Self-funded PhD opportunities

No Place Like Home: Geography, Tourism and Pilgrimage in Contemporary Media Fandom

  • Application end date: All year round
  • Funding Availability: Self-funded PhD students only
  • Department: School of Media and Performing Arts
  • PhD Supervisor: Dr Lincoln Geraghty

Project overview:

Fan studies has bloomed into a diverse and multifaceted field of academic research over the last decade, fuelled in part by the mainstream coverage of fans and fan practices in the press and on television. This project focuses on one specific area of fan studies research: fan geography. This term is itself multi-coded, as it can involve the study of pre-existing places such as filming locations that fans visit as well as temporary exhibit spaces like the fan convention which pop up in generic locales like hotels and convention centres. Added to these more traditional interpretations of fan geography we can also study commercially orientated tourist attractions such as Universal’s Harry Potter World in Florida or Disney’s planned Star Wars Experience soon to be built following their purchase of the global franchise. What do fans get from visiting these different types of space? How do they interact with each other and physical objects in these spaces? How are both fantasy and real world experiences merged in spaces that are often used for quite mundane and alternative activities?

This doctoral research project is about travelling and exploring, assessing the historical importance of convention sites, stadia, pilgrimages, tourism, and the geographic spaces in which and through which fans travel to get closer to their object of fandom. The student will be encouraged to engage with and interview fans in those spaces considered important and lively to the fan communities that use them. Field research and site ethnography as a means to gather important research material for the project will be encouraged; getting to know fan spaces as intimately as those fans that value and inhabit them.

Specific eligibility criteria:

Applicants will have a good first degree (minimum 2.1 or equivalent) and ideally a Masters (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area. Exceptionally, equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications will be considered.

How to apply:

To apply or make an enquiry, please visit postgraduate research: Film, Media and Performing Arts

Applications should use our standard application forms and follow the instructions given under the ‘Research Degrees’ heading on the following webpage: 

If you would like further guidance on applying for our bursaries or would like to ask any questions about the research topic please contact Dr Lincoln Geraghty: