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Creative community engagement for climate and water action: a comparative study

   Energy and Environment Institute

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  Dr B McDonagh, Dr Gill Hughes  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD scholarship is offered by the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Centre for Water Cultures, an interdisciplinary research centre exploring humanity’s relationships with water in the green-blue regions of the world, past, present and future.

It pioneers a new, humanities-led, interdisciplinary and transhistorical research area – the green-blue humanities – and equips a new generation of PhD students to take this agenda forward and transform our understanding of humanity's relationships with water.

For more information visit the University of Hull website. Or if you have a direct question about the project, please email [Email Address Removed] rather than contacting the supervisor directly. This is to support our inclusive recruitment practices (please see ‘How to apply’ on the University of Hull website for more information). Our Water Cultures Professional Services Team will liaise with Supervisors and ensure you receive responses to your queries.

Water-related stresses and shocks – including both flood and drought – account for the majority of human-induced climate impacts currently being experienced globally. Under all IPCC scenarios, Eastern England and parts of the North Sea Littoral, including the Netherlands, will see the frequency, intensity and severity of both flood and drought hazards increase significantly. So how do we build resilient communities who can survive and thrive in environments with (at times) too much and (at other times) too little water, and where climate futures sometimes look quite different to climates past?

Building on the successes of the UKRI-funded Risky Cities and MAGIC projects, this PhD looks – in comparative perspective – at creative community engagement for climate action around drought and related water scarcity issues. The doctoral candidate will be supported to develop comparative work, most likely working on case studies in the East of England, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and/or an additional chosen Global North or Global South comparator. They will work with community groups to use place-based, creative approaches to drive climate engagement and action, working collaboratively with communities and other stakeholders in support of their chosen climate solutions. They may utilise a range of creative and participatory methods: for example, visual arts, storytelling, theatre, craft or other relevant creative practices. It is anticipated that the doctoral candidate will evaluate and share best practice for co-creating local climate solutions for water scarce futures through place-based, creative community engagement with communities across their chosen case study regions.


Watch this recording of our recent webinar, for more information about the funded projects available through the Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships Centre for Water Cultures. You will be able to hear an introduction to the Centre, to the individual projects from the lead supervisors, as well as the Q&A.

Entry Requirements

You should have a good undergraduate degree (at least a 2:1 Honours degree, or international equivalent) in a relevant subject such as History, Human Geography, Anthropology, Social Sciences, Education Studies or related disciplines. 

A Masters in a relevant subject is desirable, but not essential.

If your first language is not English, or you require Tier 4 student visa to study, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language competency. Information on the tests that we accept can be found on the University of Hull website.

How to apply

Applications are via the University of Hull online portal. Detailed instructions on how to apply are given on the University of Hull website. Please note, you must also download a Supplementary Application form, complete and submit it as part of the online application.


The Centre for Water Cultures welcomes applications from international candidates.

While the Leverhulme Trust funds fees at the UK rate, we are able to offer a limited number of international fee waivers to support EU and International applicants. These are likely to be attached to no more than 30% of our scholarships.

Applicants already holding a PhD (or equivalent qualification) will not typically be considered as eligible for a Centre for Water Cultures scholarship. Applicants in this position wishing to apply must make a compelling case for their motivations in their completed supplementary application form.

Funding Notes

Doctoral scholars appointed to interdisciplinary projects within the Centre for Water Cultures will be supported by PhD scholarships, funded for 48 months. These cover fees at the UK rate, a maintenance grant of £17,668 per year (2022/23 rate), and a research and training support grant.
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