Three fully funded collaborative PhDs, with Tate, UK Music & Whitechapel Gallery

The School of Arts and Creative Industries (ACI), London South Bank University is delighted to offer three collaborative doctoral research scholarship opportunities commencing February 2024. Each scholarship is fully funded for three years (UKRI rates) and includes full course fees, an annual stipend (including an additional London allowance) and associated costs, such as training.

LSBU is a modern university with a mission to transform lives, communities, businesses and society through applied education and insight. We strive to influence the wider world and to positively impact on the society around us. LSBU’s PhD Scholarships are central to this vision.

LSBU is an inclusive and welcoming organisation, committed to eliminating discrimination based on age, race, religion/belief, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, caring status, and social class. This means that we work pro-actively to eliminate individual, institutional, and systemic inequalities. We believe that it is not enough just to eliminate discrimination but that we must speak out and act against inequalities wherever and whenever they occur.

This scholarship is open to UK and international students but only home fees are covered. We offer three-year support for full time doctoral candidates to undertake collaborative research jointly led by ACI and industry partners.

The collaborative doctoral projects offer a collaborative supervisory team drawn from both London South Bank University and the partner organisation. The successful candidate will benefit from the research and practical resources of both partner institutions, becoming a full participant in the community of researchers at ACI and embedded in the organisational culture of the programme organisation. The rationale for collaborative doctoral projects includes the relationship building that brings long-term benefits for both partners, who gain access to resources and materials, knowledge and expertise to provide social, cultural and economic benefits to wider society.

Project 1: Tate Digital
Generative AI and the Art Museum: The Online Collection of British Art, Audiences and Visuality
A partnership between Tate, Centre for the Study of the Networked Image and Royal College of Art

The research seeks to understand and develop new knowledge of the ways in which users engage with visual images in network culture in the light of recent generative AI image software. It will do this through a specific focus upon online engagement with Tate in relationship to the collection of British Art and Tate’s exhibition and display programme. It aims to contribute to a greater knowledge and understanding of the circulation of the computational image and the reproduced work of art in supporting the development of Tate’s online user base. The studentship offers the opportunity to develop practice-based doctoral research with Tate Digital to develop new modes of co-curating with a diversity of audiences. With recent developments of machine vision employed in AI generative interfaces, such as Chat GTP-3, DALL-E-2, Craiyon and Bing, new opportunities arise to investigate the ways in which users collaborate with machine vision in the process of image making. This research aims to reverse engineer what is involved technically and culturally in producing AI composite images from prompts such as, ‘a still life in the style of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’ for example. The research will be of benefit to Tate Digital and Art Museum curators in thinking about audiences of the future and how the museum can engage with them.

Director of Studies: Prof Andrew Dewdney
Co-Supervisor: Prof Victoria Walsh (RCA)
Reference Number: ACI2401

Project 2: UK Music  
Artificial Intelligence as a Creative Tool in Music and Game Production
A partnership between UK Music and Creative Technologies Research Centre

How can AI be understood within creative practices such as music production, sound design, game development and interactive sound? To what extend are the affordances of creative AI tools reconfiguring the process of music making? Research in this field can focus on novel ways in which AI may be used in production, identifying musical elements that could be assisted by machine learning or novel creative workflows that emerge when working with AI. In the process, questions arise regarding agency, authorship, and copyright. We can make sense of such developments in relation to theorisation of existing musical tools and instruments, however novel theoretical frameworks maybe required to adequately grasp the consequences of AI in music production and sound design. 
Your postgraduate research project can be theory-based, ethnographic, practice-led, or practice-based and will benefit from our current research expertise in algorithmic music making, electronic dance music, game music, competitive AI game spectatorship, as well as from the music industry networks of UK Music and its Music Academic Partnership. Addressing the potential of AI as creative tool, your work will contribute to high-level publication work and innovative creative production. 

Director of Studies: Prof Hillegonda Rietveld 
Reference Number: ACI2402

Project 3: Whitechapel Gallery
Digital Divides: Curating within and beyond the Contemporary Art Institution

A partnership between Centre for the Study of the Networked Image and Whitechapel Gallery

There is a long history of artists and curators working with digital technology and yet relatively little seems to have changed in the practices of contemporary art galleries and museums, and there remains a general lack of awareness of how wider cultural practices have responded to and been shaped by networked technologies. The ‘digital divide’ between contemporary art and new media may have been eroded to an extent, yet still curatorial and programming approaches seem to be locked into thinking of technology as a tool or means of communication rather than allowing for a more radical rethinking of the protocols for curatorial experimentation, public programming and audience development. Practices still tend to follow traditional models rather than building on, and learning from, the affordances, imaginaries and epistemological potential of the technology and network itself. What different models of curatorial practice, public programming and audience engagement might now emerge?
The invitation for proposals is to explore these broad areas of interest in the context of a working arts institution – in support of the ongoing development of ‘Digital Whitechapel’ as part of the Gallery’s new strategy. The physical location of Whitechapel Gallery in East London also opens up discussion of the ‘digital divide’ in another crucially important register to identify the gap between demographics and regions that have access or restricted access, or knowledge of, technology (N.B. The Borough of Tower Hamlets has high rates of digital exclusion). In this light, we are interested in proposals that explore how a broad definition of curatorial practice that emphasises collaborative methods can help to shape equity, access and learning programmes within cultural institutions working with their local communities. This might include a mapping and analysis of recent historical developments and case studies in this area to inform the development of future models. Proposals can approach these issues in multiple ways but are expected to take the form of an embedded, practice-based, qualitative study, developed closely in partnership with both institutions.

Director of Studies: Prof Geoff Cox 
Co-Supervisor: Dr Richard Martin (Whitechapel Gallery)
Reference Number: ACI2403

The successful candidates will:
• Have a proven, strong educational background in a discipline of the Arts and Humanities (digital media, music, games, performance, curating, etc.)
• Be excited and inspired by the proposed project area.
• Be a self-starter.
• Have good communication skills.
• Have an inquiring mind and be willing to challenge themselves.

The School of Arts and Creative Industries is an interdisciplinary, vibrant research environment with international collaboration and networking opportunities and dedicated research space. Successful candidates will be homed within a research group and will benefit from the networking opportunities and unique connections the Research Groups offer.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the second week of January and commence their PhD soon after. Candidates are welcome to contact the supervisors listed on the advertisement with informal enquiries before the application deadline.

• Bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject – 2:1 or 1st (essential)
• Master’s degree in a relevant subject or equivalent professional experience

English Language requirements:
If applicable – IELTS 6.5 overall (with a score of at least 6.5 in each individual component) or equivalent.

Applications are open to UK and international students but only home fees are covered.
Please indicate if you are likely to require a visa on your application.
We are unable to support visa costs.

How to Apply
Please email ACI Research Office ( at the apply button above. Please submit a CV, a one page Covering Letter stating how you meet the requirements and why you are interested in the proposed research project, and a 700 words research proposal that meets at least one of the areas of supervision mentioned above.

Application deadline: Monday 18th of December 2023
Interviews: The week starting Monday 8th of January 2024