An exciting opportunity has arisen to explore the popularity of immersive and interactive images in visual culture 1820-1920.  This Collaborative Doctoral Award will be based on the extensive and unique resources of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. Many new visual formats and optical devices in the period were characterised by their ‘immersive’ qualities: these could be experienced within the home or as part of a lecture, performance or fairground attraction. Circular and moving panoramas awed with enormous canvases; the diorama created illusionistic tableaux; stereographs beguiled with a 3D world, while the many varieties of peepshow promised a marvellously garish experience of patriotic battles and far-off places. If that was not enough, many printed ephemera and toys required an embodied spectator. ‘Immersion’ is often seen as a defining characteristic of contemporary digital media, but this CDA will elaborate a much longer genealogy. Within the broad parameters of the research project, the student will have the freedom to define and shape the project, and to decide which formats and media to focus on.


The studentship is offered through the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership. The supervisory team is Prof John Plunkett, Department of English, University of Exeter; Dr Phil Wickham, Curator of The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, University of Exeter and Prof. Julia Thomas, Cardiff University


Project specific enquiries should be directed to the lead supervisor: Prof John Plunket [email protected] . To find out more on the scheme and the application process go to the full advertisement here at 


There is another PhD opportunity under the same scheme to study audience development in contemporary cinema through the Watershed in Bristol. This project will be supervised by Professor Andrew Spicer at UWE, Mark Cosgrove at The Watershed and Dr James Lyons at the University of Exeter. Details are here

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