PhD Studies / Uncategorized

Funding Competition for PhD studies in Film and Visual Culture

The Department of Film and Visual Culture at the University of Aberdeen is delighted to announce an open competition for PhD Funding on topics related to film, digital and visual culture, and performance art.

A new round of scholarships worth up to £1.5 million has been launched by the University of Aberdeen. The 2016/17 Elphinstone Scholarships will meet the tuition costs of the highest achieving PhD applicants drawn from the UK and around the world. If awarded, the University of Aberdeen Elphinstone Scholarship will cover the cost of tuition fees, whether Home, EU or Overseas.

The Department of Film and Visual Culture is part of the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture, which has a lively postgraduate community. Postgraduate students are offered a comprehensive programme of research skills training.

Interested applicants should contact the lead supervisor for each project in the first instance, with a project proposal of no more than 1,000 words, detailing the research question, research context, methods, aims and objectives, and critical approach. Details of each of the projects eligible for funding can be found below. Funding is available for PhD studies in Film and Visual Culture for a project on the following topics:

  • Artistic Re-enactments of Performance Art as Vehicles of Cultural Transfer in Eastern Europe since 1960
  • Comparative Studies of Performance Art in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe since 1960
  • Voice, Body and Identity in Sound Art
  • Feminist Media Archaeology: Gender, Technology and Desire in Digital Culture
  • The Comedy of Post-Fordism: Labor, Leisure and Humor in Contemporary Visual Culture
  • John Grierson and Practice-based Film Propaganda Research
  • Electronic Composition, Performance Art and Technology
  • Performing the Past: explorations of performativity across the literary, visual and sonic arts in the modern and contemporary period

More information on Elphinstone Scholarships can be found by clicking here.

Details on how to apply for PhD studies at the University of Aberdeen can be found by clicking here.

Deadline for all applications: 30 May 2016

 

Applicants are invited to submit proposals for the following projects:

  1. Artistic Re-enactments of Performance Art as Vehicles of Cultural Transfer in Eastern Europe since 1960

Supervisor: Dr. Amy Bryzgel, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture

Marina_1_1

Marina Abramovic, Seven Easy Pieces (2005), Photo by Maria Ioveva

This proposal invites PhD research topics that focus on artistic re-enactments of performances from across the former communist and socialist countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe in recent artistic practice. There are numerous examples of artistic re-enactments across the region, providing scope for a range of dissertation topics. Projects can include comparative studies, for example, of the relevance of re-enactments in one local tradition versus that of another; or single-country studies of a number of re-enactments being staged in one context. Dissertations will address the following research questions: what are the various functions of artistic re-enactments of performances in Eastern Europe? How do these functions compare with current understandings of re-enactment in the West? How can re-enactments be used to access a lost or inaccessible history (such as performance art in Eastern Europe)? Also welcome are proposals that consider revisiting culturally relevant or historically significant places by artists or within the context of artistic re-enactments.

 

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit. Individuals with a strong research background in the field of Eastern European contemporary art and/or performance art, from either an art history or visual culture background, are encouraged to apply. Applicants should have the necessary language skills needed to undertake the proposed research, and should consider funding sources for travel to conduct field research abroad if it is necessary to the proposed project.

  1. Comparative Studies of Performance Art in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe since 1960

Supervisor: Dr. Amy Bryzgel, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture

Tomislav_Gotovac_Zagreb_Volim_te_1981

Tomislav Gotovac, Zagreb, I Love You! 1981

This PhD project focuses on comparative studies of performance art practices—including body art, action art, happenings and events—in the former communist and socialist countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. Studies of performance art in the region have primarily taken the form of single-country studies. This proposal invites scholars to examine the development and manifestations of performance art across borders—locally regionally or globally. Example of projects can include: the development of performance art in the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania); the Baltic and other Soviet countries; a juxtaposition of performance art practices in Central Europe (Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria); or a more broad comparison between particular practices in the Soviet Union, Central Europe, and Yugoslavia. Of particular interest would be a project that focuses on the “blind spots” of East European art history, for example, Moldova, Bulgaria, Albania. In exploring the nuances of performance art practices in these different socio-political contexts, this project aims to broaden our understanding of the range of experimental art practices that were developed across the communist East. This is just one example of the sort of project that might be available in this research group. The precise project will be decided upon in consultation with the supervisor.

