The fellowship awards £184,963 to study new structures for skills development and lifelong learning across community, cultural and scholarly institutions in the UK.
The highly competitive AHRC Leadership Fellows scheme provides an opportunity for research leaders and potential future research leaders (through the ECR – Early Career Researchers route) to undertake focused individual research alongside collaborative activities which have the potential to generate a transformative impact in their subject area and beyond.
In particular, UKRI Innovation Fellows will support the delivery of the UK Industrial Strategy, for the benefit of the UK society and economy.
Amalia’s fellowship will tackle a key issue emphasised by the UK Government's Industrial Strategy.
The prospect of widespread automation in the near future means low-skilled jobs are likely to be replaced and jobs at any level will require constant training to keep up with a changing work environment. This will affect the UK's younger generations and requires new approaches to training and skills development.
Amalia’s fellowship explores new ways to mobilise community, cultural and creative resources to provide skills development and career orientation opportunities for a generation that is increasingly connected, digital and mobile.
The study will be carried out in collaboration with cultural, non-profit and academic partners, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, two Coventry-based charities, and the multidisciplinary team from the Centre of Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University.
Amalia joined Loughborough University London as a Research Associate in 2016 to work with Professor Jo Tacchi on a Horizon 2020 project (EduMAP), focused on adult education among young people at risk of social exclusion.
Prior to joining Loughborough University, Amalia held post-doctoral positions at universities in Lugano (Switzerland), Barcelona (Spain) and Coventry (UK), where she conducted research on culture, communications and communities, focusing on the situations of low-income and marginalised groups.
Her UKRI Innovation fellowship, “Cultural engagements and young people’s professional aspirations”, places aspirations in the centre of a new model for skills development outside formal education.
The research investigates how young people develop interests and aspirations and how these interweave with information and communication practices carried out online and offline, in youth clubs, sports, community and cultural spaces.
These understandings will be further used to generate insights on entry points and intervention areas that can be taken up by community, non-profit and cultural sector organisations to better target and improve the relevance of their programmes for young people.
On this basis, the study will formulate recommendations on cooperation structures between cultural, community and educational entities, to respond to young people's training needs and aspirations aligned to their information and communication practices.
Professor David Deacon, Dean of Loughborough University London, commented: "This AHRC Fellowship is a tremendous achievement. In a highly competitive research environment, it recognises Amalia’s strength as a researcher and a future research leader.
"The topic is timely and important, contributing to advanced thinking about the role of cultural institutions in the skills development and career pathways of young people in the UK."