How are arts and cultural organisations responding to climate change? New PhD opportunity in Leeds

The impact of climate change is without question the major environmental challenge facing citizens, cities, and countries today. While governments pursue scientific and technological solutions, how are arts and cultural organisations responding to the threat? What, if any, contribution might the arts and culture make to the solutions?

Dr Anna Upchurch, Lecturer in Cultural Policy in the School, and Dr David Bell, Senior Lecturer in Critical Human Geography, have been awarded a Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship (LARS) to begin work on an interdisciplinary research project to investigate at least three arts organisations, examining how their organisational missions, values, creative practices, and targeted projects address environmental sustainability, both implicitly and explicitly. Dr Upchurch has explored how the organisation’s core values at the Penland School of Crafts in the USA support and reinforce the intrinsic values – tolerance, care for others and the natural world — necessary to change human behaviour to address climate change. The project will build on this preliminary work with a long-term study of East Street Arts (ESA), a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. Headquartered in Leeds, ESA works nationally offering services to support artists to develop their creative practices. In this work, ESA re-uses existing commercial and industrial buildings to serve as artist studios and spaces for creative expression. Its focus on adaptive re-use exemplifies sustainable development thinking.

Applications for the PhD scholarship are invited from UK/EU residents for session 2016-2017. The scholarship covers tuition fees up to three years, along with a maintenance grant matching the Research Council UK rate. The studentship will be based in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries. Deadline for applications is 1 June 2016.

For more information about entry requirements and criteria for eligibility, please visit the Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarships page

For information about applying for a PhD in the School, email For information about the project, email Dr Upchurch at

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