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Cultural Studies - PhD
Choose to undertake a PhD in Cultural Studies and you’ll research visual, design and urban cultures. Based within Edinburgh College of Art, you’ll have access to exciting opportunities for cross-disciplinary exploration and research.
The PhD in Cultural Studies is offered as a 3-year full-time (or 6 year part-time) degree. It is an independently directed and intensive piece of research based on a substantial written dissertation. Topics for PhD study are normally proposed by applicants but can also be negotiated with individual members of staff. Working closely with the supervisors, doctoral students pursue independent research leading to the thesis. The PhD thesis is an original, significant, and creative contribution to knowledge in visual and cultural studies.
PhD in Cultural Studies is supported by a wide ranging scholarly expertise in the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), a world leading centre for the study of architecture, the city and visual culture. Located within Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh, ESALA boasts a wide variety of specialisms in cultural theory and history, design and urban cultures, visuality and visual knowledges, place memory and spatial practices, and architectural theory and criticism.
Research is central to the life of Architecture within ESALA. It motivates both the intellectual and creative facets of our activities, as well as driving our collaborations with a broad range of external institutions, both within the UK and internationally. Postgraduate research in particular is vital in maintaining our critical dynamism and international profile. We actively promote interdisciplinary approaches to the understanding of architecture, culture and the city and encourage research projects that challenge conventional modes of practice and thought. In addition to supporting students’ individual research, academic staff encourages and facilitates collective project-based activities, including publications, symposia and exhibitions.
Top five reasons to choose the programme
- Distinct research focus on the city and visuality, visual knowledge and critical attention to modalities and strategies of representation and display. Areas of particular interest include urban photography, graffiti and street art, curating and exhibition design, new forms of visual, spatial and textual practices, critical approaches to image and writing.
- Unique research context that encourages collaborations with research by design and creative practice. We encourage experimentation with graphic and visual essay, curatorial strategies, creative and collaborative approaches to research.
- Curatorial projects and experimentation with forms of critical writing and modes of presentation of research. We support exhibition projects and innovative events that involve non-academic participants and audiences.
- Summer School in Berlin: PhD students participate in an intensive week-long series of workshops and colloquia organised in collaboration with Humboldt University in Berlin and with participation of international scholars presenting research-in-progress and exploring innovative research methodologies and modes of documentation and presentation of research.
- Support for publishing and dissemination of research. Our students are encouraged to actively contribute to research culture by transforming their academic work into publications: collaborative book-projects, articles in academic and professional journals, exhibition reviews and magazine articles, online journals and blogs.
Dr Ella Chmielewska, Programme Director | View staff profile >
This is a research programme. Support and supervision may be provided by any of the teaching staff in this School.
Including journals, databases, and local collections.
Resources for History of Art, Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture students.
A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.
Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.
The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.
Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.
At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.
ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.
Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.
EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.
Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.
A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.
The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.
This model workshop is equipped for constructing architectural models in a wide variety of materials.
By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.
Includes a screen-printing room, relief room, lithography room, process room, intaglio room, and caseroom.
The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.
Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.
Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.
Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.
Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.
Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.
A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.
A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.
Woodworking tools and machinery include laser cutters, a vacuum former, and a 3D scanner and printer.
Scholarships & bursaries
Successful applicants will have a research interest aligning with, or cutting across, ECA's five Schools.
The scholarships cover tuition fees, maintenance allowance, research and travel allowance.
Designed to attract high quality students applying for PhD research.
Funding for PhD students undertaking interdisciplinary research at ECA. (£16,000 per year)
Open to overseas students starting a PhD at University of Edinburgh.