PhD opportunities

PhD Studentships

The Birmingham School of Art has a vibrant community of Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) studying for PhDs in subjects aligned to our research clusters.

Our PGRs have been successful in securing funding from AHRC-funded doctoral training partnerships, university studentships and the prestigious Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest studentship.


The AHRC-funded Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the professional and personal development of the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers. M4C is awarding up to 80 doctoral studentships for UK/EU applicants for 2019 through an open competition as well as 11 Collaborative Doctoral Awards.

PGRs funded through the predecessor to Midlands4Cities which was Midlands3Cities have studied with us for PhDs in painting, queer art practice and art and landscape. Current Midlands3Cities funded PGRs are researching painting, the visual arts in regeneration, Middle Eastern visual arts, Chinese contemporary art, new materialism in contemporary media arts and the Conservator as Artist.

Find out more about applying to Midland4Cities

Gertrude Aston Bowater PhD Award

As part of the generous Gertrude Aston Bowater bequest to Birmingham School of Art, a PhD studentship is made available every three years. In 2018 this studentship was joined with our exciting partnership with Tate Liverpool.

BCU PhD studentships and STEAM studentships

Students studying with researchers at the School of Art have been successful in attracting funding through Birmingham City University’s prestigious STEAM scholarships. 

Read more about applying for a PhD

Our PGRs

The Birmingham School of Art has a vibrant community of Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) studying for PhDs in subjects aligned to our research clusters. As well as expert supervision, our PGRs are supported via a fortnightly seminar series, an annual Studio Takeover! and the activities of the Arts, Design and Media Faculty’s PGR Studio.

Our PGRs have been successful in securing funding from Midlands3Cities (an AHRC-funded doctoral training partnership), university studentships and the prestigious Gertrude Aston Bowater Bequest studentship.

