Summary

Drawing on ongoing work in post-conflict media, media convergence and social change, the Centre for Media Research invites applications for a PhD which examines the potential for media to contribute to social justice. The proposed PhD candidate would explore the possibilities of transmedia texts to create a participatory media experience that draws in audiences to help solve complex social, cultural or political issues. This approach was popularised by the podcast Serial, but has extended out to other media forms such as Making a Murderer, and the podcasts The Missing Crypto Queen, and Death in Ice Valley. These texts use media as a contribution platform to draw on the collective skills and distinct knowledges of a crowd to contribute to solving a mystery.

This approach was used heavily in Alternate Reality Games during the late 1990’s and early 2000s, and has now shifted from solving fabricated puzzles in games like I Love Bees, The Beast, Why So Serious, and Conspiracy for Good, into working with real world case materials in long form, participatory, investigative journalism. This social justice storytelling has been explored in the article A Transmedia Topology of ‘Making a Murderer’ (Hook, Barrios-O’Neill & Mairs Dyer 2016) by staff at Ulster.

This PhD will explore practical ways that media and communication can contribute to social justice. The PhD would be co-supervised between Alan Hook, Dr Jolene Mairs-Dyer and Dr Stephen Baker and comprise of both a written thesis with core case studies, and the testing of core theories through applied research, the creation of an investigative piece of practice, and a set of results from the project. It is expected that candidates will be able to present possible research contexts, or cases for investigation in the application process.


Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.

    The University offers the following awards to support PhD study and applications are invited from UK, EU and overseas for the following levels of support:

    Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

    Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £15,500 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

    Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £7,750 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

    Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

    This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Department for the Economy (DFE)

    The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £ 15,500 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). EU applicants will only be eligible for the fee’s component of the studentship (no maintenance award is provided). For Non-EU nationals the candidate must be "settled" in the UK. This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

    Due consideration should be given to financing your studies; for further information on cost of living etc. please refer to: www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/fees-and-funding/financing-your-studies


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The Doctoral College at Ulster University