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Leverhulme funded PhD Scholarship: A History of Smallfilms Animation Studio

The School of Media, Art and Design is delighted to invite applications for a fully funded PhD scholarship worth £55,251 to begin on 1 February 2018, as part of a Leverhulme Trust Research Project titled ‘A History of Smallfilms Animation Studio’. 

This Leverhulme funded project, led by Dr Chris Pallant, seeks to establish, in the fullest sense, a broad historical narrative of the Smallfilms studio and its many animated works, including: Ivor the Engine, The Saga of Noggin the Nog, PingwingsThe Pogles and Pogles’ Wood, Clangers, Bagpuss, and Tottie: The Story of a Doll's House. The project represents a timely attempt to capture the evolution of the studio’s works from pre-production, through production, to broadcast and reception, by combining critical analyses of primary archival documentation, extensive interviewing of a range of Smallfilms creative collaborators both past and present, primary textual analysis, and a content analysis of print and oral responses to Smallfilms’ animated shows.


The PhD student, who will have a background in Animation Studies and a knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research methods, will participate fully in the project activities, including working in the Smallfilms archive, engaging in primary textual analysis, conducting semi structured interviews, and completing a programme of content analysis. Supported through the supervision of Dr Pallant, the PhD student will be encouraged to define their own doctoral research questions centred around investigating the contributions made by Smallfilms to the development of British animation more broadly. Consequently, the PhD research and subsequent thesis will provide a complementary but distinct insight into the significance of the work of Smallfilms.

Applicants should have an outstanding undergraduate record (ideally, though not necessarily, in the field of Animation/Film/Media Studies or History) and experience of research at Masters Level in an area relevant to the project. 

The PhD student will be based in the School of Media, Art, and Design, which is home to a diverse and dynamic postgraduate community, and offers excellent in-programme support and research training provision. The proposed start date is 1 February 2018. The Studentship covers full-time UK/EU tuition fees, plus an annual maintenance stipend of £14,296 for up to three years. Funding in years two and three is dependent upon satisfactory progress, and no funding will be available beyond the end of year three. You will also have access to travel funds as part of the Leverhulme project research.

How to apply

Apply now using the standard PhD application procedures.

In your application, please indicate the name of the scholarship you are interested in, ‘A History of Smallfilms Animation Studio’, and give ‘Leverhulme Trust’ as the funding body.

Deadline: 15 December 2017

We will conduct interviews during the week beginning 15 January 2017.

Informal enquiries: Email Dr Chris Pallant:

The Leverhulme Trust was established by the Will of William Hesketh Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers. Since 1925 the Trust has provided grants and scholarships for research and education. Today, it is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing approximately £80m a year. Visit the Leverhulme website for more information about the Trust. 

Information regarding the Graduate School scholarships is to be confirme later this year.

External funding available

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Last edited: 05/12/2017 07:46:00