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Cultural interventions for promoting alternative visions of wellbeing in a zero carbon economy


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Saturday 29 February 2020
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Competition funded
Source of funding
Dr Milena Buchs and Dr Leslie Meier
School of Earth and Environment, School of Media and Communication
Research groups/institutes
Media Industries and Cultural Production, Sustainability Research Institute
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The project &ldquo;Cultural Interventions for Promoting Alternative Visions of Wellbeing in a Zero Carbon Economy&rdquo; starts from the assumption that a reduction of emissions down to net zero will require radically new visions and practices of wellbeing. It will investigate the effectiveness of cultural interventions to promote such alternative visions and practices. What do we mean by &ldquo;alternative visions of wellbeing&rdquo;? Wellbeing is currently primarily framed as preference satisfaction through consumption. But high levels of consumption (and waste) are among the main drivers of continuing high levels of emissions globally. Scholars increasingly agree that a reduction of consumption, especially in rich countries, will need to be part of the solution to tackling climate change (Creutzig et al., 2018; Jackson, 2019; Mundaca et al., 2019). One of the main challenges for the zero carbon transformation is that a reduction of consumption is likely to be highly unpopular with the public. In western countries, current levels of consumption go far beyond fulfilling basic needs but also serve an important role for people&rsquo;s sense of identity and self-worth, social status and social integration. New research is urgently required to understand how people&rsquo;s underlying needs for identity, self-worth, social participation, and mental and physical health can be met at reduced levels of consumption, compatible with net zero emission targets. This can be informed by alternative understandings of wellbeing and economy, including eudaimonic wellbeing, capabilities, human needs, the sharing economy, etc. (Frenken, 2017; Gough, 2015; O'Neill, 2008). Culture and media often play an important role in promoting high carbon consumption. However, they also have the potential to question that role and to promote alternative, low carbon visions of wellbeing. So far very little is known about the effectiveness of cultural and media interventions for promoting alternative visions of wellbeing and for creating greater public acceptability for reductions in consumption of high carbon goods and services (including travel). We are searching for a candidate with training in disciplines relevant to this projects, for instance cultural and media studies, environmental studies and sustainability, sociology, social policy, sustainable business, etc., with enthusiasm for interdisciplinary research and ability for critical and creative thinking. The project can be narrowed down to particular types of consumption or dimensions of wellbeing, and if you have ideas for this project that you would like to discuss prior to applying please do not hesitate to get in touch with the prospective supervisors.

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

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &ldquo;Cultural interventions for promoting alternative visions of wellbeing in a zero carbon economy&rdquo;&nbsp;as well as Dr Milena Buchs <a href=""></a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

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

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or 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 is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, 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. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

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

<p>This is a 3 years scholarship funded by the University of Leeds through the Priestley International Centre for Climate. The award will provide tuition fees (&pound;4,500 for 2019/20), tax-free stipend at the UK research council rate (&pound;15,009 for 2019/20), and a research training and support grant of &pound;750 per annum.</p>

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

<p>For queries about the project please contact Dr Milena Buchs on or Dr Leslie Meier on;</p> <p>For enquiries about the application procedure please contact the Graduate School Office Admissions Officer e.g. for Faculty of Environment this is <a href="file:///C:/Users/chmml/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/YPAQRZEB/"></a>.</p>

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