Back to search results
Header Image

5 Fully-funded PhD opportunities at Coventry University's Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities

Coventry University - Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities

The Centre for Arts, Memory and Communities (CAMC) at Coventry University invites applications for fully-funded PhD studentships within our dynamic, multidisciplinary research centre. CAMC is home to a vibrant research culture that weaves together three strands of scholarship: Critical PracticesCultural Memory and Well-being and the Arts. Members of CAMC are internationally recognised leaders in the fields of:

  • Art History
  • Curatorial Studies
  • Design and Design Futures
  • English Literature and Language
  • Gender and Women’s Writing
  • Material Cultural Studies
  • Practice Research

Pursuing excellence with impact, CAMC members create world-leading research that reaches across disciplinary boundaries within the university, infusing an arts and humanities perspective into research in medicine, anthropology,engineering, social justice and sustainability, among others. Our transdisciplinary research strives to achieve transformative engagements with complex social, intellectual and ethical problems, drawing on the past to imagine and create change in the future.

We invite applications for five fully-funded PhD studentships, commencing in January 2021. Each project responds to the Covid-19 pandemic by seeking creative and innovative interventions into the cultural conditions produced by such crises historically, in the moment, and as they are likely to persist in and alter post-Covid experience. 

Venice and its environments: navigating memory, culture and crisis

Professor Juliet Simpson

This project, aligned with the CAMC Cultural Memory research strand, will investigate the unique cultural heritage of Venice examined in new contexts of its pivotal place in addressing world heritage challenges. It will align to global environmental challenges and connecting cultural heritage in contexts of crises, encompassing historic and contemporary responses to plagues and pandemics. The studentship offers an outstanding opportunity to capitalize on CAMC’s ongoing collaboration as a leading advisory partner institution with the British Council Venice Fellowships Programme, now in its fourth year. Building on this partnership and the extensive international networks it has generated, the specific focus of the PhD is to open up new, interdisciplinary knowledge of Venice’s ‘environments’ broadly conceived. This may encompass art and architectural heritage (historic and contemporary), which may extend further to an examination of Venetian heritage eco-systems:  waterways, the Venetian marine environment (lagoon), and the ongoing impact of flooding and bio-hazards (Covid-19) in addressing Venice’s exemplary status and cultural memory as an existentially threatened world heritage environment. The PhD thus will provide innovative opportunities to bring to new attention, Venice’s integrated art and heritage environments, via these, to develop new knowledge of their value and significance for heritage conservation, and for understanding cultural heritage as key to addressing climate and bio challenges both past and present.

The successful applicant will demonstrate knowledge of art/architectural history, cultural history, anthropologies of art, heritage, cultural and material memory, image-text studies, as well as abilities to work across disciplinary boundaries and methods. Key highlights of this PhD study programme:

  • UK-based study with access to key networks and international resources in Venetian-global heritage, legacies and cross-disciplinary research
  • Fieldwork in UK and Italy with potential to align with a CAMC Venice Fellowship
  • Opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary research networks, dissemination activities (CAMC, aligned University Centres and external partners); scope for physical and/or virtual exhibition/resource in the CU Lanchester Gallery (Director, Prof. Juliet Simpson) post-PhD.

Address enquiries to

Exploring healthcare workers’ experiences and ethical dilemmas faced during the COVID-19 Pandemic through arts-based practice

Professor Louise Moody

The British Medical Association and Health Foundation have drawn attention to the impact the COVID19 pandemic is, and will continue to have in a variety of ways on NHS staff. The specific focus of this PhD research will be the difficult, ethical decisions healthcare workers have had to make when managing patients during the pandemic. Some examples of this include who to prioritise for treatment, whether to treat if PPE is unavailable, whether to return to NHS roles for those who have left the profession, and the need to separate patients from loved ones.

