Call for TECHNE Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD Applications: Roehampton University / The Lyric Theatre

About the Project:

There have been a number of initiatives to challenge the predominance of white, able-bodied, middle-class, cisgendered actors on stage. Groups like the Casting Collective have met with a degree of success in this regard. Likewise, training programmes that prepare young artists for university-level conservatory training have increasingly focused on groups traditionally under-represented on stage. Quite aside from the questionable veracity of directors who maintain that they cannot find any under-represented actors to cast, however, there is a disconnect between training and casting in the current model. Plays like Jasmine Lee Jones’ Curious (2021) explore the struggles that black students face in drama schools that have training techniques designed for and by white actors. What would it mean to radically re-envision actor training as the first step in imagining a new form of theatrical practice that was, from the ground-up, based on with equality, diversity and inclusion as guiding principles?

The Lyric’s new, free training programme—Springboard – launches in January 2023. This programme will recruit twenty 18-25 year-old artists from under-represented groups with no requirements for prior training. These artists will work alongside the professional actors at the Lyric, apprenticing to become part of the Lyric company. Rather than entering drama school (which will reproduce patterns that have not proved wholly effective), the goal of this training is to allow for a co-design process—the development of an artistic community. The Lyric intends to develop and fine-tune its training methods in order to then disseminate these methods world-wide. The PhD student would actively engage in designing this new training technique. Questions of access, casting / representation and training are active components of our field. The Lyric’s new, experimental approach provides a PhD student the chance to directly engage with these issues and to intervene in the training to workshop new possibilities.

The proposed PhD project might address any combination of the following: --The relationship between actor training and EDI initiatives in the UK -- Pedagogies of the oppressed / revolutionary pedagogies Page 3 of 5 --Actor training as practiced in the Global East and South -- Manifestos for inclusive theatre practice. -- Barriers to access and modes of incorporating accessibility at all levels of the training and production. How do the power structures of traditional arts pedagogies interact with the ability to create? How do these structures limit the ability of theatre to change itself or the world? What manner of interactions (apprenticeships, co-design) will promote different responses? What models exist in context within or beyond the UK that might inform a rethinking of actor training? What groundwork needs to be laid before this training will serve its purpose? How can the idiosyncrasies of a training process be systematized without decreasing the fluid autonomy of the artists involved? These are all questions that a potential PhD might seek to answer in theory and in practice.

Alongside reviewing the practice and literature of actor training, and analysing, for instance, power dynamics and barriers to access for actor trainees, the student will be invited to design and lead sessions within the Springboard programme. This will allow for an action research methodology to be established and practice to be potentially altered. Monitoring and follow-up would be required to see its effectiveness. While the

core outputs are negotiable, a training manifesto, toolbox or series of lesson plans – based on longitudinal evidence from the Lyric training programme – is an expected component. The form of this intervention (written, video, etc) will depend on the candidate’s specific investments, but, regardless of form, the student will be required to consider issues of dissemination beyond the academic setting.


This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants. Applicants should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification by the time of taking up the appointment, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting.

How to apply:

Candidates should apply through Roehampton's online portal by Friday 27th January 2023.

Please include in your application:

Your CV

An outline, of 1000-2000 words explaining why you are interested in researching this topic, including what you would bring to the project and how you think you would take it forward

A sample of relevant writing (ideally this should be between 5,000 and 10,000 words but this is flexible) or relevant documentation of your training practices.

A transcript of your university-level grades.

The successful applicant will then be expected to apply formally through the TECHNE portal.

All prospective students are strongly advised to first make informal contact with the lead supervisor Dr Glenn Odom (

Funding Notes:

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 2022/23 is £4,596.00. Note for international applicants: where an international student is successful, Roehampton will waive the difference between the home and the international fee.

The award pays full maintenance for both home and international students. The National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2022/23 is £19,668/year inclusive of London weighting and cost of living increase, plus an additional CDA maintenance payment to enable travel and engagement with the partner organisation.

