PhD Studentship: Luxury and Visual Culture

University of Southampton - Winchester School of Art - Winchester Luxury Research Group

To study luxury and visual culture is to study that aspect of visual culture expressed in visual images of great comfort or elegance. Yet, few academic fields examine this relatively new subject, even though it touches upon cultural studies and art history, critical theory, philosophy, media studies, and anthropology. Among theorists working within contemporary luxury and visual culture, this area of investigation intersects with analyses of the superfluous in fashion, with the excessive in art, with the gratuitous in photography, with unwarranted desire in film, with the wanton in television and with the unnecessary in social media. It can also include images of pleasure in magazine advertising, beautiful objects displayed by luxury brands from Louis Vuitton to Dior on the Internet, and any other medium that has a crucial lavish or enjoyable visual component.

The topic’s importance arises from the variety of abundant objects and experiences that can be contained within the term “luxury and visual culture,” which combines sumptuous visual events in which uplifting cultural information, indulgent visual meanings, or extreme cultural satisfaction is sought by the viewer and/or consumer in an interface with luxurious new media technologies, such as a Brikk iPhone coated in 24 carat gold. Because of the changing technological aspects of visual culture, of technologies of perception and augmentation, it is no longer clear what “the visual,” “the cultural,” or “the luxurious” are. Consequently, the task of the scholar of luxury and visual culture is to understand how images of longing and gratification, amusement and enjoyment work and what they do, as well as to ask what hedonistic ideas they represent or the decadent reality is that they claim to portray.

Supervisors: Professors John Armitage and Jonathan Faiers and Associate Professor Yasmin Sekhon.

  • The successful candidate will start on 1 October 2018. The scholarship will offer full tuition fee and maintenance funding for 3 years. The doctoral stipend for 2017/18 is currently £14,000.
  • This studentship is only available for full time programmes and is open to applicants from the UK, the EU and overseas.
  • As part of the application you will be required to submit a CV, research proposal, degree certificate and transcripts, two academic references and proof of English language proficiency.
  • The deadline for applications is 15 February 2018. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
  • Interviews of shortlisted candidates are likely to take place in w/c 19 March 2018.
  • The awards will be allocated by end of April, with the outcome being communicated to the candidates in May.

Contact Details for applicant

If you wish to discuss any details of the studentship informally, please contact:

  • Postgraduate Research Admissions, Faculty of Business, Law and Art, Email: Telephone: +44(0)23 8059 2562.

How to apply

To apply please follow the ‘Apply’ link on the following webpage:

PhD Fine Art/Design:   

Please mention reference FBLA-ART-008 in the scholarship section of your application.

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