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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship

University of Westminster - Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) in the Westminster School of Arts & European Ceramic Workcentre

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £16,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 30th November 2018
Closes: 3rd January 2019


The Centre for Education and Research in Arts and Media (CREAM) at the University of Westminster and the European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC) welcome applications for a PhD studentship to be funded (subject to approval) by TECHNE under its Doctoral Training Partnership Scheme, to begin in September 2019. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed, and one selected to be included in the second-stage TECHNE application process in February 2019.

CREAM is the UK's leading centre for research in art and design. The UK's 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) ranked CREAM as one of the top three art and design departments in the UK and number one in the field of UK arts departments with research profiles across both theory and practice. With over 60 doctoral students and more than 30 research active staff, CREAM is a leading provider of both practice-based and theoretical PhD research in photography, film, moving image, digital and experimental media, ceramics, visual art, music, and art-science relationships. We are highly international with research expertise in South and Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and European media arts. Our students undertake practice-based and theoretical research in contemporary art and in arts and media history. 

The European Ceramic Work Centre is an international workplace where artists, designers and architects explore the technical and artistic possibilities of ceramics. The EKWC operates as an artist-in-residence centre and as a centre of excellence with the aim to promote the development of ceramic art, design and architecture. EKWC welcomes around 45 artists, designers, architects and other creative professionals annually for a continuous or phased period of three months, providing studios, workplaces, living space, the most advanced equipment and the support of its experienced staff.

The supervisors of this project are:

Professor Clare Twomey (Director of Ceramic Research Centre – UK, CREAM UoW) Tessa Peters (Senior Lecturer – History & Theory of Art & Design, CREAM UoW), Ranti Tjan, Director of European Ceramic Workcentre, NL.

The Project:

Craft as a methodology: material specialism in an inter-disciplinary landscape

Craft and material-specific education has changed radically over the past 10 years. Such programmes have either been cut, reduced or combined into other departments within universities, whilst simultaneously boundaries between art and design disciplines have continued to dissolve into an increasingly inter-disciplinary landscape. It is a pressing issue to understand and theorise how craft and material specialisms operate and innovate within this new terrain. The research will focus on craft as a methodology; a shift from viewing craft as an object or end-point, to understanding craft as a process and disciplined approach.  This enables us to move from a view of a separate discipline, to a more horizontal understanding of how craft practice and techniques impinge on art, design, industry, technology and society. Just as the philosophy of Techne recognises the craft and craftsmanship in research, craft thinking can be recognised across a variety of fields. In a changing climate of educational provision, it is important to understand how and where this is happening. How are practitioners collaborating and innovating with other fields of expertise? How can a material specialism, such as ceramics, maintain its specialist knowledge whilst positively engaging with inter-disciplinary outputs? This practice-based research would focus on the use of clay, but the knowledge produced would have relevance and application across a much wider context and understanding of craft. The objectives of the research are:

1-To define craft as a methodology; to understand how it operates as a process and disciplined approach; to recognise the particularities of craft characteristics and thinking.

2- To investigate examples that demonstrate how craft practice and techniques impinge on other fields, such as science, technology, industry and society.

3- To examine the existence of craft approaches within inter-disciplinary projects involving clay, by visual arts practitioners including those formally trained and those who have not been trained within the specialism of ceramics.

4- To understand how craft thinking can be used to innovate and collaborate within areas that may include one or more of the following: science, industry, technology, society.  

The student will be encouraged to pursue his/her own original line of inquiry and to decide the scope of their chosen research, both in terms of the timescale and geographical reach, led by their own practice. The student will engage with a set of research questions, agreed with the supervisors and the research will involve a range of methods that may include:

-Focused round table discussions at the University of Westminster, EKWC and other relevant organisations as appropriate, bringing together contemporary practitioners and other industry professionals to discuss themes of collaboration, innovation and the inter-disciplinary landscape. 

-Case studies, that will be published along with other academic partners or organisations as appropriate to make the research publicly accessible.

-Produce a new body of work/curated exhibition/other public-facing event that puts into practice the idea of ‘craft as methodology’. This would be accompanied by a seminar drawing together discussions of relevant issues that have emerged from the research.

The Studentship:

The studentship will last for three years full-time. A maintenance grant of £16,777 p.a. will be paid by the AHRC to the award holder, subject to eligibility criteria and application approval (Part-time award holders will be funded at 50% for 6 years). A stipend of £550 per year (full-time) is available to support additional engagement, in this case contributing to the placement at EKWC.

The student will have access to University of Westminster facilities including designated doctoral rooms, extensive library, research training, language courses, as well as studio and laboratory access. Candidates are part of the Research Centre and, along with staff, take part in a doctoral training program including regular workshops and seminars with bi-yearly student research symposia. A number of exhibition venues are also available to showcase research projects. The successful candidate will be expected to undertake some teaching duties or to assist in the organisation of CREAM events. The 3-month placement at the EKWC includes travel, accommodation, studio facilities and access to specialist ceramic equipment and technologies (for more details of the facilities please see ). In addition, the successful candidate will also have access to Techne training and events (see )

Qualifications and eligibility:

Candidates will hold at least an upper second class honours BA degree and preferably a Master’s degree. Candidates whose secondary level education has not been conducted in the medium of English should also demonstrate evidence of appropriate English language proficiency normally defined as 6.5 in IELTS (with not less than 6.0 in any of the individual elements). For full entry requirements, please visit  

Candidates must comply with the eligibility criteria and other terms and conditions as described on the AHRC’s web page:

UK/EU residency requirements are set out in ‘Conditions of Research Council Training Grants’ section D:

Please note that the studentships are not available to applicants who already have a PhD or who are currently enrolled on a doctoral programme at Westminster or elsewhere.

Prospective candidates wishing to informally discuss an application should contact either:

Clare Twomey -   

Phoebe Cummings - 

The closing date for applications is 5pm Thursday 3rd January 2019.

Interviews will be held Monday 4th February 2019

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