Photography and the Digital Body

   School of Art and Design

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The proposed project will involve an investigation into the relationship between photographic practices and the body in the digital age. Photography has undergone a major shift since the emergence of digital technologies. The mobile phone camera in particular has ‘democratized’ access to photography, transforming it into a widely used form of communication practiced across the globe. In parallel to this shift, the platforms on which photographs are shared have grown exponentially: Instagram is now one of the most popular social media sites today. These shifts have had a profound impact on the way that female, male and non-binary bodies are presented, defined, critiqued and disseminated online. The ubiquity of the camera combined with the profound role of social media on everyday life has had a wide-spread impact on the way that we see, understand and relate to the body. The opportunities for further research and critical analysis are vast. This is a quickly shifting territory making this a timely and much needed research project. The research would build on theories on the ‘softimage’ (Hoelzl & Marie, 2015) as well as the evolution of the image between digital and analogue spheres (Bohr & Sliwinska, 2018).

The successful applicant would join one of the country’s leading art and design schools which has been influencing, inspiring and innovating for over 175 years. The school has a vibrant, forward-looking and expanding research community where collaboration and interdisciplinarity are embraced and encouraged. PhD candidates would have access to a number of highly relevant research groups mainly, though not exclusively, based within the Art Research Group and the Design Research Centre. Additionally, successful applicants would have access to world-class technical facilities and technical expertise in relation to photography and visual communication. As UNESCO City of Literature, Nottingham is a vibrant and exciting city considered to be one of the leading centres of the Creative Industries in the UK.

We support PhD projects via the traditional research degree consisting of an original written thesis, or, for those with a practice-based background, an original written thesis with a significant body of creative work. The successful applicant would be principally supervised by Dr. Marco Bohr, Associate Professor in Visual Communication. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Dr. Bohr at for any enquiries.

As part of the application process, applicants are asked to produce an original 1,000 – 2,000 word research proposal which outlines their research project. Under clear headings or subheadings, the research proposal needs to contain the following information: provisional title, the topic or area to be investigated, the problem or hypothesis to be tested, the methods and techniques to be used in the research, a provisional timetable for the project indicating anticipated activities, the relationship of the proposed research to the published literature and to current research in the field, an indication of the contribution to knowledge that the thesis is anticipated to make, details of previous work in the proposed field, and a bibliography of sources already consulted or identified as of relevance to your proposal. Further guidelines on how to apply can be found from Nottingham Trent University’s Doctoral School:

Prospective applicants should note that this is a self-funded PhD opportunity. Applicants are very much encouraged to apply for external funding.

Communication & Media Studies (7) Creative Arts & Design (9) Sociology (32)


Bohr, Marco and Sliwinska, Basia (eds) (2018), The Evolution of the Image: Political Action and the Digital Self, London: Routledge.

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Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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