I have no more openings for 09/2024 for PhD intake. I may have one spot for 09/2025 and one spot each for 02/2026 and 09/2026. I welcome proposals for funded Post-Doctoral positions (eg Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions), Early Career Fellowships and more (eg Leverhulme).

For my PhD viva voce at Slade School, University College London, I took my examiners out for a run. I passed. The last PhD I examined — and passed — involved a hike up a hill, during winter, which included performances in-situ (plus sweat, panting and cursing on the part of examiners). The hike was part of a submission by a former participant of my creative running studies activities, which had a written component in the form of a film script, for a doctoral degree undertaken at a School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies of a Russell Group University. If this sound like your cup of bubble tea, get in touch to work with me on your doctoral research at the University of Southampton, for a creative/artistic, practice-based PhD (20,000-40,000 words plus substantial practice component), and/or ‘straight’ PhD (<75, 000 words), in and beyond the creative and liberal arts and humanities (expanded, interdisciplinary, and ill-disciplinarily).

I’ve discussed extensively and come up with recommendations, toolkits, conceptual frameworks and more (such as here, here, here and here) to counter the detrimental culture of elitism, racism and ableism and continued harmful legacies of colonisation of knowledge and minds in the ivory tower. To help dismantle these ingrained (infra-)structures, supporting advanced research and studies is one of the many pathways of sustained action I engage in. My own entry and continued survival in Higher Education had been a fluke, with both parents who’d left school by 16 with no qualifications, and enabled only by three full scholarships for my undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies in UK, Chicago and London, and in the fiercely gate-kept field of Fine Art at that. In a time of blatant violation of international laws +common sense, and so much grief, we need, more than ever, to decolonise knowledge, and create new knowledge that can guide us towards collective liberation.

Thus, I particularly welcome research questions and approaches that other professors might dismiss as ‘risky’, ‘unconventional’, or ‘too niche’ — all words often thrown at me about my research. If you’ve think that academia isn’t for you, think again. I enjoy supporting those research inquiries are informed/shaped by their marginalised/minoritised backgrounds (eg global majority, Black, working class, transgender, neurodivergent, disabled and more). As your PhD Supervisor, I will be your critical friend, broker, mentor and cheerleader. Look elsewhere if your references are not decolonised, and/or if you aren’t aware of the need to dismantle epistemic injustice, and/or you situate yourself as a love child of dead white (continental / incontinent) men, patriarchal approaches, TERFs or Imperialist Feminism. Also turn away if you fixate on casting yourself as a romanticised outsider /’revolutionary anarchist’ who aren’t keen to help collectively make things more inclusive and creative in (and beyond) the university system. The gallery below highlights my postings on LinkedIn and Instagram on scholarship deadlines (I have left X). Open tabs on for more details.

DOES YOUR RESEARCH INQUIRY MATCH MY RESEARCH INTERESTS?

Create a one-page summary in text/flowchart/diagram of a proposal. Frame your topic as a question (with sub-questions). Point out what knowledge gaps you are addressing, why your method works, why you, why now. Use keywords/a couple of lines for each heading/node. You will have known that I am neurodivergent I will try to reply within two weeks. I will not reply if you send me a 20 page proposal, long and/or multiple emails.   

Before that, do study my recent links, website, tags, social media and more, to find out if we have matching research interests. My research inquiry include and are not limited to:

  • New, decolonised, critical & creative modalities of leadership; diversifying and widening ‘leadership’; reframing leadership as EDI-centred creative practice
  • Social/public/ community/protest art; socially-engaged art; art for social change;
  • Innovative, inter-/trans-disciplinary, inclusive thinking, making and change-making,
  • Anti-oppression, EDI, neuro-queering, disability, anti-racism, epistemic justice
  • Mobilities, borders, place & geopolitics;
  • Running as an arts & humanities discourse; running studies; running cultures
  • Arts-psychiatry, arts-health & art-science; creative health, health humanities, medical humanities; digital humanities
  • Fine/Visual art(s), Visual Culture
  • Live/performance art;
  • Curatorial research & practice;
  • Art writing; writing as art;
  • Film/video/media and locative art
  • Teaching and learning; critical pedagogy; creative practice pedagogy; HE culture;
  • The nature of knowledge; knowledge exchange, collaboration and co-creation

If not a direct match but you still desire to work with me, explain why, and say how my skills/knowledge can complement others in the Supervisory Team (there can be up to 3 supervisors).

