PhD Studentship – The Philosophy of Automotive Design Practice

Funded by: Coventry University
Fees: UK/EU fee equivalent for three years
Maintenance grant: £13,726 maintenance per annum (tax free)

Studentship academic contact  Professor David Durling

External collaborators (if applicable) Automotive Industry

Details of proposed research:
This PhD studentshipwill establish a robust knowledge base to underpin understanding of the drawing/clay-modelling process by which automotive forms are derived, examining the motivations and philosophies that underpin these activities. The study is expected to make comparisons with other craft-based practices.

The knowledge generated will present a transferable methodological framework that will enable an evidence based approach to automobile form making, and enable future developments in the practice in line with variance, context and objectives relevant to a developing industry influenced by global change. It will be an enabler of innovation in this area through an understanding of the philosophy behind the processes, and the opportunity to propose changes in future practice.

Candidate specification

Please note that only UK/EU fee payers are eligible to apply

This is a re-advertisement- previous applicants need not reapply

Coventry university standard entry criteria for applicants to PHD

This study will suit students holding a masters degree in design or cognate area, with a strong interest in design process.

Further details
Coventry CSAD is famous for its automotive design education and has a world reputation for producing designers of exterior and interior automotive form. Coventry is the world’s oldest and still the most prolific producer of graduate practitioners in this area, having close links to the automotive companies in the region and globally, with a strongly associated alumni group.

Also Read  EPSRC PhD studentship: Low carbon district heating: A socio-technical analysis of evolving social practices, values and relationships

The practice of automotive form-making still involves the low-tech craft practice of clay modelling as the process of translating hand drawing to 3D form. This is still the central practice of this activity in the professional design studios, reflected in the Coventry education. The substantial application of CAD and use of CNC/RP modelling is also important in the educational programme.

The Coventry education in this area has a strong practice base, with the ‘master/student’ atelier model central to its method, which is reflected in its competitor institutions globally. This model is of inherited practice, supported by work placement and other industry facing experience.

Closing date: August 28th 2013
Interview date: will be notified to shortlisted candidates 

To view details of Studentship, please visit the link:

For an application form please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

For guidance on writing a proposal, please visit the following link

Complete the application form and return with a covering letter to:
Research Recruitment and Admissions team
Student Centre
Coventry University
Priory Street
United Kingdom


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