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An Investigation into resistance and representation: Freelance dance artists and the cultural ecology

Faculy of Arts and Humanities

About the Project

Coventry University (CU) is inviting applications from suitably-qualified graduates for a fully-funded PhD studentship.

Independent dance artists, those that work on a freelance basis, permeate through our cultural landscape. Their work consists of performing, teaching in different contexts (e.g. public schools, private dance studios, publicily funded organisations), project management, networking and applying for funding. The work is varied and with different stakeholders. Therefore, collective working, flexibility and adaptability due to the necessity to adhere to different venues and organisations’ policies and procedures are key skills of this community.

This project will explore the collective engagement and the representation of this community in changes to cultural policy. The research will include an exploration of the impact of COVID-19 on this community and how it will affect working practices and the broader dance ecology. Using social science research methods, the candidate will gather material from the dance artist community, advocacy organisations and others to inform their project.

The project will be hosted at C-DaRE and be co-supervised at the Centre for Culture and Media Policy Studies, University of Warwick.

Training and Development

The successful candidate will receive comprehensive research training including technical, personal and professional skills.

All researchers at Coventry University (from PhD to Professor) are part of the Doctoral College and Centre for Research Capability and Development, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities.

The candidate will benefit from having 2 supervisors in the areas of dance and cultural policy. Collaboration with Warwick University will aid in accessing materials for research. Additional support includes:

- Academic writing guidance from supervisors and Centre for Academic Writing at Coventry University
- Practice research: peer group led by PhD students; supervisor and staff expertise at C-DaRE
- Reading groups, symposia and journals at CDaRE which candidates can contribute to and support
- Ethical research support from C-DaRE ethics leads

Entry criteria for applicants to PhD

• A minimum of a 2:1 first degree in a relevant discipline/subject area with a minimum 60% mark in the project element or equivalent with a minimum 60% overall module average.


• The potential to engage in innovative research and to complete the PhD within a 3.5 years
• A minimum of English language proficiency (IELTS overall minimum score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component)

For further details see:

The candidate should also have:
• Background in performing arts and cultural studies
• Interest in collaborative working and working with arts organisations
• Capacity to be in commuting distance from Coventry
• Background in working with independent sector

We welcome applications from all sectors of the community and particularly those currently under-represented in the Centre.

How to apply

To find out more about the project please contact Karen Wood at

To apply online please visit:

All applications require full supporting documentation, a covering letter, plus an up to 2000-word supporting statement showing how the applicant’s expertise and interests are relevant to the project.

Funding Notes

Applications are for full single studentships, which includes tuition fees and living expenses for a doctoral candidate over 3.5 years. Stipend rates are set by UKRI and will rise annually with a projected average increase of 1.25% per year. CU fees are also adjusted yearly in line with the rates set by UKRI.

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