Funded PhD Opportunity Archiving fashion and textiles

This opportunity is now closed.

Subject: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory


Since the millennium Irish fashion designers, Irish textiles, even Irish fashion models, have become increasingly sought after in the international fashion world, in the fashion press and even at annual fashion weeks. As a creative industry, Irish fashion and textile design has grown exponentially in recent decades.  In 2002, for instance, it was estimated that in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland the “Clothing and Textile sector” had a combined turnover of £1.5 billion, employing 20,000 people in over 500 firms (Central Statistics Office, Census of Industrial Production, 2002 (Ireland); Statistics & Social Research Branch, DETI).  However, little remains known of the wider context for fashion and textiles on the island of Ireland (there are only two small books on the history of Irish fashion, for instance) and to this end we are offering a doctoral place to a researcher interested in locating and interpreting archives and collections of Irish fashion and textiles.

Outside socio-economic study there has been little research conducted on the pioneering design and technological advances of this industry, its unique cultural meaning and importance and its impact locally and globally, and, more significantly, its material legacy.  The opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles and Fashion Study and Conservation, in October 2013, has stimulated a greater interest in the fashion industry in its own archive and it is in this context that we foresee a successful candidate formulating a project to reconsider Irish fashion and textiles that will make local/regional/national archives and collections more accessible (possible collaborators include the National Museum of Ireland, the National Museums of Northern Ireland, the various local, regional and civic museums and collections held by the National Trust).

Applications must address specific art and/or design history questions regarding Irish fashion and textiles but applications with a practice-based element will also be considered.

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
  • 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 18 February 2019
Interview Date
18 to 22 and 25 to 28 March 2019


Belfast campus

Belfast campus
At the centre of the civic evolution in Belfast

Contact Supervisor

Dr Joseph McBrinn

Other Supervisors

Apply online

Visit and quote reference number #341379 when applying for this PhD opportunity