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Exploring Communication, Innovation and Design: Critical Approaches for Social Change

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 10, 2018
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

By choosing a doctoral programme from the Institute for Design Innovation and the Institute for Media and Creative Industries at Loughborough University London, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field.

London is one of the world’s leading hubs for international business, negotiations and trade, and is the ideal location for students to expand their knowledge, expertise and networks. Loughborough University London is surrounded by key influencers and innovators in a broad range of industries, and is just a short journey from Canary Wharf, London Bridge and Liverpool Street.
Find out more:

Project Detail

Communication for development is a field of theory and practice, which focuses on the fostering of critical dialogue (speaking and listening) using a range of tools and methods, towards collective action and positive social change.

Increasingly, communication for social change professionals are partnering with designers, social entrepreneurs, and in spaces designed to support creativity and innovation. This shift has been identified as a possible new ‘paradigm’ for communication for development (McAnany 2012), though it remains under-theorised by scholars.

At the same time, critical writing about the rise of ‘humanitarian designers’ (Schwittay 2014) and ‘humanitarian innovation’ (Scott-Smith 2016) is emerging, along with dost-developmentalist, Arturo Escobar’s recent exploration of the radical potential of critical design (2018). This is against a backdrop in which private sector funding is contributing a growing portion of development funding and often bringing a focus on social entrepreneurship, and an overall trend towards a dominant neoliberal ideology underpinning development.

This PhD studentship will focus on cross-disciplinary themes which connect the Institute for Media and Creative Industries and the Institute for Design Innovation. The successful candidate will explore emerging theory and practice connecting communication for social change, design and innovation.

This project will be eligible for application to the Techné Doctoral Training Partnership funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) which supports high quality candidates to pursue the ‘craft’ of research through innovative, interdisciplinary and creative approaches to the study of the arts and humanities.

TECHNE provides an outstanding graduate training experience, drawing together the best of traditional scholarship, history, theory and practice across ten higher education institutions in London and the South East, with extensive collaboration from 15 world-leading partners including the Natural History Museum, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, the Science Museum and Crafts Council.

Find out more

General information about the research agendas of the Institute for Media and Creative Industries and the Institute for Design Innovation can be found here:
For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Professor Mikko Koria ().

Entry requirements

An honours degree (2:1 or above) or equivalent overseas qualification and a relevant master’s degree.

Contact details

Name: Professor Mikko Koria
Email address:
Telephone number: +44 (0)20 3818 0777

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Media and Creative Industries.

Please quote reference number: 2019/TECHNE/JNTMK

Funding Notes

Subject to AHRC eligibility criteria, TECHNE studentships cover tuition fees and an additional stipend for three years’ full-time, or part-time equivalent for six years. Stipend rates for 2019-20 are yet to be announced; however the stipend for 2018-19 was £16,777. International students are not eligible to apply for AHRC studentships and EU students are eligible for fees only.

Successful candidates can also apply for additional funding to support individual or group training and developmental activities.

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