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Remaking and upcycling fashion and textiles: investigating the role of design and social enterprise in shaping the transition to a circular economy


Project Description

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three year PhD to commence in October 2020.

This studentship belongs to ‘Transforming Portsmouth’, a cross-university interdisciplinary research programme designed to provide actionable evidence to underpin Portsmouth’s transformation to a sustainable city. Portsmouth faces multiple challenges related to climate, economy and environment. The programme will draw evidence from around the world to really make an impact in Portsmouth. Through early and ongoing engagement with key local agencies, Portsmouth residents, and leading international organisations, the programme will use global excellence to meet local needs.

The PhD will be supervised by Dr Elaine Igoe, Dr Matthew Anderson and Prof Deborah Sugg Ryan. The University of Portsmouth is a member of the Shanghai Sustainable Fashion Education Committee. There will also be opportunities to engage with a range of key stakeholders such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, World Fair Trade Organization and RSA.

Dr Elaine Igoe is the Research and Innovation Group Lead for Fashion, Textiles and Material Futures at the University of Portsmouth. Her research interests include design methods as a vehicle for transitions to ethical and sustainable fashion and textile practices.

Dr Matthew Anderson is an expert on business ethics and his research is concerned with innovations in Fair Trade, Social Enterprise and Circular Economy.

Prof Deborah Sugg Ryan is a material culture and design historian with many years of experience teaching fashion and textiles students and an international research profile.

The work on this project could involve:
-Develop innovative and practice-based research exploring a range of design approaches and business models working with upcycling, circular economy and social enterprise.
-Contribute to research and policy papers tackling key global challenges of sustainable development and climate crisis.
-Opportunities for international placements in a social enterprise and leading circular clothing company.

Project description
This project will examine how social enterprises can support circular economic activities as part of sustainability transformation. It will focus on how social enterprises can address waste issues, raise awareness of sustainability issues in the community and develop new employability skills in circular economy business, design and manufacturing methods. This project will include supporting the development of a Portsmouth-based ethical and circular clothing social enterprise as a practice-based case study. In addition to two placement opportunities. The successful candidate will review garment production and lifecycles with specific reference to plastics, critique social enterprise aspects of circular economy models in fashion and textiles, and support place-based civic engagement with sustainability and plastic use in fashion and textiles.


General admissions criteria
You’ll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements
Due to the interdisciplinarity of this project the successful candidate should have experience of fashion and/or textile design and business management in an industrial or social enterprise setting. Familiarity with key debates and research on the circular economy and sustainable and ethical clothing is desirable.

How to Apply
We’d encourage you to contact Dr Elaine Igoe (), Dr Matthew Anderson () or Prof. Steve Fletcher () to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

If you want to be considered for this funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code AD&P5150220 when applying.

Funding Notes

The scholarship covers tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant of £15,009 (UKRI 2019/20 rate) for three years. Scholarship recipients will also receive up to £3,000 for research project costs/consumables during the duration of the programme.

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