Drama and Theatre Studies Practice-Based PhD at the University of Birmingham


My name is Trish McTighe and I am the Admissions
Tutor for the Department of Drama. That means that I will be the first point of call for
any students interested in postgraduate study with us. I will assist in finding a supervisor
and I’ll give people a hand shaping their proposal or thinking about what they’d like
to do and how to structure their project. One of the easiest ways to locate funding
for postgraduate research programmes is to have a look at the website of the College
of Arts and Law Graduate School. You’ll find links. You’ll find connections. You’ll find
all kinds of useful information about eligibility, applications and about funding. If anyone is struggling however, it’s very
easy to drop myself or one of my colleagues a line and see if we can assist. We’re a really strong research institution
with consistently high scores in the Research Excellence Framework. We’ve really strong
facilities as well. We’ve a dedicated campus in drama down at Selly Oak. That means that
students who study with us have their own library, their own research spaces and generally
there’s a good atmosphere and a good community. The Drama Studies practice-based PhD is aimed
primarily at people who have some experience already as practitioners of theatre in some
way. Maybe they’ve come from a BA or MA programme which has a significant practical component,
so they understand how to either write or create Drama within perhaps laboratory contexts.
It’s aimed primarily at people who want to engage in academic or theoretical study but
are also really keen to complement that work with their own practice and creativity. So
it tries to create a balance between creation and theory and history. So the mode of assessment for the Drama Studies
practice-based PhD will be a completion of 40000 word thesis combined with a practical
project of some sort. That will be a creative work that you engage in yourself – either
a written piece of work or a devised piece of work that will function as essentially
research in itself – a kind of laboratory in which you test out specific research questions
or ideas through creative modes. Students who complete a practice-based PhD
in Drama typically either continue or go on to work in theatre. And that may be in theatre
proper or it may be in theatre in education or in educational contexts or applied theatre
contexts. It’s really useful if people are interested in studying a practice-based PhD
maybe to come to me first and have an initial chat about what the ideas are. I’ll be able
to put them then in touch with a supervisor who can help them shape a proposal, guide
them in terms of structuring and setting their work within a context of broader literature
and methodologies. The practice-based PhD differs significantly
actually from the research mainly because for the practice-based PhD you are going to
be required to answer your research questions in and through practice. For the research
PhD or Masters you will be engaging in one year or three years of lengthy study in independent
work, you will be complementing that as a practice-based PhD with your own creative
practice.

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