  1. Voice, Body and Identity in Sound Art

Lead supervisor: Dr. Suk-Jun Kim, Lecturer in Music

Second supervisor: Dr. Amy Bryzgel, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture

The Department of Music at the University of Aberdeen is pleased to announce PhD fee-waiver scholarships open to UK/EU and overseas students who intend to start in September 2016. We are particularly interested in accepting applications from those who show potential in conducting practice-based research through performance art, creative coding, and/or audiovisual and sound installation.

PianoActivities

Piano Activities, by Philip Corner, as performed in Wiesbaden, 1962, by (l-r) Emmett Williams, Wolf Vostell, Nam Jun Paik, Dick Higgins, Benjamin Patterson and George Maciunas

 

This research explores ways in which sound art practice inscribes the contemporary issues around identity, voice and the body. Since the Fluxus movement and the experimental music in the 1960s and 1970s, and through the establishment of sound art in the 1990s, the relation between sound and voice, body and identity has been closely examined by sound artists. Working with the research team at the University of Aberdeen, the successful candidate will lead practice-led research on this research project by conducting an extensive survey on this relation and realising a series of creative work that examines and expands the possibility of sound art practice. We encourage research projects that have the potential to make a substantive contribution to the above research theme through the rigorous application of existing methods, and projects that reflect on practice within and across discipline boundaries and those that explore methodological approaches.

Research areas: sound art, audiovisual/sound installation, video-music, creative coding, live electronic performance, and/or sound studies.

The successful PhD candidate will become a member of SERG. Based on its research theme, New Approaches to Sound and Place, SERG members work on various inter- and cross-disciplinary research and artistic projects.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit, the research proposal and the submitted portfolio. You are welcome to contact Dr Suk-Jun Kim (Lead Supervisor) if you wish to discuss your ideas or submit a preliminary draft proposal.

  1. Feminist Media Archaeology: Gender, Technology and Desire in Digital Culture

Supervisor: Dr. Paul Flaig, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture

MetropolisposterThis project will examine intersections of gender, technology and visual and acoustic media in the contemporary digital landscape. Taking up the increasingly visible method of media archaeology, a mode of historicizing the agency of media technologies beyond human use or ends, this project will link longstanding cultural histories of gender and technology to the hardware-centred approaches of theorists such as Friedrich Kittler, Wolfgang Ernst and Jussi Parikka. How might the performativity of gender or the ontological difference of sexuality, both long dislocated from any natural, anatomical or human corpus by feminist critics, extend into the radical outside of autonomous, “smart” media technologies? There are rich mythological, literary and cinematic archives of such extensions, traversing antique, modern and post-modern epochs and linking Ovid’s animated statue, Galatea, to Hoffmann’s uncanny automaton, Olympia, Villiers’ Edisonian cyborg, Hadaly, to Lang’s Robot Maria in Metropolis. Parallel to these well-known fantasies there is a no less gendered mingling of bodies and machines practiced by inventors, engineers and software developers, whether it be talking dolls seeking their mother and father, Turing’s test for distinguishing men from women, or the gendered apps, websites and voices of Siri, Jeeves, Cortana and others. Media archaeologists have largely ignored the topic of gender, insisting on a cold, neutral mediality devoid of human warmth or desire. Against this exclusion, this project will argue for an emphatically feminist media archaeology, linking recent intersections of sexual fantasy and digital mediality in cinema, literature and new media to preceding instances in various analog eras.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit.

