Healthy peatland landscapes: a transdisciplinary practice-based enquiry

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022.


To apply please use the online application form. Simply search for PhD Art & Media (and select the entry point of October 2022), then clearly state that you are applying for a PhD and name the project at the top of your personal statement.

Online application

Before applying, please ensure you have read the Doctoral College’s general information on applying for a research degree.

For more information on the admissions process please contact

Director of Studies: Dr Angela Piccini
2nd Supervisor: Professor Ralph Fyfe  
3rd Supervisor: Dr Ben Gearey, University College Cork
Other supervisor: Dr Maureen O’Connor, University College Cork
Applications are invited for a three-year PhD studentship. The studentship will start on 1 October 2022.

Project description
Peatlands occupy a critical position within current climate change policy debates. They are part of interlinked systems of landscape health. The importance of healthy peatlands as providers of ‘ecosystems services’ has gathered pace in terms of international policy agendas in recent years – recognised under Kyoto Protocol as critical net carbon sinks.
These ecosystems are spaces in which arts, humanities, and science research entangles. In Ireland and southwest England, transdisciplinary responses to peatlands address their intersecting social, political, cultural, and ecological narratives and materialities. They are more than just receptacles for carbon: as O’Connor and Gearey (2021) suggest, the ‘cracked and wounded’ bodies of peat and human offer opportunities for us to approach unknowable futures in ways that demand human and non-human solidarities and reciprocities. 
This practice-based PhD will investigate and respond to the institutional, disciplinary and societal challenges of co-creating transformational knowledge across and through sectoral boundaries, using the particular case of peatlands. The successful candidate will have a strong background in science-art collaboration, with a particular focus on ecological methods and approaches, including fieldwork. The project will be based at University of Plymouth and take a site-based approach to asking: 
  • How might systems thinking and artistic practice-as-research offer transdisciplinary policy solutions for sustainable healthy landscapes?
  • How might artistic practice extend, complicate and contribute to peatland research, with a particular focus on reciprocal ethics of care? 
  • How might a collaboration between creative practice, scientific research, and diverse publics in peatland settings offer opportunities for engagement in and impact on understandings of ‘healthy landscapes’?
  • How might paleoecology and environmental archaeology methods, techniques and data transform artistic practice-as-research? 
  • How might interdisciplinary approaches to site-based and community- involved/co-produced research impact on discipline-specific knowledge? 
Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in an appropriate subject and preferably a relevant Masters qualification.
The successful candidate will be awarded a studentship for 3 years which covers fees, stipend (non-taxable £16,062 per year – increasing in-line with UKRI) and funding to cover research costs (£1,500 per year). A discrete annual travel/collaboration budget between UCC-UoP will also be available.
The studentship will only fully fund those applicants who are eligible for Home fees with relevant qualifications. Applicants normally required to cover International fees will have to cover the difference between the Home and the International tuition fee rates.
NB: The studentship is supported for three years of the four-year registration period. The fourth year is a self-funded ‘writing-up’ year.
Applications are welcomed from UK, EU and Non-EU students. Please be advised that there are English language requirements in place which must be adhered to. Please note funding does not cover visa costs (including immigration health surcharge) or other additional costs associated with relocation to your place of study.
If you wish to discuss this project further informally, please contact Dr Angela Piccini .
Please see a list of supporting documents to upload with your application.
For more information on the admissions process generally, please contact
The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 3 July 2022. 
Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview before the 15 July. We regret that we may not be able to respond to all applications. Applicants who have not received a response within six weeks of the closing date should consider their application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Our Strategic Research Partnership with University College Cork

Climate change is a global emergency. In the wake of COP26, it is more evident than ever that the world needs to take radical action to tackle this crisis.
To that end, the University of Plymouth and University College Cork have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join forces in establishing a Post-COP26 Doctoral Training Partnership.
It will aim to address some of the key climate challenges and opportunities of our time, while inspiring and nurturing the next generation of innovative and pioneering researchers.

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