University of Portsmouth Featured PhD Programmes
Anglia Ruskin University ARU Featured PhD Programmes

Photography, Landscape and Trauma

School of Art and Design

Nottingham United Kingdom Dance Digital Media Drama Gender Studies International Relations Philosophy Photography Public Relations Social Anthropology

About the Project

The proposed PhD project is an in-depth investigation into the complex relationship between photography, landscape and trauma. PhD projects should be concerned with the overlap between these three keywords by analysing a specific, well-defined and highly original case study proposed by the applicant. We can support projects where photographic media was used to represent sites of trauma, or where photography played a key role in remembering events, yet likewise we are also interested in ways with which images can be used as a way to engage with memory and history in new and innovative ways. In that sense we are purposefully using the three key words in the widest possible sense and are keen to receive applications that push the boundaries of these overlapping areas. The proposed project does not envisage any limits with regards to the geographic location, the historical dates of the case study or the research methodologies used. Rather, we are interested in new and innovative ways in which researchers, historians, photographers, artists or filmmakers engage, through rigorous academic research, with landscapes of trauma, memory and remembrance.

Photography has a well-established however also a very fraught relationship with sites of trauma. Candidates should be aware of this history as well as the key literature that places photography not at the margins, but at the very core of how trauma is represented, how it is impressed on the landscape and how we remember. Building on the work of key authors such as Baer, Azoulay, Linfield and Iversen, photography is not simply a bystander to history, but it is an active element in the way memories of and about sites of trauma are shaped. Equally, photography has also been used as a way to alter, subvert or even deny historical events altogether. The role of photography in these instances is immensely powerful and we envisage that opportunities for further research in the proposed areas is vast.

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 supervised by Dr. Marco Bohr, Associate Professor in Visual Communication, Dr. Katja Hock, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and Fiona MacLaren, Senior Lecturer in Photography. Potential applicants are welcome to contact Dr. Bohr at for any enquiries.

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 Artistic Research Centre and the Design Research Centre. 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.

As part of the application process, applicants are asked to produce an original 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.


Bohr, Marco (2019), No Man’s Zone: The Essay Film in the Aftermath of the Tsunami in Japan. In: Hollweg, Brenda and Krstić, Igor (eds), World Cinema and the Essay Film: Transnational Perspectives on a Global Practice. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Bohr, Marco (2016), Naoya Hatakeyama and the Photographic representation of Post-Tsunami Landscapes in Japan, Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, Volume 3, Number 3, pp. 355-365.
Hock, Katja (2019), Non Telos! A collaborative artistic research project, launched Summer 2019 by invitation of Helsinki Research Pavilion, Venice Biennale, with Beam Editions (ISBN978-1-9164200-8-3). Hock’s chapter addresses the phenomenological perception of the surfaces of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice.
Hock, Katja (2017), “Outside the frame” in Arnold, Markus & Allaoui, Mounir (éd), Figures de l’art, n°33, « L’image et son dehors : contours, transitions, transformations », Pau, PUPPA, pp.229-243. (ISBN: 2-35311-086-X).

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