WINCHESTER SCHOOL OF ART & UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON SPECS
FUNDED PhDs

If you have the financial means but wish to apply for a scholarship for its prestige, I’ll ask that you find other sources of prestige and let those who really need them get funded . Do find out about deadlines and ensure that you have plenty of lead-in time – for yourself, the slow machinery of university systems, as well as for your Supervisors. If recommendation letters are needed, I will ask you to write a draft, which will also be a good exercise in grasping what the asks are of each scheme.

University of Southampton Scholarships:

South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Programme:

  • Link here https://www.sww-ahdtp.ac.uk/student-activities/studentship-types-and-benefits/
  • Last year, UoS awarded 35% studentships to Global Majority applicants. 2024: it aims to award >5 to those from under-represented groups
  • The SWWDTP offers joint supervision between its 9 consortium members. Students will have access across to expertise through collaborative supervisory teams, ensuring breadth and depth of coverage for your project.
  • 2 pathways: 1) Student-Led Project Awards: propose your own research project or 2) Collaborative Doctoral Awards: help shape a project proposed by academics working with external partner organisations.

If this scheme doesn’t work for you, we can explore others.

ARTISTIC/CREATIVE RESEARCH SHOULD INCLUDE — BUT IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH — CUTTING EDGE ARTISTIC/CREATIVE PRACTICE

Can you frame what you wish to explore as a question and outline what + how you wish to uncover, and what your contributions to knowledge might be? Also ask: Why do you want to do a PhD? What can’t you do/get now as a creative practitioner? What can you give to the PhD  / university game  – what knowledge can you advance? Here are a few tips/highlights re artistic/creative research:

