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Transchannel projects in Anglo-European dynamics: mediatisation and territorialisation of cultural policies and (para)diplomacies

UFR Langues et cultures étrangères

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Prof Melanie Torrent No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Topic and objectives

This project examines the impact of INTERREG Transchannel cultural projects on civic and cultural identities in England, by analysing how they have been publicised at the local, regional and national levels, and what influence they have had on the policies, practices and perceptions of the people involved (institutional or not, state and non-state, operators and participants). Over the last decades and after the British vote in favour of ‘Brexit’ in June 2016, it considers how INTERREG projects have contributed to the creation of a common cultural space – at what level(s) and on which issues – and to the emergence of new forms of democratic governance. The objective of the research is to identify when and why cultural cooperation programmes facilitate a redistribution of powers, cultural transfers and transcultural initiatives, and with what impact. By working on governance, the role of cities and rural communities in development and on shared memories, the research will reflect on the specificity of cultural programmes and show to what extent their mediatisation impacted processes of integration and disintegration in the contemporary European Union. It will also assess to what extent governance, welfare and sociability are connected – intentionally or not – and how mobility (of goods, people and knowledge) stimulates and/or benefits from INTERREG cultural projects.
In the ‘Brexit’ negotiations, the border regions of the Channel are a vital area, with a shared history and economic, trade and logistical networks making continued cooperation between the Hauts de France and the South of England particularly essential in the current diplomatic context. Seeking to identify the strategic role that the Hauts-de-France can play in Anglo-French and Anglo-European relations, the study will analyse INTERREG cultural projects in the longer history of Franco-British cooperation at the regional and local levels and situate Transchannel projects in the broader field of decentralised cooperation in Europe. It will thereby assess the impact of the many local actors of contemporary cultural international relations on Anglo-French-European relations and the role of regions in European construction. Combining political history, urban studies and international relations, the project examines the link between political cultures and cultural industries in transchannel/transborder cooperation, and the impact of these collaborations on how people identify with the local territory and its representations at the national and European levels.
This project is situated in the broader field of research on local authorities as diplomatic actors, on the geography of public policy and transnational networks, giving greater importance to the impact of infra-state diplomacy on Euroscepticism and Franco-British relations. Reflecting on the promotion of territorial identities through ‘place branding’ or ‘city branding’ and on ‘municipal networks’, this research will contribute to a better understanding of paradiplomacies and polylateral international engagements and to the role of non-state actors in the making of contemporary European states. It will offer a better understanding of the sociology of the actors of transborder cultural cooperation and a sociohistory of Euroscepticism in England across the political spectrum, by examining the impact of territorial policies on the conceptions and perceptions of the EU, and Europe more generally. It will therefore shed light on how cultural projects can be lead programmes to redistribute power locally and hopefully map out the places and spaces that seem particularly suitable for the continuation of Franco-British partnerships.


Candidates will have a master’s degree (or equivalent) in British studies, history, international studies or European studies, with a component in contemporary British history/politics.
An interest in several disciplines of human and social sciences (history, geography, political science, economics, literature, sociology…) will also be useful to conduct research on the impact of cultural policies, cultural transfers and the impact of languages on decision-making, action and creative processes.
An excellent knowledge of English and French will be fundamental to carry out this research in the transchannel area (both for written sources and interviews).
The candidate will be expected to carry out research in archives, lead semi-directed interviews and build databases for quantitative analysis. An interest in cartography will be appreciated, with training in the necessary methodologies being available during the PhD if required.

For further information on the project or application, please contact Mélanie Torrent.
Information is also available on the website of the doctoral school: see, and

Funding Notes

The funding is for a 3-year doctoral contract, awarded by the Hauts-de-France Region and the Université Picardie Jules Verne. The basic research salary is 1 769 € per month (if teaching is undertaken, further remuneration is awarded, see
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