Current and Recent PhDs

Our PhDs are a key, and growing, part of our research community


Our PhDs are a key part of our research community, with dedicated office spaces, IT and performance/production facilities and administrative support at Magee campus, in addition to university-level support via the Doctoral College.

We currently have a total of approximately 25 PhD researchers from the UK and Ireland, as well as the rest of Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Many are funded by our Northern Ireland Department for Economy (DfE) and Vice Chancellor's Research Scholarship schemes, providing full fees coverage and, in many cases, significant subsistence coverage similar to UKRI levels. We support PhDs via part-time and full-time routes, and the PhD community includes researchers from across the UK, Ireland, continental Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.

We are a partner in the UK AHRC–funded Northern Bridge Consortium, in addition to running our own annual scholarship competition (deadlines generally in January/February each year).

In the 2019 Postgraduate Researcher Experience Survey (PRES), this unit performed above the sector average in a range of measures and was placed top in the university for research culture (GPA of 4.08).

As a University, Ulster was placed 2nd in the UK in 2021 for PhD researcher satisfaction and was placed 8th in the UK overall, and 3rd for research culture in 2019.

Recently completed projects include the following:

Recently Completed Projects
Year of completionNameSubjectTitle/Topic
2021Scott FlaniganMusicMechanisms as Development Devices in Contemporary Jazz Piano: Generating Original Improvised Vocabulary Through Analysis of the Music of Aaron Parks and Brad Mehldau
2021Jill SonkeDrama and NursingA Conceptual Model of Relationships Between Aesthetic Experience, Self-efficacy, and Behaviour Change in Arts-based Health Communication Programs
2021Matthew Jacobson MusicThe Space Between: exploring spontaneity, group interaction and social context in improvised performances of motivic compositions
2021John DeeryCinematic Arts/Film and ScreenResearching the use of filmmaking techniques for the representation of mental health struggles and suicidal ideation: Putting the Papageno Effect into Filmmaking Practice
2021Stephanie HarperHeritage and Museum StudiesInterpretation, Narration and Display of East Asian Collections: An Analysis of Irish Museum Approaches
2020 Gary Lutton Music Contemporary Steel-String Fingerstyle Guitar: Developing new vocabulary and improvisational approaches
2020 Aidan O'Donnell Music Tuning In: Practices in tuning and pitch related inflections in the Donegal fiddle sound community.
2020 Eleni Kolliopoulou Drama and Art and Design The body of the relationship. A practice-based exploration of the relationship between the body and its environment informed by the notion of Butoh-body. Three case studies in time-based art.
2020 Briony Widdis Heritage and Museum Studies Opening boxes: private collections and colonial history in Northern Ireland

Current PhD researchers

You can find out more about current PhD researchers and projects below.

Current PhD researchers and projects
Year of entryNameSubjectTitle/Topic
2021Lin ZhangCinematic Arts/Film and Screen Changeable Feminist films in China from 1980 to Present: Nation, Gender and Genre
2021Matthew CurranMusicDeveloping a New Sweep/Hybrid Approach in Picking Technique to Facilitate the Expansion of Dynamic and Harmonic Possibilities in Guitar Performance
2021Tasha CurryCinematic Arts/Film and ScreenBlood, Gore and Queer to the Core: Queering the Horror Genre and the Evolution of Representation
2021Meabh IversDramaAn Investigation into Dramatherapy as an effective intervention in helping Autistic children to develop their communication skills.
2021Keith O'GradyCinematic Arts/Film and ScreenGiving Voice to Autism through the Language of Cinema: Making Cinematic Forms of Knowledge that Challenge Representations and Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Condition
2021Darragh MorganMusic - PhD by Published WorkPhD by Published Work - title TBC
2020 Catherine McCullough Heritage and Museum Studies The EU and the Museum: an investigation of cross border museum projects in Ireland
2020 Aidan O'Rourke Music A portfolio of new Scottish music: expanding the language, form, diversity and relevance of traditional music in Scotland
2020 Suphi Keskin Cinematic Arts/Film and Screen The Evolution of Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Cinema: From Photographic Excellence to Cinematic Prose
2020 Tara Hegarty Cinematic Arts/Film and Screen Harpy, Mermaid, Nymph: Challenging gendered myth-making in representations of female mythical figures in contemporary screen adaptations through practice
2019 Adriana Valderrama Heritage and Museum Studies Curating the future? Conflict curatorial practice when working with a contested past.
2019 Paul O'Hagan Music Attribution, Assignment & Mediation: A Phenomenology of Music Copyright
2019 Gerard Gibson Cinematic Arts/Film and Screen Bodies at Rest and In Motion: Space, Place and Materiality in Cinematic Horror
2019 John Kavanagh Cinematic Arts/Film and Screen Murdering Men: Recontextualising the slasher subgenre’s metanarrative, killers, and victims through poststructural analysis
2019 Nicole Jabre Art and Design (lead); Film and Screen (joint) Branding Attitude: Can design be a catalyst for change?
2019 Lewis Smith Music Inclusive software design enabling disabled and no-disabled musicians to compose and perform music in an immersive virtual network
2018 Kristopher Reid Heritage and Museum Studies

Queering Northern Ireland’s Museums: LGBTQ+ rights, social justice and museum activism in a post-conflict society

2018 Amanda Finch Drama Ever More Crossed and Crossed': Cross-Gender Performance and Violence in Contemporary Productions of Shakespeare's Comedies 2000-2019
2018 Kevin Gaffney Cinematic Arts/Film and Screen Resisting Homonormativity in Filmmaking Practice
2017Kate BrownDramaAn investigation into the efficacy of arts interventions in supporting the development of agency in children living in direct provision
2017 Stephanie Harper Heritage and Museum Studies Rethinking the Display of East Asian Art Collections in Museums
2017 Scott Flanigan Music The contemporary Jazz pianist: synthesised approaches to contemporary jazz practices
2017 Lauren O'Neill Music and Irish Bairdne: a practice-led reimagination of harp accompaniments to Gaelic bardic poetry
2017 Karl Tizzard-Kleister Drama and Nursing Development of an interactive model of applied dramas, creative agency and critical reflection to advance ‘sympathetic presence’ within multidisciplinary teams.
2017 Dónall MacCathmhaoil Drama Authorship and Advocacy in Applied Theatre Practice in Northern Ireland
2017 Hamideh Javadi Cinematic Arts/Film and Screen Inside the Screen, outside the Ideological Borders: Exploring Alternative Female Representation in Iranian Avant-garde Screen Productions