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  The representation of love and relationships in contemporary zine culture

   School of Humanities

   Sunday, June 30, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The primary objective of this PhD project is to research the representation of love and relationships in contemporary zine culture.

Zines are typically self-published, low-cost and DIY pamphlets. The term goes back to science-fiction fanzines (fan-made magazines) in the 1930s. They have been a low-threshold medium of expression popular with marginalised and underrepresented individuals and communities since the early punk era via riot grrrls to LGBTQIA+ ‘makers’ in the present and those with disabilities, long-term illness or who are neuro-divergent. There is a thriving zine culture which is seen to be more inclusive and more diverse than other fan cultures.

The expectation is that the postgraduate researcher builds their own corpus of zines to examine, engages with zine makers and community organisers such as zine librarians and hosts of zine fairs through surveys and interviews, and conducts participatory research with community groups resulting in collaborative zines.

There is scope for the postgraduate researcher to make their own zines as part of their research following practice-as-research methodologies.

This project can be limited to zines and zines makers in an English-language context, or it can be designed as a comparative project with German-language or Finnish makers and texts. Other language combinations may be possible depending on the availability of co-supervisors.

The lead supervisor Michael Gratzke is professor of comparative literature and a world-leading researcher into love and relationships. He has previously worked with community groups using creative writing and practice-as-research methods to examine complex emotions. He makes personal and poetry zines and has published a collaborative comic book.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Professor Michael Gratzke ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a UK honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent for non-UK qualifications), and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline. For international qualifications, please see equivalent entry requirements here:

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) overall score must be at least 7.0 (with not less than 7.0 in reading, listening, speaking or writing). The University of Dundee accepts a variety of equivalent qualifications; please see full details of the University’s English language requirements here:


Step 1: Email Professor Michael Gratzke () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Professor Gratzke, formal applications can be made via our direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in English: English and creative writing : Study : University of Dundee

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

Communication & Media Studies (7) Creative Arts & Design (9) Languages, Literature & Culture (21)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding.

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