  • For a number of decades now the case has been made about what artistic /creative research (otherwise referred to as, although not necessarily synonymous with, ‘practice-led research’, ‘practice as research’, ‘practice research’ etc) is and, more excitingly, can be, and how it contributes to knowledge and even pushes the academy to re-imagine what constitutes knowledge and how knowledge is made, exchanged etc. Long story short: rather than as outcomes, ‘engagement’ or ‘impact’ to sex up ‘traditional’ research, artistic practice/processes/approaches/thinking-making like performance, drawing, creative running studies, dance, etc are the very methods of inquiry (research methods) and knowledge-creation. Often artistic researchers are having to use workarounds like ‘action research’ but it will be good to understand if the Academy has a more enlightened approach. Thank you.  For more analyses read Artists with PhDs: On the New Doctoral Degree in Studio Art (2009) by artist-theorist-historian-novelist Prof. James Elkins, and look at my entries under artistic/creative research.
  • A key point (and key cultural shift for artists/practitioners wanting to do a PhD) is to frame what you wish to explore as a research question which can be the title of your thesis, or encapsulated in the title. 
  • Another key point is to identify what your contributions to knowledge will be. The case has largely been made and the score settled regarding the complex value of artistic research in knowledge production (such as through seminal articles like Barrett 2007, provocations like those by artist-art-historian-professor-theorist-novelist James Elkins on artists with PhDs (2014) and platforms like the Society for Artistic Research, the associated manifesto and Journal for Artistic Research) — make sure you demonstrate your critical (self-)awareness of what the state of the art on artistic/creative research is, and how what you do in the way you do it adds value by augmenting and/or disrupting the discourse.
  • Further prompts: What do you wish to find out? What will you do to find this out? Why is this research required (what are the gaps in knowledge)? Whom/what are you taking on? Whom/what are you in solidarity with? Why this particular combination of knowledge? Why this question now (why does this matter? Who cares? What if we did nothing?) Why you? Why your approaches? What are your hypotheses? What did you discover? What were your limitations? What are your contributions to knowledge? How do you demonstrate that you are (on your way to) becoming an autonomous researcher and reflective practitioner?
  • As for how your practice relates (or not!) to the written component, and the possibilities of creative writing and writing as artistic practice etc etc etc – that’s all for you to tease out and explore — again in a self-reflexive way.
  • A sense of antagonism to institutional power isn’t new in the history of artistic practice and knowledge-pursuit and -creation, and also the intersection of both. You may like and welcome and perhaps need this antagonism (the same way the best artistic efforts often are created as responses to or at least within antagonism and boundaries). We can often romanticise about the ‘freedom’ in creative practice (I can do anything) especially vis-à-vis in our case the pursuit of a PhD, but as we know well, there are plenty of (overt and hidden and internalised) rules too in the art world.   
  • Translating artistic thinking into processes for knowledge-creation example: You enjoy not knowing what ideas will occur to you and how you will translate them or respond to them. Having a self-awareness of + articulating this self-awareness + situating how this draws on + differs from what is existing and how this contributes to/advances knowledge, would be an example of what a creative PhD entails.
  • A lovely, interactive, responsive website with resources on the artistic/creative PhD: https://artisticdoctorateresources.com/
  • This diagram (for funding bids) and advice on this website by Dr. Karen Kelsky is also very useful in understanding what research is.
  • Ask a research question that is AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE – we CANNOT try to resolve all the problems in the world and/or all the gaps in knowledge. We cannot take on everything or change the world via one thesis, so it will be wise to be as specific as possible, and to be clear about the gaps in knowledge that we are filling (ie why your research is needed).  
  • Good advice: article by a WSA Professor, Prof Sunil Manghani https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14702029.2021.1988276
  • On critical thinking: https://library.soton.ac.uk/sash/critical-thinkinggeneral
  • More general guidelines regarding UK PhD proposals https://www.vitae.ac.uk/doing-research/doing-a-doctorate/starting-a-doctorate/writing-a-research-proposal
  • Take a look at ‘Proposal example 2’ in this link which can be useful: https://www.yorksj.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research/apply/examples-of-research-proposals/
APPENDIX: SUPPORT FOR NEURODIVERGENT WRITING-UP

I can help doctoral candidates with learning/processing differences in many ways:

  • first and foremost, believe in you and act as your cheerleader!
  • work closely with you to devise strategies – practical, mental health and more — that we can keep fine-tuning in an iterative way, to make the writing / PhD process feel more manageable, and less painful (and even fruitful and enjoyable!)
  • Help make your contributions to knowledge explicit which is a key thing in a PhD
  • Examples:
    • make use of speech-to-text functionality of Teams;
    • use chunking / text blocks as roadmaps;
    • try out embodied approaches like physically cutting up texts by asking salient questions to help you structure your effusive thoughts
    • act as ‘grumpy 2nd reviewer’ (which I have been as reviewer for the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK Research and Innovation Talents scheme, Leverhulme, Iceland and Ireland) to help ‘slash and burn’ and conserve your energy (not overwrite, make points explicit etc.).
APPENDIX: TRANSFERRING TO WORK WITH ME

You can transfer from your university to come to work with me at the University of Southampton. There are technical hoops to jump but I will be happy to help.

  • Transferring is not a problem if you are self-funded.
  • If you receive funds from a scholarship of some sort, or part of a Doctoral Training Programme, then complications can occur.
  • You must must be a candidate for 12 months minimum here, but you will likely be able to include the time after submitting the thesis for examination and the viva.
  • For more information: Louise Pritchard L.M.Pritchard@soton.ac.uk

Caption for header image: Iterative course-discourse (Tan 2024, developed from those in Tan 2013).