Funded PhD Opportunity Catalyst Arts: Impact of 25 Years of Creative Exchanges and Artists Collectives in Northern Ireland

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory


2018 marks the 25th year of Catalyst Arts in Belfast, an artist run organisation at the heart of the contemporary visual arts in Northern Ireland. Through this platform artists and cultural activists have exemplified the open and shared meanings of collaborative art practice, expanded the social space of public art through civil engagement and participation and interrogating practices around cultural archives and histories in Northern Ireland. From and alongside numerous creative exchanges and artist collectives/organisations have emerged to provide a significant proportion of the visual arts infrastructure in Northern Ireland.

Applications are invited for the PhD project that investigates this open and shared meaning of collaboration and the history, legacy and impact of artists collectives and initiatives on creative and cultural industries and enhancing social, economic and improving quality of life in Northern Ireland.

The project aims to assess the different forms of creative collaborations and collectives and evaluate the impact of their contribution on art and artists as well as the broader cultural industries and socio-economic context. It is expected that the project will focus mainly on Catalyst Arts through its archive and community of ex-directors, collaborators and partners. A series of in-depth interviews will be undertaken with current and ex-directors spanning the 25 years of the organisations history. This research builds on extensive research and activity in this field and we are interested in receiving proposals to develop a body of research (either a combination of visual and text-based research, or a solely text-based research proposal) for a three-year full time PhD.

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

Dr Cherie Driver

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #237440 when applying for this PhD opportunity