Aligned with the Well-being and the Arts strand of CAMC research, this project will explore the challenges and emotional impacts experienced by health care workers in relation to ethical decision making. The successful candidate will respond to these experiences through arts-practise as well as developing evidence-based recommendations for the support needs of staff. The project is anticipated to involve the following activities:

  • A scoping review of the literature
  • Qualitative research to explore ethical dilemmas and the associated emotional impact using social media
  • Arts-based practice to represent and communicate healthcare worker experiences
  • Formation of recommendations regarding the support needs of healthcare workers

Address enquiries to

Embodying loss: crafting the material in the time of pandemic

Professor Patricia Phillippy

Throughout western history, memorial artefacts – from monuments to rings, manuscripts to locks of hair – have helped survivors of loss to carry on and recover by embodying remembrance of the departed loved one. Separation is mediated by the presence of the material artefact. Increasingly in the fields of literary study and cultural history, theories of embodiment have encouraged a view of subjects and objects as joined in ecologies of emotion, experience and environment. Less investigated have been the stability and success of these material artefacts when bereavement, separation and loss move from the private to the public. In times of pandemic, when the traditional forms of and rituals of death and mourning are overturned, individual loss can be trivialised by the numbers of the dead; one lost life risks unimportance when it becomes one among hundreds of thousands. Working across CAMC’s Cultural Memory and Critical Practices strands, this project combines material culture, literary studies and craft practice to explore how the ritual processes and products of craft can ameliorate the private pain of separation and social isolation in the context of overwhelming public loss. Examining memorial arts and objects, from the early modern period to the present day, and creating a series of handmade artefacts which aim to embody shared bereavement, this project investigates how these multimodal artefacts can renew social connections and revitalise individuals and communities as they emerge from and learn to live with Covid-19.

Address enquiries to

Communicating COVID: messages from the Downing Street Briefings

Professor Sheena Gardner and Dr Benet Vincent

Applications are invited from linguists keen to understand how messages about the COVID-19 pandemic have been conveyed through scientific papers, political statements, the Downing Street Briefings and reports in a range of journalistic and online sources.

The aim of the project is to determine how messages, such as advice to the public from politicians and medical experts, are shaped for different audiences in different contexts - in written papers, in spoken monologue and dialogue, and online. A multimodal corpus will be developed and made available for ongoing research on these historic discourses. A series of discourse analyses will be conducted. Findings will be shared with academics and professionals concerned with political and medical/public health communication.

The successful applicant will be familiar with corpus linguistics and with approaches to discourse analysis. They will be aware of ways in which corpus research can complement discourse analysis. They should be able to demonstrate an aptitude for corpus development, an understanding of issues in corpus design, and an interest in the analysis of political discourse, such as the Downing Street Briefings. Experience with multimodal corpora, and with how messages ‘change’ to reflect different social contexts would be particularly valuable, as would a working knowledge of Systemic Functional Linguistics, and a background in journalism or medical communication.

Address inquiries to 

The role of design and usability in the adoption of digital self-management technology

Professor Louise Moody

Hosted by CAMC’s Well-being and the Arts research strand, this studentship provides an exciting opportunity to undertake research as part of the NIHR Devices for Dignity MedTech Cooperative ( Devices for Dignity are specialists in developing health technologies with, and for, people of all ages with long-term conditions to help improve independence and quality of life. 

Self-management is an important part of care for those living with long-term conditions. It aims to empower and support patients to take control of, and manage their self-care, as well as helping to improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Self-management is often enabled through the adoption of digital technology. In the context of COVID-19 the approach reduces the number of direct contacts between healthcare professionals and patients. The design and usability of this technology, and any accompanying instructions, is important to ensure that it can be used effectively for a diverse range of users. 

The PhD research will explore both the usability of digital self-management technology and the accompanying information provided to the user to support their self-management. The project will focus on digital self-management technology aligned to the specialist themes of Devices for Dignity; diabetes, renal or long-term neurological condition.

This project will involve working with people living with long-term conditions alongside healthcare specialists. Specific research activities will include:

  • Desk-based review of the literature and existing self-management technologyincluding how games-based approaches might be employed to improve adoption
  • Product walkthroughs  and usability testing to identify user needs and design requirements
  • A series of co-design workshops with stakeholders to develop solutions
  • Development and testing of prototypes

Address enquiries to

To apply on line please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus a 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project. 

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Coventry
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Bursary + fees (UK/EU/International students eligible)
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th July 2020
Closes: 7th October 2020
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Show all PhDs for Coventry University …
Advert information

Type / Role:

Subject Area(s):


PhD tools

Browser Upgrade Recommended has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge