Diversifying PhDs with Cultural Partners in the Midlands

The Midlands4Cities Doctoral Training Partnership (M4C) brings together eight leading universities across the Midlands to support the next generation of arts and humanities doctoral researchers, and is set to fund 460 PhDs between 2019-2024. Central to M4C’s vision is collaboration with partner organisations and an exciting new development is the growth of Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) - PhDs that are co-designed and co-supervised between academics and a partner organisation.

When M4C launched recruitment this October, it included 15 Collaborative Doctoral Awards with a host of national, regional and local partners. Different in scale, and spanning sectors, these partners range from dance companies and literary festivals to museums, archives, arts organisations, charities and commercial bodies. The CDAs include projects with organisations like The National Trust, Hay Festival and the British Games Institute, but also projects with partners based in the Midlands – in the ‘four cities’ of Birmingham, Coventry, Leicester and Nottingham and across the region.

As the Director of Midlands4Cities, Paul Grainge, comments: ‘M4C is committed to working with partners that connect to the Midlands region and CDAs are exciting as they often appeal to applicants with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds, something we are especially keen to encourage.’

Diversity is a keyword for M4C and has provided the impetus behind a resource it has produced for organisations who may wish to collaborate with universities but don’t know how, what is involved, or who to ask. Working with M4C’s Partners Advisory Group, chaired by Paul Edmondson (Director of Research at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust), Grainge says that he hopes that ‘10 questions about partner-university engagement’ will help demystify the way that collaborations can take shape.

For general enquiries about M4C, contact enquiries@midands4cities.ac.uk or for partnership information, placements@midlands4cities.ac.uk