AHRC/ESRC Doctoral Studentship

University of Leeds


The University of Leeds is offering a PhD studentship, based in the School of English and the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities, for a doctoral researcher commencing a full-time PhD programme in English studies in October 2013. The student will form part of the AHRC and ESRC-funded project on ‘Representing Communities: Developing the Creative Power of People to Improve Health and Well-being’, which involves collaboration with the universities of Birmingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, Highlands and Islands, and South Wales. The doctoral researcher will work on a defined topic as part of this project, entitled ‘Community health and wellbeing in contemporary British fiction and culture’, and will be supervised by Dr Clare Barker.

The project

The PhD student’s role in the project will be to conduct an in-depth study of health and wellbeing as they are conceptualised, contextualised and interrogated by contemporary British writers. There will be scope for the successful applicant to determine the particular texts under analysis and to shape the emphases of the thesis, but he/she will be required to focus on disadvantaged or stigmatised groups in regional, working-class, ethnic minority, non-metropolitan and/or urban subcultural literatures, and to cover a range of different community representations. The thesis should draw on mid-late 20th and 21st century fictions from England, Scotland and Wales, and it will consider socioeconomic and cultural factors that affect health and wellbeing for particular communities (e.g. unemployment, poverty, post-industrial decline, migration, community stigmatisation, negative reputational geographies). Further details of the project and the application process are available here.

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Studying at Leeds

The School of English at the University of Leeds is one of the top-rated departments in the country, judged ‘excellent’ in its teaching, and amongst the top 10 English departments in the country for research (RAE2008, GPA 2.95; RAE2001, 5*A). The successful applicant will also be affiliated with the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities (see http://lcmh.wordpress.com/).


  • The studentship is open to Home/EU applicants. This award is not open to applicants who are liable to pay academic fees at the international fee rate (EU candidates are normally eligible for a fees only award, unless they have been resident in the UK for 3 years immediately preceding the date of the award).
  • Applicants must hold at least a UK Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in English Literature. A Master’s degree in a relevant subject must be awarded or pending by 1 October 2013.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must meet the University’s English Language requirements (scores must be no more than two years old by 1 October 2013).
  • Preference may be given to applicants who can demonstrate a substantial grounding and interest in contemporary literature and/or in studying health-related topics.

Application procedure

The closing date for applications is 12 July 2013. (Shortlisted applicants may be interviewed in person or by telephone).

Details of the application process for postgraduate study at Leeds can be found at http://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/20023/postgraduate_research/86/applying_for_research_degrees and specific guidance for applicants to the School of English is available here: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/125018/postgraduate/1366/postgraduate_research_degrees
In lieu of the usual research proposal, applicants should provide a statement of research intent of 1,000 words maximum. Please explain your interest in the topic, describe any relevant experience you have in studying contemporary literature and/or health-related topics, and indicate why this experience would prepare you for this particular PhD project. It would also be advantageous to outline how you might approach the specified PhD topic, detailing which communities you might prefer to focus on in the thesis and giving a sense of any writers and/or texts that you would be interested in covering.

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For further information and informal advice on constructing an application, applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Clare Barker: Phone: 0113 343 4750; Email: c.f.barker@leeds.ac.uk .

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