Funded PhD Opportunities

3 PhD Studentships (Reference IDEAS 12)
Grays School of Art, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
IDEAS Research Institute for Innovation, Design And Sustainability

Closing Date: 9th April 2012

Applications are invited from excellent candidates for PhD studentships in the IDEAS Research Institute at The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. IDEAS is a multi-disciplinary research centre encompassing the disciplines of Architecture & Built Environment, Art & Design, Computing, Engineering and Environmental Science.

Theme: Creativity, Design & Innovation

Art in the Public Sphere: The Case of Feminist Manifestos

This PhD project will creatively contribute to the artistic and theoretical exploration of the unique interweaving of politics and poetics in this still under-researched genre of revolutionary discourse, the manifesto. The project will specifically address the contribution of visual art practice associated with second-wave and later feminist movements, focusing on lesser known British feminist manifestos produced in and since second-wave feminism, through the study of anthologised documents but also through archival research in libraries and special collections. One of the project’s aims is to not simply discover but also uncover feminist manifestos in unexpected forms and locations, in corroboration of the thesis that certain works of art, as well as the familiar written proclamations, may be considered as manifestos thanks to their reception, function and interpretation.

Dr Alexandra Kokoli: +44 (0)1224 263692,

Cultural Leadership, its role, processes and implications for cultural development

Applications are invited for a 3 year PhD to explore cultural leadership as a practice and its implications for social, cultural and economic development in a local and global context. Cultural leadership has emerged as a need that is sharply focused in particular in the fields of art and design. We do not sufficiently understand the practice of cultural leadership as it relates to art and design practices in particular in relation to coping with rapid change and increased levels of self organisation. This research will build on the AHRC funded Artist as Leader project (2006-8) initially mining this archive of 32+ in depth interviews with cultural leaders in Britain. The research will result in a framework for cultural leadership in Scotland that is informed by its rural culture. This research is timely because of the local initiatives in cultural development (City Gardens Project, related application for City of Culture 2017, national review of cultural delivery agencies, and emergence of new regional, lead cultural body: AB+).

The successful candidate will meet RGU’s criteria for eligibility and be able to demonstrate the potential to develop advanced research skills. They should hold a Master’s degree in Fine Art/Design, Art/Design History, Critical/Cultural Theory, or equivalent practice or policy experience. In the case of a practicing artist/designer or arts administrator, some experience in practice-led research would be an advantage. The prospective student should be highly self-motivated and have a keen and imaginative critical interest in the arts in contemporary life.

Professor Anne Douglas: +44 (0)1224 263647,

Smart Textiles for Health and Wellbeing

Technologically enhanced textiles can respond to a range of physical and psychological health barriers, which have the potential to transform lifestyles. Smart textiles can help manage body temperature, incorporate antimicrobial properties, provide insulation, breathability, compression, re-shaping, moisture absorption, articulation enabling mobility, constrain movement and improve circulation. Current textile products designed for medical application often do not provide satisfactory solutions because they don’t address the full range of an individual’s needs, which includes both the physical and the psychological. In recent years a number of technical innovations have shown potential but have not been successfully applied to provide solutions that meet the needs of individuals. Current products are related to monitoring health rather than providing a more interactive system that builds a stronger connection with the wearer, which are both responsive and adaptive and take into account an individual’s emotional needs.

We are looking for a design graduate with technical expertise to undertake a PhD programme of research with the aim of understanding how textile and clothing solutions can be designed to improve the quality of life for individuals experiencing long-term medical conditions, which have a direct impact on their mobility, self-esteem and wellbeing. Through the application of advanced technology and design, this project seeks to explore new wearable smart clothing concepts with direct relevance to a range of mobility related health issues. The project will investigate a range of new technologies from micro-scale computing (speckled) to combined laser scanning and laser cutting, and new materials in order to develop advanced clothing concepts that can be used to alleviate the effects of long term debilitating conditions.

The project is suitable for someone with a first degree in product or textile and/or fashion design. They should also have some basic knowledge of materials science and computer based technologies.

This PhD research programme builds on the current work of the Molecular Imprinted Textiles (MIT) group (a project funded by the Scottish Academy of Fashion), a Scottish Govt funded project ‘Future Textile Visions’ (FTV) and an AHRC network application currently awaiting decision. The project will be headed by Josie Steed, Course Director for Fashion and Textiles, and Julian Malins, Professor of Design at Gray’s School of Art.

Josie Steed: +44 1224 263678,

Candidates for the studentship must have a high quality Honours Degree (preferably a First Class) or a Masters qualification (or equivalent) in a relevant discipline. Each studentship provides full university fees for UK/EU applicants and a tax-free maintenance allowance of £13,590 per annum for 3 years. Additional fee support may be available to students who are not UK/EU residents and who would normally be required to pay the full overseas postgraduate fee. The studentships start on 1 October 2012.

Applicants should Apply Online at When applying, please click on advertised studentships and select IDEAS 12.

For further information on research at Robert Gordon University and in the IDEAS Research Institute, please see:

Informal enquiries may be addressed to potential supervisors or to the IDEAS Graduate School Leader, Professor Linda Lawton, + 44 (0)1224 262823/262473, email

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