Role of independent cinema

The role of independent cinema in the age of on-demand culture. Closed to applications.


We are delighted to announce the availability of a Collaborative Doctorate fully-funded by the South, West & Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW2).

The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 19 June 2020.

Please note: Applicants need to apply to both SWW2 for funding and to UWE Bristol for a PhD place.

Studentship details

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake a fully-funded collaborative doctorate analysing the role of independent cinema in the age of on-demand culture, beginning in October 2020. The project explores independent cinema’s approach to curation, audience development and community-building; its relationships with funders and policymakers at local, regional, national and international levels; and the strategies it has developed to survive in the face of far-reaching changes to the ways in which films are distributed, exhibited and consumed notably the emergence of Subscription Video on Demand (SVoD) services.

The project will focus on the role of Watershed Cultural Cinema in Bristol but also engage with the UK independent film exhibition centre as a whole. Although the independent exhibition sector has been affected by the Covid-19 virus, as has every area of public and professional activity, how the sector has responded will be a consideration of the research but not a determining focus.

You will be jointly supervised by Mark Cosgrove (Film Curator at Watershed); Professor Andrew Spicer (UWE Bristol); Professor James Lyons (University of Exeter); and Dr Steve Presence (UWE Bristol). The studentship is fully funded for three years thanks to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)-funded South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW DTP2) and you will enjoy all the advantages of working within that collaborative framework that includes a number of training events. Although part of >SWW DTP2, you will be registered as a UWE Bristol student.


Studentships will start on 1 October 2020 and consist of an annual tax-free stipend of £15,285 (2020/2021), subject to satisfactory progress, for three years. In addition, full-time tuition fees will be covered for the length of the funding period.

Please see the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership Eligibility and Residency Guidelines.

How to apply

To apply for SWW2 funding

Complete a SWW DTP2 application form which includes the SWW DTP2 application form, personal information form and research project form.

Please take note of the SWW DTP2 guidance for applicants document (ignore the dates for application submission found in this document since they do not apply to this particular studentship).

You will need to provide copies of your academic qualifications (both certificates and transcripts of module/course marks).

To apply for a PhD place at UWE Bristol

Please follow the link below to submit your application online. Please quote reference 2021-OCT-ACE02 when applying.

Supporting documentation

You will need to upload a research proposal (see below), all your degree certificates and transcripts and your proof of English language proficiency as attachments to your application, so please have these available when you complete the application form.

Please note

As the project is already set, for the ‘research proposal’, you should instead include a 1,000-word statement where you should explain:

  • why you wish to apply for this collaborative doctorate
  • how you would approach investigating this subject
  • what you see as the advantages in working with Watershed, UWE Bristol and Exeter
  • in what way your interests, education and existing knowledge make you well suited to undertake this project.


You will need to provide details of two referees as part of your application. At least one referee must be an academic referee from the institution that conferred your highest degree. Please ensure that your nominated referees are willing and able to provide references before you submit your application.

Your application will only be considered if it is complete together with the above supporting documentation and confirms that you meet our minimum eligibility criteria. Missing or incorrect information will mean that your application will not be considered. If we need further details or additional documentation, we will contact you.

Apply for a PhD research degree.

Closing date

 The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Friday 19 June 2020.

Further information

Please note that you must be available to be interviewed (online or in person in Bristol depending on government restrictions) in the week commencing 13 July 2020

The start date of this PhD studentship is 1 October 2020.

For an informal discussion of the project, please email Professor Andrew Spicer at or Dr Steve Presence at

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