Doctoral Studentships, University of Sunderland

Information for Applicants

The successful candidate will join an Art and Design research area judged to have World-Leading and Internationally Significant research outputs in the recent Research Assessment Exercise, and with particular experience of Practice-Led research. Research students benefit from the University's generic research support and specialist research skills training in Art and Design (led by Prof Beryl Graham).

The successful candidate will join a curating research area CRUMB, judged to have World-Leading research outputs, and with a history of research partners including BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Eyebeam Art and Technology Center (New York) and Lancaster University. To enable interdisciplinary research, CRUMB collaborates with supervisors from research areas in Design (including Design4Science), Photography, Video and Digital Imaging, and Computing. Research proposals are therefore welcome on any of a range of current issues for curating art, and are welcomed whether they address new media art, or other forms of contemporary art or design.

Works which use new media invite a questioning of materiality, space and time, through their use of networks, interactivity, participation, internationalism, and generative processes. These characteristics can also inform the wider field of contemporary art and design, including live art, design, and socially-engaged art, and so offer exciting opportunities to rethink the ways in which curators work.

Research proposals are welcome on any of a range of current issues for curating art – including the work's production, exhibition, reception, documentation and historicisation.

The application form D4 should include a two page research proposal, covering the following areas:

  • Key issues, areas and questions of your research
  • How your proposed work relates to your previous experience and career aims
  • Methods and critical approaches
  • Timescales and structure
  • A consideration of your resource requirements (including subject specific training, travel, technical workshop, archival, library or other)


Applicants who have already started a doctoral research project and those wishing to check their eligibility with regards to nationality, residency etc. should refer to the AHRC Guide to Student Funding.

Applications must be made on Application Form D4 and emailed to by 12 noon, Friday 9 March 2012. Applications received after this date and time will be kept on file as reserves. If you wish to apply for more than one of the opportunities advertised on this website, please submit each relevant form. Northumbria and Sunderland Universities will take an overview of all applications received for these joint AHRC Block Grant Partnership studentships, when shortlisting. Interviews will be held during the week beginning 26 March 2012. Applicants are expected to attend interview in person.

How your proposal will be assessed

We will look to support high quality applications from well-prepared applicants. We will take into account your previous academic performance and/or professional experience in Fine Art or cognate disciplines and we will consider our capacity to match your proposed project with a suitable supervisory group.

Your outline proposal should be clear and coherent, evidencing intellectual or professional objectives; the potential to contribute to knowledge; how your research/professional goals fit with our programme, research training provision and strategic priorities.


Prospective students can informally discuss curating new media art research proposals in advance of application with: Professor Beryl Graham, Tel: 0191 515 2896, email

Information about the Curating research area

Full documentation, biographies and publication lists are available at Building on research into curating new media art since 1993 at the University of Sunderland, CRUMB was founded by Beryl Graham and Sarah Cook in 2000 in the School of Arts, Design and Media at the University of Sunderland. CRUMB is a resource for those who exhibit new media art. Activities of the research centre includes publishing books, curating exhibitions, and consultancy across the visual arts as well as organising workshops, masterclasses and conferences for the professional development of curators (such as Commissioning and Collecting Variable Media held in 2010 at BALTIC with Contemporary Art Society). The research centre has raised over a million pounds in funding from Arts and Humanities Research Council, The Leverhulme Trust, Arts Council England, and others.

Graham and Cook are the authors of the book Rethinking Curating: Art After New Media (MIT Press, 2010) which leads the field, went to reprint 5 months after publication due to high sales, and is on many reading lists. The CRUMB website shares the research with arts professionals and academics, including popular interviews, and the lively online discussion list has over 1100 international subscribers. CRUMB exhibitions, including Broadcast Yourself (Hatton/Cornerhouse), Serious Games (Laing/Barbican) and The Art Formerly Known as New Media (Banff Centre), aim to match new curatorial methods to new media art's behaviours. Articles written by CRUMB team members are to be found in books published by Routledge, Arts Council of England, University of California Press and The Banff Centre Press and in periodicals such as Leonardo, Art Monthly and Mute Magazine. Researchers have been invited to speak at Tate, V&A, Stedelijk Museum, National Gallery of Canada, New York University, and University of Technology Sydney. In 2011 Sarah Cook was co-chair of the Rewire international media art histories conference in Liverpool.

A series of AHRC Research Grants enabled CRUMB to expand its team of researchers to include web-programmer Spencer Roberts, post-doctoral researcher Dr. Verina Gfader, post-doctoral curator Dr. Axel Lapp, and doctoral researchers including Ele Carpenter (how socially engaged and net artists use new media to take cultural and political risk), Dominic Smith (Open Source methods compared to participative art projects) and Adinda van 't Klooster (bio-feedback art practices). In 2008, Caitlin Jones, Archivist and Curator, was CRUMB's Arts Council England funded visiting 'Inspiring Internationalist'.

CRUMB also contributes to the MA Curating course, now led by Prof. Beryl Graham, with modules led by Dr. Sarah Cook, and Dr. Mike Collier. The course attracts outstanding international students, and covers all contemporary art, taking a critical view of curatorial roles