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Responses to the Medieval in Art, Architecture and Heritage

Coventry Charterhouse wallpaintingApplications are invited for a full-time PhD (via MPhil route) studentship on the following topic: The Responses to the Medieval in art, architecture and heritage from the early- to mid-twentieth centuries in the interpretation of medieval heritage in Coventry, c.1900-c.1960

The PhD will be co-supervised by Dr Jenny Alexander (University of Warwick) and Professor Juliet Simpson (Coventry University). It is funded by the University of Warwick and Coventry University.

The studentship is tenable for up to 3 years full-time, subject to satisfactory progress, and will cover the cost of tuition fees at UK/EU rates and an annual maintenance grant. The studentship will commence in early 2020.

The Project:

This studentship will investigate the significance of medieval heritage reception in Coventry, via the period’s constructs of national patrimony, and its relationship with transforming discourses of history, heritage, identity, art and community, including those connected to Coventry's School of Art and Design. This would also encompass a study of public and planning authorities’ responses to its medieval heritage in the period from the early to mid twentieth century. In particular, the PhD will consider the reception of Coventry’s medieval architectural, archaeological, visual and decorative arts heritage during the period leading up to and during the post-war rebuilding of the city. In particular it will investigate the period of transformation, planned during the 1930s and executed after the Second World War, against the developing national concept of heritage. It will offer a case-study of pivotal ways in which this pre-modern past was excavated, historicised, restored, visualised and mediated (by artists, writers and cultural institutions), to develop new knowledge of this medieval past in constructing modern responses to Coventry’s sites of memory. The PhD will examine their archaeological and cultural implications both in reframing identities of ‘modern’ Coventry, and in contexts of cultural shifts in the reception and recreation of medieval art and architectural heritage.Coventry St Michael's ruined window


Candidates should ideally have a minimum of a 2:1 Honours degree and a distinction-level Masters degree or equivalent in History of Art, History of Design, Decorative Arts, Architectural History or another relevant field.

Applications are welcome from students from the UK and the EU.

The successful applicant will be encouraged to engage in public engagement activities relating to their research, particularly during 2021 when Coventry will be the UK City of Culture.

How to Apply:

Eligible candidates should submit applications for this studentship to Dr Jenny Alexander ( .

Your application should include:

  • a cover letter of no more than 1000 words detailing how you would approach the PhD topic, and the skills and experience you would bring to the project
  • a current CV
  • a transcript of qualifications to date
  • letters of reference from two referees
  • a writing sample (either an essay or MA dissertation)

In addition you will be required to submit an application to study via the university’s online application system at:

Please make it clear in your online application that you are applying for the Responses to Medieval Coventry studentship.


The deadline for applications is December 13, 2019. The successful candidate will commence the studentship in early 2020.

For inquiries related to this PhD studentship, please contact Dr Jenny Alexander (

Coventry Holy Trinity with Coventry Cross