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Research Scholarships

Fully funded research scholarships in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Lancaster University

Fully funded research scholarships

We are currently offering three exciting PhD scholarships that include all tuition fees and a contribution of £15,000 towards maintenance costs for students starting their course in 2020/21.

One scholarship is available in each of the following three subjects and applications are welcome from UK, EU and overseas students.

Cultures of Creative Practice and Social Change (Department of Languages and Cultures)

The Department of Languages and Cultures at Lancaster University has a significant cluster of researchers working in creative literary and cultural practices and in projects that foster new understandings of socio-cultural phenomena and their capacity to influence and promote social change.

This dedicated PhD studentship provides the opportunity to pursue research into areas that build on these specialisms. Interested applicants should address one or more of the following areas of enquiry and work should be in one or more of the department’s major languages: Chinese, French, German, or Spanish.

  • How can we theorise translation as a creative and/or critical practice? Research here might be ‘applied’ to a specific corpus of creative publications (in agreement with the supervisor/s).
  • How are digital literatures and new hybrid forms generating new creative futures?
  • How can creative work be socially useful, either by influencing cultural-political practices or by expressing aesthetic resistance to oppressive forces and advocating for social change?
  • Authorship, collaborative creativity, and their outreach – can creative practices be furthered through residency programmes (and how can extra-literary practices of this kind by gauged)?

Successful grant-driven projects have produced publication outputs in areas as diverse as authorship, digital literature and culture, translation practices, and social change. For many of these projects, visits and residencies by creative practitioners (writers, translators, actors) have formed an integral part and have generated extensive research-related impact evidence, for example in the areas of literary and cultural practice (‘Authors and the World’ Hub) and in cross-over work with medical humanities (e.g. ‘Albinism in Africa’).

Please contact Professor Allyson Fiddler ( to discuss your interest in this fully funded PhD.

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Rurality, Help-Seeking and Care Proceedings (Law School)

This PhD focuses on the role of place and how place affects children’s life chances with an emphasis on deprived, rural locations and their intersection with the family justice system.

We are particularly interested in post-industrial areas where pressing questions are being asked about high rates of care proceedings.

The aim is to carry out a qualitative study examining help-seeking behaviours amongst parents experiencing parenting difficulties and child protection problems, so as to explore opportunities and barriers to accessing and receiving help from informal and formal support systems. 

In-depth interviews will be held with parents with experience of child protection, pre-proceedings or care proceedings. A small number of focus groups will be held with professional organisations such as local authority children’s services and private law firms, in order to triangulate themes.

Research into this topic will build on work that is already being carried out by the Centre for Child and Family Justice on help-seeking behaviour and family justice.

We are seeking a student with a keen interest in qualitative research into place, deprivation and involvement in the family justice system. The studentship is suitable for students with a strong academic background educated to Masters level, but we will also consider candidates with a strong policy and practice profile.

The PhD would be jointly supervised by Professor Judith Harwin (Law School) and Professor Karen Broadhurst (Department of Sociology).

Please contact Professor Judith Harwin ( to discuss your interest in this fully funded PhD.

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Transnationalism, Mobility & Borders (Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts)

This PhD provides an exciting opportunity to participate in a rich exchange of intellectual perspectives relating to the Institute’s disciplines, while focussing on the research theme “Transnationalism, Mobility & Borders”.

The PhD research will will use practice-based and/or critical research on pressing contemporary issues such as migration and refugeeism, racism, xenophobia, violence and populist politics, postcolonialism and decolonization, globalization and inequality, transport, technology and mediation. The Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts (LICA) incorporates Art, Design, Architecture, Film and Theatre. We are open to proposals for projects that are either broadly situated within any of the five disciplines or that cross disciplinary boundaries.

In LICA, as theorists and practitioners, we are concerned with the analysis and production of creative work in various forms, and we are interested in the relationship between politics and aesthetics and the ways in which ideas, images and objects, gestures, performances and bodies can reveal, cross or subvert borders, challenging conventional ways of viewing and thinking about the world.

At the foundation of our engagement with these issues is a recognition of the importance of research and teaching that is politically and socially engaged. To this end, LICA provides a supportive context for interdisciplinary thought, bringing together researchers who work in the fields of design thinking and mobilities research, theatre and performance studies, film studies, visual culture and fine art, and much of whose work crosses the boundary between theory and creative practice. As a space for dialogue between researchers working in a variety of disciplines and conceptual frameworks, LICA is uniquely placed to address the dynamic complexity of the questions posed by a rapidly changing and increasingly bordered world.

Please contact Dr Jen Southern ( to discuss your interest in this fully funded PhD.

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Further information

Funding available

The funding will cover your course fees for the duration of your PhD studies and we will contribute £15,000 per year towards maintenance costs.

Deadline for applications

You should submit your application by 5pm GMT on Friday 28 February 2020.

If you have not already done so, apply for a PhD in the appropriate department through the University’s online application system. Simply create an account on the My Applications website and then select ‘Create a new application’ from your homepage once you are logged-in. In the Source of Funding section of your online programme application, please indicate the title of the scholarship for which you are applying.

In addition, complete and return the Faculty Scholarship Application Form 2020-2021 to the appropriate departmental contact below.

The scholarships will be awarded on a competitive basis. Candidates will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • Potential for an original contribution.
  • Evidence of scholarly ability:
         - clear and concise description of the study
         - awareness of current literature in the field
         - understanding of research methodology appropriate for an early stage postgraduate student
         - a research project that can be completed within the timeframe allowed for a PhD

All students are welcome to apply, whether you are from the UK, EU or overseas.

Please contact the relevant Department to make an informal enquiry about your area of interest.