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Artists Networks: whose voice counts? Researching disconnects with and for artists from the Global Majority in the Yorkshire region


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Wednesday 6 March 2024
Project start date
Tuesday 1 October 2024
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Source of funding
Research council
Dr Robert Knifton
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This project will collaboratively examine approaches to the critical absence of research on the involvement of artists from the Global Majority within artist-led networks in the Yorkshire region. The positive impact of participation in networks supports artistic resilience across social, economic and cultural value systems (Holden 2015, Virani et al. 2021). Artists from the Global Majority are not connected and lack visibility, particularly if their art practices arise from non-western aesthetic traditions. As ongoing research by the Yorkshire &amp; Humber Visual Arts Network (YVAN), impacts and practices will be shared and contribute to fair and equitable arts policy frameworks.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The Business Resilience and the Visual Arts Report (Space, 2021) evidenced that the strength of peer networks is a key factor for a flourishing visual arts sector with benefits to the artist and economy. Ecology of Culture (Holden, 2015) explains how network participation enhances social capital such as community, validation, adaptability and peer art critique, whilst (Space, 2021) demonstrates networks as engines for generating income, both of which are critical to the sustainability and survivability of the visual artist.</p> <p>Project findings (YVAN 2022) that examined the informal network as a mechanism for artist&#39;s resilience practices demonstrates that Global Majority artists are not connected in the current network of networks in the region. If artists are participating, they and their cultural outputs are under-represented, particularly if their art practices arise from non-western aesthetic traditions.</p> <p><strong>Research Questions</strong></p> <ol> <li>What are the barriers to the active participation of Global Majority artists?</li> <li>Where does value lie within the relationships and organisational structures therein?</li> <li>What peer-led participative research methods would facilitate data gathering whilst strengthening connections and collective action for and by Global Majority artists?</li> <li>What approaches would be adopted that mobilise programmes of post-colonial activism in the fields of arts and humanities research that lead to a step change in institutional norms and behaviours?</li> </ol> <p><strong>Methodology</strong></p> <p>The student would be encouraged to adopt novel research methodologies to gather and disseminate findings whilst empowering action led by participants, including: reading groups; wider community collaboration; art making; publication; social media; public events; and interviews.</p> <p>YVAN has extensive experience of curating action-based research and has extensive primary research materials including databases of networks.</p> <p><strong>Scope for autonomy</strong></p> <p>The format and conceptual approach would propose a radical revision that takes its starting point from practices and texts by Global Majority artists, critical writers and theorists. There remains significant scope for the student to refine the research questions and for the framing and choice of methods to match their skills and interests.<br /> There are precedents set by YVAN&#39;s current CDA researchers of the benefits of international research trips that include speaking to conference and at events, and instigating placements that foster future employability as a researcher, including 3 months with UK Govt Dept. for Work and Pensions.</p> <p><strong>About YVAN</strong></p> <p>Yorkshire &amp; Humber Visual Arts Network (YVAN) supports visual arts practice across the region and is part of the national Contemporary Visual Arts Network (CVAN). YVAN is committed to ensuring that the visual arts is contemporary, inclusive and diverse; and challenges itself to examine all bias and prejudice that prevents the enrichment, experience and participation in cultural life forall.</p> <p>YVAN&#39;s governance structure was systemically restructured in 2021 in response to its commitment to leading research and evidence collection and to drive forward an Anti-Racism Framework at organisational level. YVAN structure embeds working groups - Learning &amp; Research, and Equity, Diversity &amp; Wellbeing - that include Global Majority academics, artist practitioners and third sector specialists.</p> <p>YVAN&#39;s business and strategic plan (with Performance Indicators) includes the development of this CDA research to tackle the poor representation for Global Majority artists in current networks. Our programme over the last four years has been research-led and there is extensive data and reports to be used as primary research materials, alongside the involvement of artists who could be invited into further research exercises.</p> <p><strong>YVAN Annual Report</strong></p> <p></p> <p>Engagement, outreach, dissemination and impact initiatives The researcher has the opportunity to collaborate and contribute to a range of YVAN&#39;s public-facing activities that engage Global Majority arts audiences and related publics, and benefit from being situated in a broader field of visual arts practice. The Learning &amp; Research Working Party will provide a regular internal support mechanism and co-produce knowledge exchange with Global Majority organisations and artists.