PhD project

The representation of love and relationships in contemporary zine culture

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Application deadline

31 October 2023

The primary objective of this PhD project is to research the representation of love and relationships in contemporary zine culture.

Zines are typically self-published, low-cost and DIY pamphlets. The term goes back to science-fiction fanzines (fan-made magazines) in the 1930s. They have been a low-threshold medium of expression popular with marginalised and underrepresented individuals and communities since the early punk era via riot grrrls to LGBTQIA+ ‘makers’ in the present and those with disabilities, long-term illness or who are neuro-divergent. There is a thriving zine culture which is seen to be more inclusive and more diverse than other fan cultures.

The expectation is that the postgraduate researcher builds their own corpus of zines to examine, engages with zine makers and community organisers such as zine librarians and hosts of zine fairs through surveys and interviews, and conducts participatory research with community groups resulting in collaborative zines.

There is scope for the postgraduate researcher to make their own zines as part of their research following practice-as-research methodologies.

This project can be limited to zines and zines makers in an English-language context, or it can be designed as a comparative project with German-language or Finnish makers and texts. Other language combinations may be possible depending on the availability of co-supervisors.

The lead supervisor Michael Gratzke is professor of comparative literature and a world-leading researcher into love and relationships. He has previously worked with community groups using creative writing and practice-as-research methods to examine complex emotions. He makes personal and poetry zines and has published a collaborative comic book.

How to apply

  1. Email Professor Michael Gratzke to:
    • Send a copy of your CV
    • Discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).
  2. After discussion with Professor Gratzke, formal applications can be made via our direct application system.

Candidates must apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in English and Creative Writing

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