War and Modern Fantasy Writing Studentship

The University of Glasgow and Imperial War Museums (IWM) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2024 under the AHRC's Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

This project examines War and Modern Fantasy Writing. It will be jointly supervised by Dimitra Fimi (Glasgow), Tony Pollard (Glasgow) and Andy Higgins (IWM), and the student will be expected to spend time at both institutions, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

The studentship can be taken up either full or part-time.

  • Start date: 1 October 2024
  • Application deadline: 15 May 2024
  • Interviews will be held online on: 7 June 2024

We encourage the widest range of potential students to study for this CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area.

Students should have an excellent academic record at undergraduate level. A Master's degree in a relevant subject would be welcome, but it is not a requirement. Those able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting will also be considered.

The studentship is open to both home and international applicants.

Project Overview

This project will offer a CDP PhD student the chance to consider the impact that the intimate experience of war has had and continues to have on writers of fantasy fiction. The student will have the opportunity to contribute to the scope and narrative of IWM's planned War and Modern Fantasy exhibition, to be held at IWM London in 2026.

Fantasy and speculative texts, in their broadest sense, are one of the most popular and global forms of cultural engagement and entertainment. Books, movies and television shows with fantasy themes form the cornerstone of the world's entertainment and elements of these texts have become part of the zeitgeist of cultures all over the world. These stories often have global reach and transcend time periods with their universal themes. This PhD proposal is expected to appeal to students of English Literature and/or Cultural Studies, who are wishing to explore how authors and readers either in the past or present have engaged with conflict through expressions of fantasy and speculative texts (written, visual, cinematic, etc).

The research will have two principal elements:

  • investigating IWM's and other archives' collections (including written, visual, and material culture) for hitherto unidentified or lesser-known manifestations of expressions of fantastical or speculative thinking texts (in writing, painting, propaganda) as a direct experience in or reflection of modern war and conflict.
  • interviewing a sample of current fantasy and speculative literature creatives (authors, illustrators, filmmakers, and other practitioners) including those who have lived, or are living, in modern war zones, and to explore the impact conflict has had on the development of their imaginative worlds.

The PhD candidate will be encouraged to identify relevant material from IWM's private papers, known to have information that sheds light on the role of fantasy and the imagination when processing the impact of conflict. IWM's visual collections (art, film and photographs) will similarly offer opportunities to examine the creative process when influenced by war. The student will be expected to engage with sources held at other archives.

Research Questions

Key research questions to be addressed include:

  • In what respects has war impacted on key creative practitioners of fantasy during the twentieth century?
  • Can we unearth examples of how experience in or the impact of modern war and conflict was expressed through fantastical or speculative methods (writing, visuals, propaganda) that hitherto have gone unnoticed?
  • Are we seeing new trends in how more contemporary conflicts are shaping the development of these subjects and themes?
  • In what respects is this contemporary literature similar/different from that which documented earlier conflicts?

Details of Award

CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 4 years or part-time equivalent of 8 years.

The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2023/2024 is £4,786. The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. The College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Glasgow will waive the difference between the UK and International fees for this studentship, meaning that both international and home students are eligible to have their tuition fees covered in their entirety.

The award pays full maintenance for all students both home and international students. The UKRI National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2023/2024 is £19,237, plus an allowance of £1000/year.

The student is eligible to receive an additional travel and related expenses grant during the course of the project courtesy of IWM worth up to £1000 per year for 4 years.

The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in events organised for all Collaborative Doctoral Partnership students who are registered with different universities and studying with cultural and heritage organisations across the UK.


  • This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants.
  • To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
    • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
    • Have settled status, or
    • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
    • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) have produced a PDF of Guidance on Eligibility.

  • We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming applications from students from all backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area.
  • Applicants should have an excellent academic record at undergraduate level. They should have or expect to receive a relevant Master's-level qualification or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the museum sector and potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.
  • As a collaborative award, students will be expected to spend time at both University of Glasgow and IWM.

NB. All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding.

How to apply

Applicants will be assessed on their academic record and research potential. Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dimitra Fimi by emailing Dimitra.Fimi@glasgow.ac.uk (note that applications sent directly to this email address will not be accepted).

To apply:

  • Please send the documents below in a word or PDF format to elaine.wilson@glasgow.ac.uk
    • CV
    • two references
    • cover letter outlining your research interests and suitability
    • one page document outlining what direction you envision taking this project

As we are required to report applicant diversity data information to the AHRC, a further secure link to a diversity form will be sent to you after we receive your application.

Any responses to this form will not be sent to reviewing panel members, if you choose to answer or not, any answers given will have no bearing on the outcome of your application.

The University of Glasgow and IWM will jointly assess the applications, hold interviews, and then invite the successful candidate to formally apply to the University through the postgraduate study portal.

The deadline for applications is 15 May 2024 and we are expecting to hold interviews on 7 June 2024.