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PhD Studentship: Art for Action: Climate Visuals to Engage the Public and Move Policy-Makers

University of East Anglia - School of Environmental Sciences

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Norwich
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: Competition Funded Project
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 9th November 2022
Closes: 18th January 2023
Reference: OSBORN_ENV23CDCC

Art is creating powerful engagement, ambition and action in seats of power and in the community. Norwich City Council has commissioned a permanent climate artwork inside its decision-making chamber to focus the minds of politicians on the climate challenge. In Canada, a former Minister of the Environment said art was “very instrumental” in the decision to establish a National Water Agency. There is also mounting evidence that citizens across all demographics are responding serendipitously on the need for interaction between artists and scientists and high impact curation.  

This PhD requires applicants who are productive artists with a background that enables them to develop skills to study social responses to works by a wide range of climate artists to be displayed at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (SCVA). The project will be grounded in data from this critical decade with art provoked by climate events and their consequences occurring now. 

The student will produce climate art works and assess their impact on people’s views and desire to act. They will build an academic framework with constrained assessments from curated climate artworks to answer the research question: how does the artistic expression of current events impact public and policymaker perception and engagement with the fundamental challenges we face? These impacts will be quantified via in situ testimonials and feedback from scientifically-designed questionnaires at curated exhibits, analyses of related media coverage, and responses from a stratified cohort comprising 100 members of the regional audience. Longitudinal studies will be used to monitor citizens’ evolving response over time.  

The student will receive training in anthropological research and media studies, specifically focused on questionnaire design and quantitative elements of data analysis needed to accurately solicit and distil audience feedback. The outcomes of this PhD will help guide both the art and science communities on best practice for future visual communication of climate change.  

The supervisory team comprises experts in climate communication and data, and the SCVA director. The student will join the ClimateUEA group where they will find a natural home among a diverse group of cross-disciplinary experts and be inspired to lead future initiatives. 

Additional information

This project has been shortlisted for funding by the Critical Decade for Climate Change programme, which will award PhD studentship funding from the Leverhulme Trust and UEA’s Faculties of Social Sciences and Science.

Successful candidates will be awarded a PhD studentship that pays tuition fees, a stipend (£17,668 p.a. for 2022/23), and funding to support research costs. Studentship funding is only available to applicants eligible for ‘Home’ fees status, including UK nationals and most EU nationals with ‘settled’ and ‘pre-settled’ status.

Further details of the Critical Decade programme can be found at: https://www.uea.ac.uk/climate/show-and-tell

Primary supervisor: Prof Tim Osborn

Start date: 1st October 2023

For more information on this project, please visit www.uea.ac.uk

Funding

Competition Funded Project – Home and EU (Home) students only 

Source of funding: Leverhulme Trust, UEA Faculties  

Studentship length: 4 years 

Amount of funding: 

  • Fees: Standard UKRI rates
  • Stipend: Standard UKRI rates 
  • RTSG – To be confirmed
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