Read more about applying for a PhD

Current postgraduate researchers

  • Joanne Berry-Frith: How can cultural scientists and producers work together collaboratively to re-interpret the function and role of medical imaging technologies
  • Yasmin Fay Boyle: Unknowing, becoming and in/betweenness: towards new material space(s) for women in sculptural art practice
  • Sally Louise Butcher: (In) Fertile Embodiment: revealing the invisibility of infertility between the medical and maternal through feminist art practice
  • Steven Chamberlain: The Filmic Commonplace: The gesture of commonplacing in essay film practice
  • Laura Cooper: Grid, Net, Snare, Screen: Translating Multispecies Worlds through Artist Moving Image
  • Kendall Cowle: Photography, Vision and Neurodiversity
  • Pierre d'Alancaisez: A skills gap in political and social art: evaluating and shaping the agency and impact of contemporary visual arts practices through non arts competences
  • Lisa Deml: Towards Citizen Spectatorship: Visual Culture and Shifting Perceptions of Documentary Media since the Arab Uprisings
  • Wenbo Deng: People, space and the Chinese elements. Reconstructing urban spaces using through innovative outworkings of traditional ideas and values in order to enhance inclusion and wellbeing
  • Roo Dhissou: Cultural Dysphoria: Exploring British Asian Female Identities through Arts Practices
  • Holly Rose Doron: Co-creating regenerative futures: The role of architectural and social lab processes in communities shaping their civic and social infrastructures
  • Peter Douglas Osborn: An enquiry into the contribution of George Cadbury (1839-1922) to the Garden City Movement, in advice and support, with its grounding in his philosophy, theology, and practice; and the subsequent effect on Urban Planning and Design by the Bournville Village Trust
  • Phoebe Hannah Elizabeth Eustance: A queer enquiry into embodied encounters of contemporary NHS mental health care through artistic practice
  • Wenhao Fang: To design a sustainability framework for packaging design practitioners that can guide the design of sustainable package
  • Simon Fleury: folding-museum/camera: What might it look like to hear a museum thinking?... How does it feel to be up close to an object and in doubt?… patterns of knowledge take shape and transform over time, giving consistency to the creation of a museum-assemblage… might its unique photospherics hold the secret to alternative museum futures?
  • Joanna Louise Gane: Revealing George Shaw: a practice-based study into photography in Birmingham c.1839-1865
  • Jessica Glaser: In search of the First Lady of Typography: A reappraisal of Beatrice Warde
  • Rachitra Sunimalie Gunatilake: Adapting the Built Environment-the role of youth in shaping vulnerability and resilience in urban cities
  • Yining He: Challenge Neo-Geopolitics: Decolonial Practices from Chinese Visual Arts since 2008
  • Sophie Hedderwick: Beyond sensors, de-coding the curve of the young female body: feminism and polymorphous performance art in the age of the digital transformation
  • Frederick Hubble: Phenology out of joint: An investigation into seasonality as a model for arts practice
  • Rameetha Hussain: Empowering Feminist Artistic Practices for Resistance and Change in East Asia
  • Marwa Isa: Examining the visual rhetoric of digital advertising from the visual perception of the intended audience
  • Celia Johnson: Representing the haunted industrial estates of the Black Country; exploring the legacy of Wolverhampton’s manufacturing industry to make visible its contemporary industrial landscape and community
  • Wanshu Li: Exploring the potential of UV-reactive materials as body adornment through performance art
  • Yifeng (Jerry) Liao: To investigate the impacts of the Art village phenomenon in Chinese mega cities on tourism industry and urban identities
  • Ying Liu: Reviving the use of natural dyes in contemporary Chinese fashion
  • Andrea Odele Lloyd: An indissoluble unity’: considering the relationship between outward influences and the design of Birmingham’s radical newspapers 1815-36
  • Lucy Lopez: Instituting with Care: How Might Art Institutions Care Well?
  • Wenjuan Lu: Essence of Perception: Portraits of the moment in everyday life - through the use of a variety of visual art media
  • Niamh Meehan: Performativity, Embodiment and Encounter: Devising a new performance art language through the work of Samuel Beckett
  • Samira Müller (Mueller): Altering the ‘sacred’- a study on the evolution of ritualistic interior architecture and proposals for an alternative set up
  • Karen Louise Parker: The shawl as an icon of Welsh National Identity
  • Deenpreet Singh Phull: Transforming Industrial Heritage Buildings into Functional Spaces: Conservation, Modernisation & Adaptation of Existing Buildings
  • Nataliya Rozhin: Unseen Body - Cultural phenomena in contemporary fashion
  • Ana Rutter: Gathering the everyday; towards a new understanding of affect and embodied encounters in non-narrative sound installation
