Peers-in-common: Alternative art pedagogies and the success of the commons

Vice-Chancellor PhD Scholarship


This is a fully funded scholarship covering tuition fees at the Home/EU rate (£4,260) and an annual stipend of around £14,777.

Peers-in common explores the social transformative potential of alternative art school pedagogy, a growing UK and European phenomenon. It investigates the conditions under which alternative art school students self-manage limited resources towards positive externalities, and how, through increased partnership and knowledge exchange, they might act beyond a narrowly defined art world to become cultural leaders within local and wider communities. The research design is influenced by the concept of ‘instituent study’ (Raunig, 2007; Haslam, 2018) a form of critique that suggests the ongoing instituting ‘event’ is crucial in deciding the future of political models of organising and that new forms of infrastructure and knowledge are possible without fleeing from existing institutional structures (Raunig, 2007).

Aims and objectives

This study aims to facilitate and observe core values of alternative art pedagogies - co-operation, resourcefulness, effective communication, creative thinking, alliance building and facilitating forms of leadership – and to test the imaginative and practical appeal of these to a range of non-art institutions and organisational stakeholders interested in nurturing similar models of self-organised learning – e.g. libraries, places of worship, housing trusts. If the self-organised learning essential to a mutually supportive community of alternative learners is relevant to many artists continuing to develop after their mainstream education, can this also be shown to be impactful for wider society?

The research explores the recent history and current developmental phase of alternative art schools in general, and of Islington Mill Art Academy (IMAA, Salford, f.2008), in particular, to understand how an educational form that prioritises student-leadership and mutual support opens possibilities to:

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Specific requirements of the project


The successful candidate will have a good honours degree (or equivalent) in art theories and practices (or a closely aligned area of study in the humanities / social sciences) and a Masters level qualification or equivalent professional experience demonstrating relevance to the proposed study.

Knowledge, Skills & Experience

The successful candidate will have:

Our ideal candidate would already be developing their knowledge and skills in some, or all, of the following areas: qualitative and artistic research methods; knowledge of art pedagogies; experience and critical understanding of participatory engagement, self-organising social systems and structures; knowledge and/or experience of public engagement activities.

Student eligibility

This opportunity is open to UK and EU applicants


Informal enquiries can be made to:

Professor Amanda Ravetz +44 (0)161 247 4606

How to Apply

The quickest and most efficient way to apply for this course is to apply online. This way, you can also track your application at each stage of the process.

Apply online (full time)

Apply online (part time)

Please quote the reference: ArtsHums-AR-2019-1.

You must also complete the additional Postgraduate Research Degree Supplementary Information document and upload it to the Student documents section of your online application.

Closing date

Midnight, 14 January 2019


Interviews are likely to take place in mid-February.

Research Study