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City in the Box CDA

The City in the Box, the Box in the City: The Role of the Television Archive in Cities of Culture

MACE montage

Collaborative Doctoral Project between the Centre for Television History, Heritage and Memory Research, the Media Archive for Central England, and Illuminations.

Supervisors: Dr Helen Wheatley (Warwick); Dr Clare Watson (MACE), Professor John Wyver (Illuminations/Westminster University)

We are seeking an outstanding candidate for the following Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) project, based jointly at the University of Warwick, the Media Archive of Central England, and the television production company, Illuminations, to begin in October 2019. This award is a 3-year PhD scholarship covering fees (£4,347 in 2019/20) and stipend (£15,040 in 2019/20).

This CDA PhD focuses on the important relationship between the television archive and Cities of Culture. This connects to, but is separate from, the proposed AHRC-funded Ghost Town project ( which comes out of the ongoing research of scholars in the Centre for Television History, Heritage and Memory Research at the University of Warwick. The supervisory team outlined above will offer the researcher a valuable combination of skills and opportunities. This project offers an exciting chance for someone to develop a new body of scholarship that evaluates television’s role in City of Culture years, whilst being introduced to media archiving, curation, and production by leading experts in this field and learning how to take media history research beyond the academic library and the classroom. This CDA is particularly exciting as it will begin in the build-up to Coventry’s City of Culture year (2021), and will therefore be based on a live piece of research which reaches beyond the academy in a number of interesting ways.

The aims of the PhD are to:

1. Analyse and evaluate of the role that archive television (both programming made from the television archive and rebroadcast/screened archive television) has played in the current and previous City of Culture years (looking at the cases of Derry, Hull and Coventry). This aspect of the work (supervised at the University of Warwick) combines programme analysis with interviews with archivists, broadcasters, previous city of culture teams, and audience research. By the end of the three year research period, the researcher will have produced a PhD thesis on this.
2. Work with the Media Archive of Central England to explore opportunities for utilising/highlighting their archival holdings in Coventry in 2021. This work will adopt their previous ‘Full Circle’ approach to working with communities in relation to the archive . The researcher will look at the extant assets of MACE that relate to Coventry, develop outreach opportunities with diverse groups in the city on behalf of the archive, and facilitate the uncovering of items of archival interest in the community with a view to lodging them back in the archive. This researcher will also work with the team at MACE to establish what the legacy of Coventry 2021 might be in relation to ongoing public access to archive programming made in and about the city. In this aspect of the work, the researcher will also work alongside the team working on the ongoing Ghost Town project.
3. Put the researcher’s knowledge of the city’s history and its archival presence into practice by contributing to the production of Illuminations’ lyrical documentary about Coventry Cathedral for broadcast in 2021. Illuminations are the second partner on this CDA and the researcher would have the exciting opportunity to work with Professor John Wyver on this, whose professional profile straddles the worlds of broadcasting history and television production.

We are looking for someone with experience and/or interest in some or all of the following areas:

• Broadcasting/media history
• The history of the British twentieth century
• Archives and archiving, particularly audio-visual or related to broadcasting/media
• Questions of cultural value particularly in relation to cities of culture and/or screen heritage
• Media production (especially using archives)
• Urban studies

We are interested in receiving applications from candidates with an MA in one of these areas or an undergraduate degree plus relevant professional experience.

Applications should be made via the University of Warwick standard application process:

Essential guidance on filling out the application MUST be followed and can be downloaded here: 

You can contact Helen Wheatley ( or Clare Watson ( for further information about this PhD opportunity, or to discuss your personal statement in advance of the application.

The timetable for the application process is as follows:

Application deadline: By the end of 8/2/19
Successful candidates will be informed: By the end of 12/2/19
Interview date: 1/3/19
The PhD will commence on: 30/9/19