PhD studentship: Mediatizing children’s spirituality: Broadcast collective worship for schools at the BBC in historical perspective

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship to document and detail the history of broadcast collective worship on radio, television and the internet (or a particular aspect thereof), particularly focused upon the BBC’s programme output across an extended period. The studentship is funded by the Leverhulme Trust, and is part of a wider funded research project led by Professor Stephen Parker entitled Faith on the Air: a religious educational broadcasting history, c.1920- present.

Collective worship has been a compulsory feature of maintained schools since the 1944 Education Act, though the BBC offered a schools service in the years prior to this, and has consistently done so ever since. Such programmes emerged from a particular religious broadcasting and educational context, and the objective of this studentship is to investigate the policy and decision-making behind broadcast output, and how and why this changed shape over time (if indeed they did). This will involve the student in detailed archival investigation at a range of national archives, both the BBC’s own and beyond, as well as oral history amongst those involved in religious and educational broadcasting work. In documenting the history an assessment will made of the broadcasts themselves, their shape, discourse, construction and theological underpinning, deploying a range of appropriate methodologies to study audio, visual and digital sources.

The student will carry out a research project that will, on successful completion, lead to the award of a higher research degree (PhD). The student will be expected to carry out their individual research study under the direction of Professor Parker.

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Applicants should preferably have a First or Upper Second (2.1) Honours Degree in a relevant subject area (e.g. History, Theology and Religious Studies, Media Studies). Excellent oral and written English are a must, as are a commitment and enthusiastic approach to completing a higher research degree. The successful applicant will receive a tax free bursary of £12,300 per annum from the University of Worcester plus a limited budget to support their research. Fees will be paid in full at the UK/EU rate for home and EU citizens. Overseas students are welcome to apply but due to funding restrictions will need to fund the balance of fees for Overseas Research Students (approx. £6000 per annum).

It is an expectation that the successful candidate will participate fully in the wider work of the Faith on the Air project, and to be actively involved in the life of the Institute of Education. It is an aim of the studentship to enhance employability, and consequently the successful candidate can expect to be supported to develop their higher education teaching practice.

For further details visit the Apply link below.

For an informal discussion on this project, please contact Professor Stephen Parker:

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact Mrs Helen Tabinor, Graduate Research School Manager (tel: 01905 855012, email:

Closing date for applications is 18th October, 2013.  Candidates will be invited for interview on 18th November, 2013.

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