PhD Studentship in British Silent Cinema and the Transition to Sound: 1927-1933
Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship based at De Montfort University’s Cinema and Television History (CATH) Research Centre, Leicester. This full-time, three-year PhD will be fully-funded (fees and maintenance) as part of a major project to research the transition between silent and sound cinema in Britain. The overall project will consider the impact of the arrival of sound cinema looking at new technologies, business models, production practices, solutions in cinema architecture and design, and the impact on musicians, audiences and cinema going, as well as the films produced during this transitional period.
Research and supervision
The successful applicant will work as part of a project team based at De Montfort University, Leicester, in partnership with the University of Stirling (UoS). The PhD will be supervised by Laraine Porter (Project Leader) and Steve Chibnall (Professor of British Cinema), and the successful applicant will have a dedicated work station within the CATH Centre’s accommodation. The Centre is part of the Midlands 3 Cities Doctoral Training Partnership, and is one of the leaders in its field with three major funded projects and over 30 staff, research students and associate research fellows. One of its external partners is The Cinema Museum in London, which will be a vital research resource for the
Other project team members include Senior Researcher, Geoff Brown (London), Dr Sarah Neely (UoS), Professor John Izod (UoS) and a UoS PhD student ship also to be appointed. The DMU studentship will be based in the Cinema and Television History Research Centre housed within the Leicester Media School.
This PhD studentship will complement the project by considering the impact of the arrival of sound cinema on localised British cinema exhibition, distribution and reception and how new technical demands forced the industry, outside of London, to adapt. Taking account of regional variations in cinema culture and practice, market forces and audience tastes, the student will conduct empirical research on case studies including different cinema chains and associated operations; the impact on subsidiary businesses such as local equipment manufacturers and cinema service industries and the overall effect on local cinema economies, culture and programming. It is expected that the student will open up new avenues of research using resources such as local business and municipal records alongside national cinema business, trades union and associated trades archives. The research will focus on cities and market towns in the Midlands including Leicester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Derby etc.
Indicative areas of research could include:
· The influence of local political, cultural, economic and geographical factors on the speed and nature of the transition to sound cinema and the overall timescales across urban, market town and rural areas
· Local organisations and businesses that thrived or became victims of the new sound technologies and the extent to which national and international factors such as the 1927 Cinematograph Act or the economic depression compounded their fortunes
· What local solutions were deployed, including any localised inventors, manufacturers, architects and suppliers and the kinds of local business models adopted.
· The response of regional audiences to the arrival of sound looking at issues such as regional identity, cultural difference and any localised resistance.
· First class or upper second class undergraduate degree or an equivalent overseas qualification in a relevant subject.
· It is expected that applicants will also hold a Masters degree in a relevant subject, or show evidence of achieving this by October 2014
· EU applicants will be required to show proof of English language ability to the level of IELTS 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component (or equivalent). An undergraduate or master’s degree taught in a majority English-speaking country and awarded in the last five
years would satisfy this requirement.
· Available only to applicants who are UK nationals or other EU nationals who are permanently resident in the UK.
· Available for full-time registration only
· Applicants must be able to start in October 2014
You will have a background in film studies, cultural studies, or historical studies, preferably with an interest in the business and economics of cinema. Applicants will need to demonstrate an aptitude for scholarly research.
This is an excellent opportunity to be part of a major British cinema history project and we welcome applications from interested parties.
How to apply
The following documents are required to complete your application:
– A completed Application Form for Admission to a Research Degree Programme
– A completed Annexe to Application Form for Admission to a Research Degree Programme
– Two academic references
– Copies of your highest degree certificate and transcripts
– For EU applicants, proof of your English language qualifications (described above)
– A copy of your CV
– A 2 page personal statement that
a) Demonstrates your excellent academic performance in a field related to the proposed research, with explicit reference being made to your undergraduate and postgraduate research.
b) Explains why you want to undertake this research and what approaches you might take
c) Demonstrates your experience of working with primary and secondary historical sources including archival research.
d) Demonstrates your ability to organise and work independently
Please contact Morgan Erdlenbruch to receive copies of the application, annexe, and reference forms. Completed applications should also be submitted by email to this address. Informal enquiries should be directed to Laraine Porter.
Closing date for applications 5pm Friday 18 July 2014. Interviews will be held at De Montfort University in mid-August.