</p> <p>Researcher-led activities can be supported by YVAN&#39;s staff team with marketing and admin input.</p> <p>The student will be invited to help deliver YVAN&#39;s work such as BTO3 exhibitions, monthly online &#39;socials&#39;, regional symposium (2026) and publications, all of which provide a creative platform for evidence collection and dissemination.</p> <p>Opportunities include:</p> <ul> <li>Co-produce events with YVAN&#39;s current Collaborative Doctoral Award researchers in partnership with Universities of Leeds (WRoCAH) and Newcastle (Northern Bridge) on the sustainability, impact and value of artist networks in the Yorkshire region</li> <li>Help shape Arts Council England-awarded Nourish programme for artist networks&#39; support and cross-fertilisation</li> <li>Add to a detailed database and map of regional active artist networks</li> <li>Disseminate findings through a new website development for YVAN that incorporates research initiatives</li> </ul> <p>The impact of this research on YVAN is critical in building knowledge and resources for Global Majority artists to fully participate in the visual arts.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Financial support</strong></p> <p>Collaborative doctoral studentships are&nbsp;40 months in duration for full-time study and&nbsp;are subject to satisfactory academic progress. Awards must be taken up in October 2024;&nbsp;no deferrals are possible. &nbsp;Awards may be taken up on a part-time basis if a student is eligible to undertake part-time study; international applicants may be required to study full-time by the terms of their visa.</p> <p>Please see the funding details here for further information:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p><strong>By 12 noon Wednesday 6 March 2024,</strong> applicants are required to submit to WRoCAH an<strong> <a href="">Expression of&nbsp;Interest (EOI)</a></strong>, which should include:</p> <ul> <li>A CV with details of academic qualifications</li> <li>A covering letter comprising a two-page statement to convey your&nbsp;motivation and enthusiasm for the project, and to demonstrate your&nbsp;suitability for your intended PhD studies with the University and Project&nbsp;Partner. The covering letter should specifically highlight the following:</li> <li>Your interest in the project and details on why you have chosen that&nbsp;University and Project Partner.</li> <li>How you will apply your current skills, knowledge and experience to&nbsp;undertake a PhD and the approach you would take&nbsp;to&nbsp;develop the project.</li> <li>How the project fits into your career plans and ambitions.</li> </ul> <p>More details can be found&nbsp;<a href="">here&nbsp;</a></p> <p><strong>By 11th March&nbsp;2024&nbsp;</strong>&ndash;&nbsp;alongside your<strong> </strong><a href=""><strong>expression of interest&nbsp;form</strong> </a>you should also submit&nbsp;an<strong> <a href="">application for an academic place&nbsp;for&nbsp;a PhD</a></strong>&nbsp;in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies so we can ensure you meet the programme requirements before shortlisting.</p> <p>You will also need to provide the following&nbsp;supporting documents:</p> <ul> <li>Degree transcripts and certificates</li> <li>Two <a href="">references </a>(ask your referees to send their&nbsp;references&nbsp;directly to the&nbsp;PGR Admissions Team. References can be&nbsp;on letter-headed paper or on the University of Leeds reference form).</li> <li>IELTS certificate (if appropriate)</li> </ul> <p><strong>15 March 2024 </strong>&ndash;&nbsp;the short-list of candidates to be invited for an interview will be announced.&nbsp;</p> <p>Week commencing <strong>24 April 2024&nbsp;</strong>-&nbsp;Interviews will involve the academic supervisor, Project Partner supervisor and a member&nbsp;of the WRoCAH Studentships Committee. These will be conducted online.</p> <p>Before applying for any WRoCAH Studentship, please first ensure that you&nbsp;have read the WRoCAH webpages about the WRoCAH training&nbsp;programme and requirements, as well as other funding opportunities&nbsp;;</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. &nbsp;Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+; and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.&nbsp;</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to PhD research degree programmes should normally have a Master&rsquo;s degree and at least a first class or an Upper Second Class Bachelors Honours degree. If you hold relevant work, or other, experience the Faculty may consider this in lieu of a Masters qualification, please check with the relevant school prior to making an application. To study a Masters by Research degree you should hold, or currently be studying towards, a Bachelors Honours degree, in an appropriate discipline where your current or predicted award is at least a first class or upper second class degree. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies is an IELTS of 6.5 overall with at least 7.0 in writing and 6.0 in other components (reading, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>A WRoCAH funded Collaborative Doctoral Award between School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds and Yorkshire &amp; Humber Visual Arts Network</p> <p>For detailed information, please see the link to the project between the University of Leeds and the Yorkshire Visual Arts Network <a href="">here</a>.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>Before&nbsp;applying, please contact&nbsp;;if you require any further information regarding the application process.</p> <p>For more information about this project contact Robert Knifton ( and&nbsp;Sharon Gill (</p> <p>Full project details can be found here:&nbsp;<a href=""></a>&nbsp;</p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>