Skip to main content

ESRC WRDTP Collaborative Studentship – Decolonising Sculpture for Urban Social Justice (DISCUSS)


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Friday 30 April 2021
Project start date
Friday 1 October 2021
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
Research council
Dr Martin Zebracki
Additional supervisors
Professor Robert Vanderbeck (Second Supervisor)
School of Geography
Research groups/institutes
Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

Project: Decolonising Sculpture for Urban Social Justice (DISCUSS)<br /> <br /> This studentship is in collaboration with Leeds City Council<br /> <br /> Deadline: 17:00 (UK time) 30 April 2021<br /> <br /> DISCUSS examines public art, including sculptures, murals and installations as part of the urban environment, at a time when debates are intensifying about how to address/redress racial and ethnic inequality and dismantle an urban colonial legacy still evident in visual culture, encompassing monuments/public art. This interdisciplinary project has been developed in close partnership with Leeds City Council following Black Lives Matter protests and the subsequent inaugural city-wide statue review led by Leeds&#039; first black Councillor, Honorary Alderwoman Alison Lowe, with careful consideration of the city&#039;s culture strategy. Jointly building on decolonial thought and the Leeds statue review, DISCUSS will advance knowledge of urban social justice through social scientific investigation into the extent to which Leeds-based public-art policies and practices allow scope for racial and ethnic diversity and inclusive provision. It will draw from an empirically unique mixed-methods study involving archival and policy analysis and ethnographic research comprising observations, participatory action research, and in-depth interviews - integrating perspectives of key city actors and organisations, racial justice activists, and public communities.<br />

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

<p>DISCUSS will interrogate public-art practice&rsquo;s interrelated politics of <em>commissioning </em>(who creates and with which intents?);<em>&nbsp;representing</em>&nbsp;(who/what is depicted?); <em>communicating</em>&nbsp;(which stories are told vs. silenced?); and&nbsp;<em>participating</em>&nbsp;(how and why are certain publics [not] engaged?).</p> <p>This timely collaborative studentship provides a strategic opportunity to not only review and improve local policies and institutional practices concerning decolonising public art but to also contribute to realising the desired change towards a more diverse and intercultural public realm wherein all residents and visitors can feel welcome. The student will benefit from Leeds City Council&rsquo;s ongoing advice, support, training, and rare access to key resources, research participants and beneficiaries to maximise impact.</p> <p>DISCUSS aligns closely with the focus of the WRDTP Cities, Environment, and Liveability (CEL) pathway on urban liveability and inequalities/injustices as faced by urban communities. The research is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on urban social justice theories and critical research methodologies across geography, sociology, urban planning, architecture, and history.</p> <p>As a growing body of interdisciplinary scholarship demonstrates, issues of representation, inclusivity, and identity are central to urban policy and governance that can produce liveable lives. DISCUSS will seek to inform policies around the development and consumption of liveable and inclusive urban public spaces, ranging from scales of the body/intimate and community (e.g., racial discrimination, prejudice, marginalisation, under-/misrepresentation) through to the city and state (e.g., institutional racism, hostility) and international responses (e.g., global anti-racism movements, processes of decolonisation).</p> <p>Full awards provide fees and a maintenance grant at standard Research Council rates (&pound;15,609 in Session 2021/22) for full-time study, together with other allowances.</p> <p><strong>Cities, Environment, and Liveability (CEL) - </strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a></p>

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

<p>Deadline: 17:00 (UK time) 30 April 2021</p> <p>Stage 1 &ndash; Applicants applying on both a +3 (3-year PhD) and a 1+3 (MA Social Research Interdisciplinary+3-year PhD) basis should first of all apply for the relevant research postgraduate programme to commence 1 October 2021 &ndash; <a href=""></a>, clearly stating that the funding you wish to apply for is &#39;ESRC WRDTP Collaborative Studentship &ndash; Decolonising Sculpture for Urban Social Justice (DISCUSS)&#39;</p> <p>Stage 2 &ndash; Once you are in receipt of your 9-digit Student ID Number, you should complete the online studentship application form &ndash; available at <a href=""></a></p> <p>After receipt of your studentship application, the relevant School will provide further advice on your suitability for either a +3 or 1+3 studentship and advise whether an application for the MA Social Research (Interdisciplinary) is required.&nbsp; You may be required to provide 2 academic references in support of your studentship application.</p> <p>Further details about the different schemes, pathways, eligibility criteria can be found at</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>

For ESRC WRDTP +3 and 1+3 studentships, applicants must hold at least a UK Upper Second Class Degree or equivalent.<br /> <br /> This studentship seeks a candidate with a background in Human Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, Media, Art or Heritage Studies, or a cognate field, and experience with collaborative and critical qualitative research methodologies.<br /> <br /> The candidate should have a clear understanding of ethical and confidential issues around equality, diversity and inclusion. The candidate is preferred to have profound understanding of critical race theory and analysis, experience with intersectional methodologies, and direct experience with working for the cause of racial justice and pursuing ethically sound methods and techniques for engaging and recruiting research participants, in particular from people-of-colour communities.<br />

<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>Fees and a maintenance grant at standard Research Council rates (&pound;15,285 in Session 2020/21) for full-time study, together with other allowances if appropriate</p>

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

<p>Contact Dr Martin Zebracki (Principal Supervisor) for more information on the project</p> <p>For further information please contact the Graduate School Office<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>