Music Drama Dance Performing Arts Film & Screen Studies (including Heritage & Museum Studies) - Research
Research at Ulster in subjects related to performing arts, creative technologies, museum and heritage studies and associated cultural contexts is combined within this unit. PhD research can be pursued in the following individual subject areas: Cinematic Arts (film/moving image practice and film and screen studies), Drama, Heritage and Museum Studies and Music.
We are a research–intensive unit combining these subject areas, with staff working in a wide range of areas within and across these disciplines. In our REF 2014 submission for this unit, nearly 60% of our research outputs and 100% of the impact of our work on policy and creative practice was rated 4* (world- leading) and 3* (internationally excellent). The impact of our research was judged to be 90% 4*, jointly ranked second in the UK, and one of only a handful of Units of Assessment to achieve this score across the whole sector.
The range of subjects within this grouping contributes to a vibrant research culture which encompasses both individual subject areas and interdisciplinary opportunities.
Applicants are encouraged to contact potential supervisors in good time to discuss draft research proposals. For general enquiries please contact the Research Director, Dr Brian Bridges.
Research Groups and Themes
In addition to our work within the individual subjects above, the following interdisciplinary themes also support collaborative research:
(1) Applied Arts (including Performance and Health, Community Arts, etc.)
(2) Arts and Conflict
(3) Arts Practices and Practice-as-Research
(4) Creative Industries and Technologies
Doctoral researchers within this unit will therefore have opportunities to develop their profiles both within their own subject areas and disciplines and within broader academic and professional spheres.
Research Environment and Facilities
In addition to our collaborations across disciplines, our unit benefits from its connections with a range of partnerships with key arts and cultural organisations across the UK and Ireland, including the BBC, RTÉ, National Museums Northern Ireland, the Contemporary Music Centre (IE), Sound and Music (UK), Nesta, the Abbey Theatre, the Playhouse Theatre, Cultúrlann uí Chanáin, Void Gallery, the Nerve Centre, FabLab NI, the Walled City Music Festival and City of Derry Jazz Festival. The majority of our researchers are based at Magee campus in Derry/Londonderry, the inaugural UK City of Culture (2013).
A significant proportion of our PhD Researchers in recent years have been awarded scholarships from Department for the Economy (DfE) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
PhD Researchers within Cinematic Arts, Creative Technologies, Drama, Museum and Heritage Studies and Music are are primarily based in state-of-the-art facilities located in the Foyle Arts Building on the Magee campus, recently the subject of a £3m renovation. PhD Researchers can avail of reserved desk space within this building.
Additional technical and performance resources include:
- 2 computer labs, each featuring 25 Apple Intel iMacs (upgraded in 2015 and 2017 respectively) for a range of media and music technology applications: Avid, Adobe Creative Suite, Logic Pro, Max, etc.
- 2 main drama studios and 1 dance/physical theatre studio. The bigger drama studio is a 'black box' space, 18m x 6m , and is a fully equipped performance venue with moving truss, a broad range of stage lanterns with 512 DMX Channel Lighting Control and a 16 Channel Sound desk, with an audience capacity of 100 (tiered). The second drama studio is 12m x 6m, also fully equipped, and has a capacity of 50.¯
- 1 colour grading suite for Cinematic Arts.
- 2 recording studios: one 'traditional' stereo studio (Genelec monitoring, Quad Core Mac Pro, Logic Pro, Mackie Control, with outboard from TC Electronics, Focusrite, TL Audio, Drawmer; microphones from DPA, Neumann, AKG, Soundfield, Beyerdynamic, Sennheiser, Rode, Sure); one spatial audio studio (monitoring based on KRK speakers and subs).
- Electronic instruments: a vintage EMS Synthi (classic semi-modular from 1971); Patchblocks (modular audio devices), various MIDI controllers.
- A chamber music recital room.
- Our instrument collection includes a harpsichord, chamber organ, and 2 grand pianos.
- 2 3D printers and various physical computing devices (multiple Arduino boards, sensors, etc.)
Campus facilities include an extensive library stock (including a large CD and DVD collection), with well-developed collections of books and electronic resources. The University libraries also have extensive specialist resources, including the TransGender Archive, CAIN (materials relating to the NI Troubles period), and the John Hewitt Collection, amongst others. The campus is also a train or bus journey from the Linenhall Archives and PRONI in Belfast, and the National Library and National Archives in Dublin, and PhD Researchers are able to avail of the SCONUL library access scheme to gain access to other UK and Irish research libraries.
Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study. We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master's Degree with Distinction.
In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.
Get additional information for International applicants at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/doctoralcollege/postgraduate-research/apply/international-students
English language requirements
In order to be admitted to research study at Ulster, you will need to provide evidence of your English language proficiency as part of your application.
Get full details on the requirements for both home and overseas applicants can be found on our English language requirements page.
We are delighted that you are considering Ulster University for your research studies.
Get full details on the application process and further guidance on how to apply, and what you will need to upload as part of your application (see "Application Weblink" below.
Once you have identified supervisors, discussed a research proposal and are ready to make an application, please apply using the online application system (see "Application Weblink" below.
Ulster University welcomes applications from all sections of the community and from persons with disabilities. It is University policy to assess all applications using academic criteria and on the basis of equality of opportunity and you should be assured that reasonable adjustments will be made should you require them.
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Careers and opportunities
PhD graduates are recognised by employers to hold valuable transferrable skills, as the nature of the degree trains candidates in creativity, critical inquiry, problem solving, negotiation skills, professionalism and confidence.
The most recent Ulster survey of PhD graduates found that 92% had secured employment within the first year since graduation (HESA Destination of Leavers Survey 2015), and while two thirds end up in the Higher Education or Research sectors, the range of skills acquired equips the remainder for employment in a wide range of contexts.