support.
After completing a degree in politics, I was eager to develop my skills as a social researcher. At Cambridge, I specialised in the sociology of marginality and exclusion, where I engaged with leading research surrounding global inequalities including gender, race, class and coloniality. The primary focus of the course was an extended dissertation, in which I explored the role of masculinity within the Welsh independence movement. As the topic of independence gains prominence in Welsh politics and media, fans of the Welsh national football team have played an important role in fostering support for independence. Through holding focus groups with these fans, supporters’ Welsh national identity relied closely on a ‘Welsh’ image of masculinity, whilst rejecting what they perceived as ‘British’ masculinity. Amidst the challenges of conducting research online, I experimented with creative approaches that go beyond the researcher’s traditional role.
Through my year in Cambridge, I deepened my interest in a career based in research. With this experience, I have recently begun a position in London in the research and evaluation of social policy, focusing on issues of health, education, and inequality. I’d like to express my thanks again to the Foundation for the generous support which made this possible.