Funded PhD opportunities

Visual representations of minority groups, activism and the everyday

  • Application end date: Applications currently closed
  • Funding Availability: Funded PhD project (UK students only)
  • Department: School of Health Sciences and Social Work
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Annabel Tremlett (University of Portsmouth) and Dr Aidan McGarry (University of Brighton)

ESRC South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SCDTP) funded. Project code - HPSS3721018

Applications are currently closed for this project, though may re-open in the autumn. If you wish to submit an expression of interest, please contact

Project in brief

The project will explore the representations of minority or marginalised groups through visual methods. The candidate will carry out in-depth qualitative research on minority communities in the UK focusing on visual representations drawn from both social media and everyday lives, looking at how people present themselves online and how this differs or interlinks with their everyday lives and wider politics. The overarching aim of this project is to advance academic knowledge on frequently marginalised communities in order to challenge and change practices that keep certain (often problematic or misrepresentative) visual representations in circulation.

Project in detail

There have been profound changes in the opportunities people have to take part in political expression and participation that are most obvious on social media, but have also become a part of our everyday lives. Thanks to digital mediums and media, such participation in the public sphere utilises images to an extent and degree that has not been seen before. The overarching aim of this project is to advance academic knowledge on communities considered outside of mainstream society (for examples Roma minorities, political activists, LGBT communities) in order to challenge and change practices that keep certain (often problematic or misrepresentative) visual representations in circulation. 

Specific research questions:

  • What is the best way to document the misrepresentation of minority groups in visual data?
  • How can we progress our knowledge of how to produce theoretically informed visual data with/about minority groups?
  • To what extent can we create and utilise visual data from qualitative fieldwork in order to challenge misrepresentations of minority groups in the public sphere?
  • How best can we draw from a range of academic disciplines to help understand image-use both on social media and images drawn from research?

Candidate specification

  • Essential: Visual representation analysis skills with experience of appropriate technologies and computer software when looking at a wide range of photographs and other images.
  • Essential: Knowledge of visual representations and appropriate academic theories.
  • Desirable: Interest in certain minority groups and how they are visually represented.

For all funding, students must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second-class level, from a UK academic higher education institution. Degree qualifications gained from outside the UK, or a combination of qualifications and/or experience that is equivalent to a relevant UK degree, may be accepted.

How to Apply

Before you apply, please make sure you meet the candidate specification.

Candidates do not need to submit a project proposal, however are required to submit a 500 word personal statement to include:

  • Details of how your skills and interests match the project
  • Background and previous experience
  • Research interests

If you need to discuss this project and your application further then please contact a member of the supervision team as listed below, in advance of the deadline dates:

Dr Annabel Tremlett -

There are two stages to the application process:

(1) The first application form you need to complete is for your chosen programme of study at the University of Portsmouth.

Apply to the University of Portsmouth through our standard online application form and follow the instructions given under the 'Research Degrees' heading on the following webpages before you submit your SCDTP application:

When applying to the University of Portsmouth, you will need to enter project code - HPSS3721018

The closing date for University of Portsmouth applications is 19 July 2017, 12.00 noon.

(2) The second application form which requires completion is the South Coast DTP Funding Application Form.  There are two versions of this form which can be downloaded. In accordance with the SCDTP guidance, please ensure you use the correct form (in this case the 'South Coast DTP Project Specific Application Form').

The 'South Coast DTP Project Specific Application Form', and more information on the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership can be found at:

You will then need to submit your funding application to the SCDTP by 28 July 2017

Funding notes

As well as covering all tuition fees, the studentship also includes an annual maintenance grant, of £14,553 (2017/18).

Please note, students applying without a Master's qualification containing a substantial Social Sciences methods component may be required to complete such a Master's beforehand. The Master's will be fully funded by the SCDTP.