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Imagining New Futures: Engaging Young People Through Participatory Arts in Post-Conflict Kosovo

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Schwandner-Sievers
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

This project critically investigates the ways in which the post-conflict generation of young people in Kosovo might be enabled to imagine, construct and share their visions of a more inclusive and socially just future, through selected, participatory arts-based civil society initiatives. With a focus on a minimum of one selected genre, the participatory arts-forms to be investigated might include: music, song, film, poetry, creative writing, theatre, performance art, street art, design, painting, or any other selected art genre through which identity narratives and visions for new futures might be mediated, negotiated, perpetuated or challenged at the grassroots level. The background to this approach is Performative Social Science (PSS), which offers a fusion of the arts and social science grounded within relational aesthetics (Bourriaud, 2002). PSS emphasizes the collective experience of coming together and creating meaning.
This study contributes to a wider Kosovo case study under the umbrella of the comparative AHRC project ‘Changing the Story: Building Inclusive Civil Societies with, and for, Young People in 5 Post-Conflict Countries’ (2017-2021). It sits within a growing interdisciplinary body of theories regarding the delivery of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, which demand wider global and societal participation and inclusion in recognition of the potentials of ‘culture’. The SDGs refer to ‘culture’ both in terms of the anthropological concept as ‘way of life’ and in its aesthetic dimension as ‘art’. IR, political and development studies have followed suit in increasingly conjuring up a ‘local’, ‘ethnographic’, or ‘cultural’ turn. The research will take a critical, immersed ethnographic, case study approach in order to contribute new understandings of how such ideas and ideals are operationalised and deliver the anticipated outcomes in practice.
The project will critically explore the extent to which the documented participatory practices either might draw on, or challenge: (1) specific local cultural knowledge of both the selected arts form and historical arts-based collaborations or structures of support that might transcend today’s societal divisions; (2) local collective memory underpinning solidarities, divisions and emotions and unexpected potentials, including of usually neglected or silenced groups or time periods; (3) the wider context of internationally-promoted, cross-regional and civil-society initiatives, by or for young people (e.g. 2014 Berlin Process).
The project is composed of three parts: (1) documentation of the selected arts genre’s existing cultural heritage and related local knowledge in Kosovo serving as a resource; (2) an ethnographic, participatory action study of the ways in which young people in Kosovo actively renegotiate their identity and futures through related arts-based, participatory practices and civil society activities; (3) an analysis of the context, sources and inspirations of such practices and the ways in which these challenge, change or integrate cultural heritage and other local, translocal and global inspirations.
How to apply: Applications are made via our website using the Apply Online button below. If you have an enquiry about this project please contact us via the Email NOW button below, however your application will only be processed once you have submitted an application form as opposed to emailing your CV to us.

Candidates for funded PhD studentship must demonstrate outstanding qualities and be motivated to complete a PhD in 3 years.

Fully-funded studentship candidates must demonstrate outstanding academic potential with preferably a 1st class honours degree and/or a Master’s degree with distinction or equivalent Grade Point Average. An IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 minimum (with a minimum 5.5 in each component) is essential for candidates for whom English is not their first language.

Additional Eligibility
Candidates should be able to demonstrate relevant language knowledge, an essential requirement for both literature research and the ethnographic core component of this study.

Funding Notes

Funded candidates will receive a maintenance grant of £14,000 (unless otherwise specified) per annum, to cover their living expenses and have their fees waived for 36 months. In addition, research costs, including field work and conference attendance, will be met.
Funded Studentships are open to both UK/EU and International students unless otherwise specified.

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