ESRC White Rose DTP Collaborative Studentship: Public Arts for Inclusive Placemaking: Perceptions, Evaluations and Actions

University of Leeds – School of Geography

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Leeds
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £14,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 29th January 2019
Closes: 8th March 2019

Session 2019-20 – Closing Date 17:00 (UK time) 8 March 2019

Project:  Public Arts for Inclusive Placemaking:  Perceptions, Evaluations and Actions

The studentship is supported by an award from the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership (WRDTP), accredited by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

The scholarship provides fees and maintenance at standard Research Council Rates (£14,777 in Session 2018/19) for eligible applicants.

Are you a talented researcher with a minimum UK Upper Second Class Honours or equivalent and looking for your next challenge? Do you have a research background in social sciences and/or geohumanities with particular interest in public arts, placemaking and issues revolving around social inclusivity? Do you also have professional experience relevant to the scope of the project and/or experience of belonging to a collaborative team? Do you want to pursue your career in one of the UK’s leading research-intensive Russell Group universities and a world-class Geography department?

The successful doctoral candidate will be based in the School of Geography at the University of Leeds and supervised by Dr Martin Zebracki, Principal Academic Supervisor; Prof Robert Vanderbeck, Academic Co-Supervisor; and the Project Partner Supervisor, Frances Smith, Principal Consultant at Beam, the trading name of leading UK arts organisation Public Arts.

This research project will make a significant contribution to understanding the role of artists and participatory arts in placemaking practices to promote social inclusivity. It addresses a significant gap by the rigorous study of related perceptions, evaluations and actions, drawing from archival material, observations and interviews in carefully selected case studies where artists have worked closely with planners and local and marginalised communities. The candidate will benefit from the supervisors’ expertise in this topic area, training in cutting-edge research methods and the project partner’s rare access to resources and links with beneficiaries to maximise impact.

This studentship will develop in-depth, practical insights within the thematic remit of ESRC WRDTP’s Cities, Environment, and Liveability (CEL) pathway by direct involvement in Making the Case, a strategic collaborative research project that the project partner Beam manages in further collaboration with the national Arts & Place Consortium. This allows the candidate to establish a comprehensive body of knowledge of the role of public art in urban planning and public policy evaluation.

This project will not only redress the lack of first-hand research at the intersection of public-art-led placemaking and processes of social inclusion and exclusion. The CEL pathway will provide this studentship with synergetic opportunities for building collaborations with both ESRC WRDTP’s as well as Beam’s local, multi-regional and international key stakeholders. It will contribute policy, arts sector and public value by pursuing impact activities through the project partner’s network of consultants and trustees, members of the Arts & Place Consortium and its wider connections within the creative, cultural and heritage industries.

Hence, this project will enhance academic, policy-relevant and impactful research in CEL’s key areas, whilst serving as an interlocutor for Beam’s strategic Making the Case project to advocate best practices of inclusive placemaking and models for wide implementation. Furthermore, this studentship will contribute to CEL’s research community by providing wider opportunities, such as think-tank seminars and collaborative grant writing, for enhancing innovative scholarship and interdisciplinary research excellence.

The online application form can be found at: link:

Further information on the application procedure can be found at

For more information on the project, please contact Dr Martin Zebracki at M.M.Zebracki [AT]

*Image credit: Wakefield precinct sketch by Tess Jaray

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