  • Rachel Jia Hui Seah: The Eroticised Image of the Chinese Female Body in 21st Century Private Photography in China
  • Thomas Sedgwick: “The Black Lighthouse: Horror Manga as the Progression of Pessimistic Art and Philosophy”
  • Adrian Slaney: British cigarette cards and silks: 1895-1939
  • Roseanna Smith: Common Printed Things: Intersections of Art and Industry, the Coalbrooke Collection 1850 - 1930
  • Ying (Cherry) Sun: Square Dancing in Contemporary Urban China
  • Wen Sun: Masochism: Performance Art in China from 1989 to the present
  • Edward (Jonnie) Turpie: The Drawn Portrait in Contemporary Printmaking: A journey between analogue and digital
  • Isabelle Söhret Uner: Design Thinking in Design Education: A Study exploring the introduction of new design thinking competencies within design and business-based higher education courses
  • Catia Wesołowska (Wesolowska): Investigating the contemporary enamel on metal outdoor murals through the work of Stefan Knapp
  • Emma Widdop (Collett): Arrival of national infrastructure in post-industrial cities: the impact of gentrification on place attachment in Birmingham, UK
  • Melanie Jane Woodhead: Co-creating Common Ground: How can bordering suburban and woodland areas be sympoietically reimagined with communities as transitional spaces which activate ecological awareness and generative change?
  • Yaohan Xing: Sustainable design of health care products for chronic diseases of the elderly
  • Xu Xiaoyi: Collective memory and urban regeneration of the urban squares in China-Taking Wuhan as an example
  • Chao Yan: The Contemporary Chinese Art Market in a Post-COVID-19 Era
  • Gaopeng Zhang: Exploring Modularity of Design Elements: A Case Study of Garment Manufacture in China
  • Xiaorui Zhang: How design thinking can be implemented to create better strategies for adopting UK A&D curriculum by the Chinese HE institutes?
  • Yang Zhou: The Garden beyond Reality: Chinese Literati Gardens in Contemporary Art
PhDs awarded since 2014
  • Dr Lin Nuo (2021): “Art in the Urban Transformation: Private Art Museum and Real Estate Development in China since 2000”
  • Dr Lily Mitchell (2020): “The Other Stage: Curating Chinese Contemporary Art in the UK”
  • Dr Rawan Sharaf (2020): “The Role Played by Palestinian Cultural Institution in the Formation and Transformation of Palestinian Visual / Cultural Identity”
  • Dr Vivianne Barsky (2020): “The Creation of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem”
  • Dr Khulod Albugami (2019): “Al-Sadu as a Way of Understanding the Sociospatial Practices of Contemporary Art by Saudi Women”
  • Dr Sheridan Horn (2019): “Living with Loss: An Enquiry into the Expression of Grief and Mourning in Contemporary Art Practice”
  • Dr Guy Osherov (2019): “The Poetic Mechanics of Erasure: Practicing the Minor Politics of Sound
  • Dr Jakub Celgarz (2018): “Materializing Palimpsest: interrogation into palimpsestuousness as a queer enactment in artistic research”
  • Dr Sijing Chen (2018): “The Creative Beings: The Visual Culture of ‘Guai’ in China from 1949 to 1978”
  • Dr Alberto Condotta (2018): “Diffracting Painting: 'Mattering' as reconfiguration of its making understanding and encountering”
  • Dr Stuart Mugridge (2018): “-and-being-of-the-#Britishlangscape-[fold here]exploring the malleability of landscape, language and the creative act”
  • Dr Peipei Yu (2018): “Seeking the Cultural Originality: a critical study on product design in contemporary China”
  • Dr Samantha Hughes-Johnson (2017): “The Fresco Decoration of the Oratorio dei Buonomini di San Martino: Piety and charity in late fifteenth century Florence”
  • Dr Rachel Marsden (2017): “The Transcultural Curator: Interpreting Contemporary Chinese Art in the West since 1980”
  • Dr Mattia Paganelli (2017): “The Image of Time: Emergence and irreversibility in the making of sense in contemporary art practices”
  • Dr Yanyan Wang (2017): “Creating a New Urban Culture: a critical study on the educational significance of the Shanghai Biennale”
  • Dr Grace Williams (2017): “The Supernatural Sex: Women, Magick and Mediumship Assembling a Field of Fascination within Contemporary Art”
  • Dr Roger Gill (2015): “Pinturicchio’s Frescoes in the Sala dei Santi in the Vatican Palace: Authorship and a new iconological interpretation of the 'Egyptian' theme”
  • Dr Jian Leng (2015): “Gatekeeping the arts: National policy, student perception and the art and design entrance examination in China”
  • Dr Quimei Yu (2015): “Contemporary Chinese Art and Design University Students' Internal Mobility”
  • Dr Amy Bourbon (2014): “Towards a new Way of Thinking in Painting through the Application of Analogous Notions of Listening and Analysis in Acousmatic Music”
  • Dr Lisa Metherell (2014): “Glittering orientations: towards a non-figurative queer art practice”
  • Dr Jacqueline Taylor (2014): “Writing // Painting; l’écriture féminine and difference in the making”