Funded PhD Opportunity An archive of Modern Conflict

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory


The Belfast Exposed organisation started in 1983 as an interior response to the on-going conflict in Northern Ireland. Housed in the Centre of the City, it is a repository for a number of photographic legacies, none of which have been evaluated or published in coherent form. Instead they have been used as occasional resources for more recent community practices and as materials in police and other enquiries. By reaching working class experiences of the conflict, the archive potentially holds a genuinely singular response.

This research will initiate a full and immersed engagement with arguably one of the key indigenous archives of the Troubles and allow an appreciation and understanding of their contribution to the understanding of the region whilst in conflict. It also provokes questions of the potential of documentary practice and community integration, with much of the work only made through invitation from sources within particular political communities. The candidate will bring experience and perspective on the role of photographic archives, their potential for impact, education and enhanced knowledge of conflict, class and culture. After early review, the candidate will wish to look at the work in the context of other contributions made in the region, several of which remain with photographers in Belfast. Given their age, ethical issues are also inevitably foregrounded, with subjects and participants alive and with the appropriate use and custody of such materials yet to be resolved or examined.

The research will allow an engagement with these questions and allow the work to be published in substantial form for the first time. Access to the archive, to the photographers still living and to the wider environment that surrounds the materials has been agreed with Belfast Exposed. Opportunities for exhibited outputs and related research events will be considered as part of their future schedule. This will disseminate the work, allow oral accounts and field research to be impactful, inclusive and immersed. As well as the academic interrogation of these materials, it would be impactful, purposeful and of cultural importance for the candidate to be able to propose strategy on the future operational structure of the archive as a viable, ‘living’ and hitherto undervalued account of a modern conflict.

Essential Criteria

  • Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC)
  • Sound understanding of subject area as evidenced by a comprehensive research proposal
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
  • Practice-based research experience and/or dissemination
  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Work experience relevant to the proposed project


    Vice Chancellors Research Scholarships (VCRS)

    The scholarships will cover tuition fees and a maintenance award of £15,009 per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). Applications are invited from UK, European Union and overseas students.


    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £15,009 per annum for three years. EU applicants will only be eligible for the fees component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided).  For Non EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK.

Other information

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Launch of the Doctoral College

Current PhD researchers and an alumnus shared their experiences, career development and the social impact of their work at the launch of the Doctoral College at Ulster University.

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The PhD training programme and regular supervision contacts have provided the direction and support necessary to ensure that I deliver a quality thesis in a timely manner.I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working at Ulster University and feel it has put me in a better position to sustain a full time career as an artist and academic in the years to come.

Jacqueline Wylie

Key Dates

Submission Deadline
Monday 19 February 2018
Interview Date
12th to 16th March 2018

Contact Supervisor

Mr Ken Grant

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #236987 when applying for this PhD opportunity