  1. The Comedy of Post-Fordism: Labor, Leisure and Humor in Contemporary Visual Culture

Supervisor: Dr. Paul Flaig, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture

Chaplin_-_Modern_Times

Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times

This project will examine continuities and discontinuities of comic genres between the Fordist era of standardized, automated labour, on the one hand, and post-Fordism’s emphasis on flexibility, affect and precarity on the other. The comedy of Fordism was defined in large part by cinema and in particular the genre of slapstick, in which human bodies rebelled against the standardization and division of labour demanded by spaces like the factory or technologies like the assembly line. Whether it be Chaplin’s over-worked Tramp, shooting down the assembly line in Modern Times, or Keaton’s impossibly graceful, deadpan automaton, slapstick revealed cinema’s dialectical relationship to Fordism as both automated, divisible and factory-based vision and anarchic disruption and exaggeration. When IBM chose to advertise its first personal computer in the early 1980s, it is therefore surprising that the company chose the figure of the Tramp as its salesman, especially since the PC played an essential role in shifting the nature of work from divisibility and repetition to creativity and contingency, qualities that would define the post-Fordist era as defined by theorists such as Paolo Virno and Christian Marazzi. How and why do filmmakers, designers or artists turn to slapstick, seemingly defined by the jerky, corporeal and cinematic rhythms of industrialism, in order to understand or challenge post-Fordism? What comic forms might define the specific rhythms of post-Fordism’s affective and immaterial modes of work? This project will examine films, television series, video games and advertisements that comically re-imagine contemporary labour between slapstick disruption and digital glitch.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit.

  1. John Grierson and Practice-based Film Propaganda Research

Supervisor: Professor Alan Marcus, Lecturer in Film and Visual Culture

Jorge_Ruiz_-_John_Grierson_1955

John Grierson (right) with Bolivian filmmaker Jorge Ruiz in 1955

Scottish film pioneer John Grierson (1898-1972) had a profound impact on the development of documentary film in Scotland and throughout Britain and North America. His writings on film and its advocacy applications have proved influential and provocative. This project invites the doctoral candidate to reconsider Grierson’s writings and evolved thinking of film methodologies. The research will include making a series of documentary film propaganda experiments, the topic of which is open. The thesis will be supervised by Professor Alan Marcus (Chair in Film and Visual Culture) and 2nd or co-supervised by Professor Cairns Craig (Glucksman Chair of Irish and Scottish Studies). This joint initiative is being offered by the University of Aberdeen’s Film and Visual Culture programme in collaboration with the internationally renowned Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies. The successful applicants will be able to benefit from the research cultures of both units and our state-of-the-art Media Lab’s video production and post-production facilities.

Selection will be made on the basis of academic merit.

7. Electronic Composition, Performance Art and Technology

Supervisor: Dr. Suk-Jun Kim, Lecturer in Music

Second supervisor: Dr. Amy Bryzgel

This research explores ways in which technologies can play a critical role in combining electronic composition and performance art. There has been a growing interest in re-examining the meaning and significance of liveness and the role of the body in electronic composition recent years, the two concepts that are pertinent to performance art. A successful candidate will conduct practice-led research on the potential of new technologies including various sensors and geo-location tracking to novel audio spatialisation tools, mobile technologies, and processing of big data, investigating whether and how such new technologies may engender a new platform for electronic composition and performance art. We encourage research projects that have the potential to make a substantive contribution to the above research theme through the rigorous application of existing methods, and projects that reflect on practice within and across discipline boundaries and those that explore methodological approaches. We are particularly interested in accepting applications from those who show potential in conducting practice-based research through electronic composition, performance art, and/or creative coding.

Research areas: electronic composition, creative coding, live electronic performance, performance art, sound studies and/or audio-visual work.

The successful PhD candidate will become a member of SERG . Based on its research theme, New Approaches to Sound and Place, SERG members work on various inter- and cross-disciplinary research and artistic projects.

8. Performing the Past: explorations of performativity across the literary, visual and sonic arts in the modern and contemporary period

Supervisor: Dr. Adrienne Janus

Second supervisor: Dr. Amy Bryzgel

Recent developments across literary theory, performance studies, media theory, visual culture, sound-studies and post-deconstructive thought have increasingly focused on the performative and material specificity of the arts and creative practices, and on the way in which these produce or perform ‘presence’ as a tangible, material, perceptual event, however ephemeral or fleeting this may be.

A project exploring these questions in or across any medium (literature, music, theatre, performance art) in the modern and contemporary period is just one example of the sort of project that might be available in this research group. The precise project will be decided upon in consultation with the supervisor

 

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