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PhD Studentship: Media convergence before convergence: The case of the Electrophone

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  • Full or part time
    Dr S Natale
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Application details:
Reference number: SS-BBBOCT19
Start date of studentship: 1 October 2019
Closing date of advert: 19 August 2019
Interview date: 23 August 2019

Primary supervisor: Dr Simone Natale (Loughborough University)
Secondary supervisor: Prof Gabriele Balbi (USI, Switzerland), David Hay and James Elder (BT Archives)

This AHRC-funded PhD studentship will study the case of the Electrophone, a telephone broadcasting system that operated in the United Kingdom between 1894 and around 1938, to improve understandings of the contemporary media configuration in the age of digital convergence.

Loughborough University

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you will work alongside academics who are leaders in their field.

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Full Project Detail

The Electrophone brought information, education, and entertainment into UK homes through telephone lines as early as 1895, long before the emergence of radio, television and online broadcasting services. It is an important early example of the convergence in telecommunications and media to integrate services, content offerings, and means of communication under one core technology.

Today, few people have heard of the Electrophone, yet this system played a fundamental role in preparing the cultural, institutional and social context for the emergence of broadcasting. This studentship will develop the first ever comprehensive study of the Electrophone. Studying the electrophone now is particularly timely. As broadcasting’s approach and terminology are appropriated by web companies such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify, the Electrophone shows that broadcasting systems have always circulated across different platforms and technologies.

Using a media archaeology approach, the selected student will interrogate how this case can help us to better understand the present configuration of digital media. The student will be encouraged to engage with both media history and contemporary media theory in order to explore the significance of the Electrophone for enhancing our understanding of technological and social change in media and communication.

The selected PhD student will work with an international team of supervisors composed of Dr Simone Natale, Lecturer in Communication and Media Studies at Loughborough University; Prof. Gabriele Balbi, Associate Professor at USI, Switzerland; David Hay, Head of Heritage & Archives at BT Group; and James Elder, Archive Manager at BT.

Dr Simone Natale:
Prof. Gabriele Balbi:
David Hay:
James Elder:

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Entry requirements

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Communication and Media Studies or History or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: historical research; communication and media theory; archival research.

Contact details

Name: Dr Simone Natale
Email address: [Email Address Removed]

How to apply

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Social Sciences

Please quote reference number: SS-BBBOct19

Applicants should include the following with their application:
1. A cover letter presenting their career trajectory and their motivation for applying.
2. A CV
3. A writing sample (e.g. UG or PGT dissertation or another example of academic writing)

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,009 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. EU citizens not resident in the UK are eligible for tuition fees only.

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