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  Cultural Diversity on the Colonial/ Postcolonial London Stage, 1825 to the Present

   Faculty of English

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  Dr Peter Maber  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

As part of a major investment, Northeastern University London (NU London) has multiple, fully-funded PhD studentships available to accelerate its interdisciplinary research in the humanities, social sciences, and computing, maths, engineering and natural sciences. Each scholarship is fully-funded for three and a half years (UKRI rates) and includes full course fees, an annual stipend (including an additional London allowance) and associated costs, such as training.

NU London is both a UK university governed by UK higher education regulations, and the European campus of Northeastern University – a large, top-tier research intensive, Bostonbased institution. Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is known for its high-impact research, aimed at solving problems across the globe. Interdisciplinarity, experiential learning, and connection to partners beyond academia are at the heart of the Northeastern University ethos. Northeastern received $230.7m of external research funding in 2022, and is the recognized leader in experience-driven lifelong learning. It has campuses across the United States and Canada (in Boston; Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Maine; Oakland, California; San Francisco; Seattle; Silicon Valley; Arlington, Virginia; the Massachusetts communities of Burlington and Nahant; Toronto and Vancouver). Whilst the PhD will be a UK qualification, students will have the opportunity to engage with and visit the Northeastern University network overseas as part of their London-based doctoral studies, providing a truly unique and highly sought-after dimension to their research training.

The Project

The project will examine cultural diversity in London, the UK, and beyond, through studying theatre and performance art in London from the 19th century to the present. It will investigate the ways in which people from global majority communities both represent their communities (for example as writers, directors or performers) and are represented (for example in plays written, produced, and/or performed by people at a remove) on the London stage. The project may proceed chronologically from the mid-19th century to the present; starting with the 19th century to think about the British Empire, and the ways the London stage represented and engaged with its colonies. The project will then move through to the twentieth and twenty-first century to consider projects by and about people from the global majority, underpinned by questions of postcolonialism, migration, diaspora, refugees and race. The research will combine literary criticism with theatre history and performance studies, while employing decolonial methodologies, and with the potential to employ ethical reasoning, political and sociological frameworks, studies of place and space, migration and diaspora studies, narrative discourse analysis, cultural studies, and linguistics in investigating diversity of the English language alongside various other languages spoken in the UK. The study will ask, across the time period, what it is for works, artists and performers to represent diversity in the contexts of their immediate, national and international surroundings. Research will be undertaken on plays both written within and performed throughout the period (but not necessarily written in the UK), and performances will be a key object of study, including locations and audiences. Key theatre archives, which will provide information on locations and performance history, are located in the British Museum, in the V&A Theatre and Performance Archives, the Theatres Trust Library and Archive, and the University of Kent’s Theatre and Performance Collections. In addition to this, the project will focus on performances that have been left outside the theatre archives in UK, by turning to archives in the global south and beyond as well as turning to emerging and/or contemporary organisations.

The successful candidates will:

  • Have a proven, strong educational background in literature, theatre studies, or a related subject (see eligibility criteria)
  • Be excited and inspired by the proposed project area
  • Be a self starter
  • Have good communication skills
  • Have an inquiring mind and be willing to challenge themselves

The successful candidates will benefit from a brand new campus on the banks of the River Thames next to Tower Bridge. This is an interdisciplinary, vibrant research environment with international collaboration and networking opportunities and dedicated research space. It will form the hub of a highly experienced, multi-institution supervisory team from NU London, Northeastern University and the University of Kent. In addition, successful candidates will benefit from the unique connection to the wider Northeastern University network in North America, providing a range of additional research opportunities and learning resources.

Shortlisted candidates will be by the end of October. Candidates are welcome to contact the NU London supervisor with informal enquiries before the application deadline: [Email Address Removed]


  • Bachelor's degree in a relevant subject - 2:1 or 1st (essential)
  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject (optional)

English Language requirements:

If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with a score of at least 6.5 in each individual component) or equivalent.


Applications are open to UK and international students. Please indicate if you are likely to require a visa on your application. We are unable to support visa costs.


This scholarship covers the full cost of tuition fees, an annual stipend and an additional London allowance (set at UKRI rates) for 3.5 years. For the 2023/2024 academic year the annual stipend is £20,622. Annual increments will be in line with UKRI rates. International travel Students will have the optional opportunity to travel to Northeastern University in North America to further their research training and experience.

How to Apply

Please send a CV and a Covering Letter stating how you meet the requirements and why you are interested in the proposed research project by clicking on this link. Please reference your application “PHDE0923

Creative Arts & Design (9) History & Archaeology (19) Languages, Literature & Culture (21)
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