Ulster University - Belfast Campus. Photo credit: Nigel McDowell / Ulster University.

Ulster University invites applications for funded interdisciplinary PhD projects in the area of psychoanalysis and culture. Culture in this context refers to cultural objects, specifically film, art, literature, or music. Scholarships will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years.

The primary supervisor will be Dr Noreen Giffney, Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist and Psychosocial Theorist, and author of The Culture-Breast in Psychoanalysis: Cultural Experiences and the Clinic.

Proposals are sought that make use of the Kleinian and/or British Independent traditions of psychoanalysis to analyse an aspect of our emotional and unconscious experience with cultural objects. Applicants must be familiar with one or both of the aforementioned psychoanalytic traditions and demonstrate their knowledge in their application.

Projects might be textual in nature or employ psychosocial studies methodologies for the collection of research data. Psychosocial studies focuses on the inter-relation between the subjective and unconscious aspects of experience together with the social and cultural contexts in which we grow up and make our lives. Textual projects will make use of psychoanalysis to theoretically analyse an aspect of one of the following cultural forms: film, art, literature, music.

Psychosocial studies projects will make use of psychoanalysis, together with a psychosocial qualitative methodological approach, to collect and theoretically analyse research data, examples include, the free association narrative interview, the reverie research method, the biographic narrative interpretive method, the visual matrix, the social dreaming matrix, the socioanalytic interview, psychoanalytic observation methods, or case study methods.

Proposals that are particularly sought include the following:

  • Textual projects that employ Kleinian and/or British Independent psychoanalytic thinking to theoretically examine an aspect of film, art, literature, or music.
  • Textual projects that explore and theoretically analyse references to cultural objects and experiences in clinical writing produced within the Kleinian and/or British Independent traditions of psychoanalysis.
  • Psychosocial qualitative projects that consider what might happen unconsciously when audiences engage with one of the following: film, art, literature, or music.
  • Psychosocial qualitative projects that investigate psychoanalysts’ and psychoanalytic psychotherapists’ engagement with cultural objects in their private lives, and the possible implications of this for clinical practice.
  • Psychosocial qualitative projects that analyse visitors’ experience of engaging with cultural spaces, for example, art galleries or cinemas or concert halls or museums.

Submission deadline: 
26 February 2024

Further details:

How to apply:

Queries relating to the subject area or a proposed PhD project only:
Dr Noreen Giffney: n.giffney@ulster.ac.uk

All queries relating to the application process or terms of the PhD funding:


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