Lifford woman obtains her PhD in social research

LIFFORD native Marianne O’Kane Boal has just become a PhD graduate.

Marianne is the daughter of Joanna and the late Eddie O’Kane of Cavanacor House, Ballindrait, Lifford. She has been studying at ATU Sligo for the past five years working on her PhD in Social Research and recently graduated.

“It has been a real labour of love working on my doctorate in recent years. I had two wonderful supervisors mentoring me; Dr Susan McDonnell and Dr Jaqueline O’Toole. I would like to thank my family, my husband Shane and daughters Amy and Bronwen for their patience and support throughout the time,” said Marianne.


“ I have dedicated my PhD to my parents Joanna and my late father Eddie who have encouraged and helped me greatly.”

Marianne’s PhD thesis is entitled ‘Converging lifeworlds: An exploration of the links between children, food and friendship in Irish primary schools and in it she examined the significance of school food practices in the conduct and experience of peer relationships of children aged 4-12 in contemporary Irish primary schools.

This study aimed to make a unique contribution in terms of a better understanding of the complex relationships between childhood, food and friendship.

It proposes a reimagining through arts-based methodologies of the importance of children’s school food and friendship practices in their lifeworlds.

The qualitative project focuses on what leads children to engage with friends on school food practices and how this shapes their peer relationships.

The methods for engaging with children in the classroom have been selected according to Marianne’s considerable experience of facilitation of children’s workshops.

The outcome of the study is a better theoretical and empirical understanding and knowledge of children’s friendship practices as they relate to food and eating.


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