AHRC/Techne-funded PhD Studentship

(University of Roehampton and The National Archives)


“Cold War Spies: (Counter-)Espionage, surveillance, and the national security state in Cold War Britain

Applications are invited for an AHRC/Techne-funded, three-and-a-half-year PhD studentship to be hosted jointly by The National Archives and History in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Roehampton. The studentship will commence in October 2023, with an option to study part time if required.

The National Archives contains unique documents, rich in detail, relating to British espionage and Cold War spycraft, including MI5 Security Service files, Prime Minister’s Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office records, and propaganda/disinformation policy documentation. This PhD presents a unique opportunity to explore the evolution of Britain’s Cold War security state, utilising The National Archives’ collections under expert archivist guidance to explore the development of modern surveillance techniques, ‘profiling’ of ‘enemies of the state’ and the cultural and political ramifications of espionage during the Cold War.

The specifics of the PhD topic will be decided in consultation with the student and supervisors, but it is expected that the project will make a significant contribution to British history in its wider Cold War entanglements and explore previously under-researched questions on the state construction of ‘the spy’ and ‘traitor’ with a strong focus on overlooked archival sources held at The National Archives.

While previous archival experience is desirable in the candidate, the project offers exciting professional development opportunities and the successful applicant will contribute to a well-established public engagement and outreach programme at The National Archives, including contributing to exhibitions and disseminating research to diverse audiences. The successful applicant will also contribute to the thriving research culture at both the University of Roehampton and The National Archives through internal seminars, updating guidance on Intelligence records, and through open access research outputs. 

Research context

We invite applications for PhD research aiming to provide an everyday history of espionage and surveillance in Cold War Britain. In exploring the rich surveillance files of suspected spies, traitors, and subversive persons in the MI5 files held at the National Archives, the successful candidate is encouraged to use these materials as a lens into wider historical themes of the era such as the transformation of (secret) policing, notions of public and national security at home, and the transformation of criminal justice as well as “profiling” of dangerous persons threatening the political stability of early Cold War Britain. Based on access to previously under-exploited archival materials, the successful candidate will explore the history of British security services and their public perception in redefining public and national security in a new social and political situation that historians have called the ‘semi-mobilisation’ of societies in the face of the new Cold War threat.

Potential themes include: 

  • Espionage, treason, national and public security frameworks
  • The profile of ‘the spy’, ‘traitor’ or ‘subversive person’ (based on their sexuality and gender, politics, religious belief, private/public behaviour). Focusing on the ‘compartmentalisation’ of the individual’s life (or lives) and an exploration of the psychological aspects of this.
  • Institutional logics of counter-espionage and mindsets of individuals tasked with catching spies
  • Public awareness campaigns, government public engagement materials, wider social and cultural discourse around the Cold War ‘spy scare’
  • Spy/surveillance gadgets: role of technology in the transformation of WWII espionage/counter-espionage into Cold War techniques as part of the ‘digital revolution’ in the field of national security
  • Social and cultural impact of ‘semi-mobilisation’ of society in the ‘hunt for spies’
  • New threats: ‘industrial subversion’ and economic espionage
  • the debates about secrecy, the rights of the individual citizen, and accountability of state institutions


The supervisory team will be Dr Sebastian Gehrig, Dr Rotem Giladi, and Mark Dunton (Principal Contemporary Specialist, The National Archives). Further expertise will be available from The National Archives Team.

We encourage applications from candidates of all backgrounds and identities, and we are especially keen to hear from candidates of global majority ethnicities who are currently underrepresented. We welcome applications from candidates with a masters in a relevant subject and/or equivalent professional experience. The University of Roehampton’s EDI policy can be found here; while The National Archives EDI policy can be found here.

Scheme notes and award holder Terms and Conditions can be found here.

For expressions of interest and general inquiries, please contact Dr Sebastian Gehrig ( by 6th January 2023. Applicants please note that the final deadline for applications via the University of Roehampton portal is Friday 27th January 2022.  with interviews scheduled to take place the following week. Please also note that interviews will be held virtually.