Postdoctoral Fellow: Diana Beljaars

Diana BeljaarsResearch topic: Compulsive Worlds: Tourette syndrome, Dementia, and a Spatial Theory of Wellbeing
Research pathway: 
Human Geography
Host institution:
Swansea University

My doctoral study examined the influence of the social and material environment of the body on the compulsive behaviour of people with Tourette syndrome. Compulsive acts are experienced as irrational, purposeless and meaningless, and are driven by increasingly uncomfortable urges. I closely collaborated with 15 people with Tourette‚Äôs through in-depth interviews, participant observations, and mobile eye-tracking to find out how they experience and negotiate the spaces of their everyday life. The findings indicate how patterns of object form and position in a place invoked particular compulsive acts, and had an impact the wellbeing of the person. These findings did not only uncover new insights into the lives of those with Tourette‚Äôs; the compulsions also provided new fundamental insights into the relations between people and place, described in a ‚Äėcompulsive theory‚Äô.

The Postdoctoral Fellowship allows me to progress these findings and ideas with the following:

  1. Pursuit of a new research grant for a large transdisciplinary ‘compulsivity nexus’ project.
  2. Dissemination of the results in a series of short social media videos, reports with recommendations to clinicians treating people with Tourette’s, two articles in academic journals, and a book.
    In alignment with the UK Industrial Strategy to tackle the ‚ÄėGrand Challenges‚Äô, I am working on the following:
  3. Testing the applicability of my compulsive theory on the wellbeing of people with Dementia to improve care provided in care homes, in particular in South Wales.
  4. Boost the technical education at Gower College by setting up a student project to design objects that improve dementia care and increase student career chances.

Research Gate: Diana_Beljaars
Twitter: @DianaBeljaars