2024-2025 University Of Birmingham PhD Scholarship For Black British Researchers

Dive into the world of African art with an exclusive PhD scholarship opportunity at the University of Birmingham (UoB). This doctoral program offers a rare chance to study a unique and under-explored collection of African art, housed within the university’s Research and Cultural Collections (RCC), a prestigious museum recognized by the Arts Council England (ACE) for its Museum Accredited status. The collection encompasses a rich tapestry of cultural traditions, showcasing a diverse array of objects and media from communities such as the Yorùbá, Hausa, and Asante. Highlighted within the collection are works by notable artists like Ben Enwonwu and Justus Akeredolu, alongside a significant body of Nigerian modernist paintings from the Zaria Arts Society.


The PhD scholarship aims to achieve two critical objectives: firstly, to provide a comprehensive critical analysis of the collection’s art objects, a task never before undertaken. This analysis will explore the intersection of form, content, and aesthetics within artworks traditionally labelled as ‘African’, challenging existing art historical classifications and exploring the nuanced meanings of ‘African’ and ‘diaspora’. Secondly, the program seeks to examine how African art collections can adopt innovative strategies to engage diaspora communities and broaden audience participation. This includes co-curation efforts and leveraging digital technologies, contributing to the RCC’s ongoing initiatives such as ‘Africanize’, in collaboration with ‘We Don’t Settle’ and Black artists in Birmingham.


The scholarship provides substantial financial support, including a stipend at UKRI rates (£18,622 per year), covering tuition, living expenses, and research costs, thus easing the financial challenges of pursuing a PhD. Scholars will also benefit from mentorship, access to state-of-the-art facilities, and a supportive community of Black British researchers. This initiative aims to address the underrepresentation of talented Black or Black mixed heritage students in academia. Eligible applicants must be UK nationals, not currently enrolled in a PhD program at UoB, and identify with specific ethnic groups outlined in the scholarship criteria.

Applications are open until April 30, 2024. Interested candidates are encouraged to contact the lead PhD supervisor before applying through the University of Birmingham’s online application portal, selecting ‘125th Anniversary Scholarships (CAL)’. This opportunity not only aims to enrich the academic field with in-depth research on African art but also to engage with broader discussions on decolonizing museum collections and curricula. For more details and to apply, visit the University of Birmingham’s website and embark on a journey to explore the profound connections between African art, its diaspora, and contemporary cultural expressions.


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