Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Warwick Collaborative Fellowship Scholarship: Using Film to Effect Change

Using Film to Effect Change: Mental Health, Social Advocacy and the Moving Image

 A Warwick Collaborative Fellowship (WCF) PhD based jointly in Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick and The Pod, a secondary Mental Health service, in Coventry. Supervisors: Dr Michele Aaron (Warwick) and Christine Eade (The Pod).

The 3.5-year award covers annual fees (£4500 in 2021/22) and stipend (£15,609.00 in 2021/22).

We are seeking an outstanding researcher-filmmaker for this Practice as Research PhD: Applied Screen Studies. This PhD investigates the potential of film to represent human vulnerability in a way that counters taboo and stereotype and offers instead an ethical experience that might prove transformative for the subject of the film, most importantly, but also for the audience. This emphasis on the subject’s empowerment rather than ‘done-to-ness’ and on the audience’s attitudinal shift speaks to the growing area of academic interest in ethical film praxis (Aaron’s area of expertise). It also speaks to Eade’s and The Pod’s award-winning prioritisation of social advocacy, connectivity and citizenship.

The researcher-filmmaker would investigate this potential of film through working on and developing various film-related projects that support the Pod’s work – such as co-creating films with users/citizens about their mental health journeys – and that of Screening Rights Film Festival. Through this they will be able to further theoretical and practical understandings of the role of film in personal and social change, and its application within public health and community settings.

Aims of the PhD:

  • Co-create films with associates/citizens that tell their own stories in ways that are personal, authentic, unique and reflective of the Citizen whilst reflecting the values of The Pod
  • Explore the making and sharing of film as a transformational act as understood both through the Pod’s rights-based practice and ethical film theory
  • Consider, and enhance, the capability of the citizen films to be applied to other areas of the Pod’s work (e.g. to agitate and mobilize change, to strengthen the citizen’s position, to support monitoring and evaluation, to support policy recommendations and new strategic thinking) and the citizen’s life (e.g. for advocacy within psychiatric consultations).
  • Support the exhibition and impact of these films through working with Screening Rights Film Festival and developing, for example, a ‘mental health’ strand which would also involve citizens and associates in co-curation
  • Write up the practice as research as a 40,000 word thesis that furthers understandings of film’s potential to effect personal and social change through community advocacy

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

  • Ethics
  • Ethical Film Theory and Practice
  • First person film
  • mental health advocacy
  • The representation of human frailty
  • Film and/as activism
  • Community and Participatory Filmmaking

We are interested in receiving applications from candidates with an MA related to any of the above areas or an undergraduate degree plus relevant professional experience. Filmmaking experience is essential for all candidates. A DBS will be required.

You can contact Michele Aaron ( 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 25/06/21

Successful candidates will be informed: By the end of 28/06/21

Interview date: 8/07/21

The PhD will commence on: 04/10/21

Application Requirements: Your application should be made through the university’s applications portal and should include: a cover letter that indicates your suitability for and interest in the role (including links to your existing film work); a writing sample, cv and two references. You should upload your materials under the 'research proposal' or 'documents' section when applying.

Application Process: You should choose the option Applied Screen Studies: Practice as Research (PhD) (P-P30A) (Full-time) when applying on the portal.

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

Coventry City Council logoScreening rights Festival logoThe Pod logo