Art and Artistic Practice in the Art Museum: How do these Support Creative Learning within the Primary School?

Tate and the University of Nottingham are pleased to offer a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership award, to commence 1 October 2019.

Schools workshop, Tate Modern 2018 ​​​​​​​Photo © Tate

Schools workshop, Tate Modern 2018
Photo © Tate

Currently Tate offers three regular forms of cultural resources to support school and teacher engagement in London: immersive professional learning for teachers; supported school visits and artist produced resources; and participation in artist-led workshops and projects. These resources provide an interconnected offer for primary schools. At present there is no in-depth research on how primary teachers take up these offers or how students benefit from each strand of activity.

To address this gap, this PhD will focus on four comparative case studies. It is anticipated that this research will inform Tate’s offer to primary schools going forward and make an important contribution to current thinking on how cultural institutions can best support schools in nurturing creative and cultural learning across the curriculum and the significance of art and artistic practice within this.

Applicants should present suggestions for possible PhD projects, indicating their approach, interests and appropriate academic experience. Proposals may, but are not required to, touch upon one or more of the following themes:

  • What is the specific contribution made by art, artistic practice and the art museum as a space for creative and cultural learning for primary school teachers and students?
  • What do programmes for primary school teachers and students in art museums offer in terms of cultural resources?
  • What do teachers and students take up from these cultural resources? How do they do this and what creative learning and teaching is enabled as a result?
  • What forms of professional learning support sustained visual arts-led pedagogy and students’ creative learning?

Principal supervisor: Professor Pat Thomson (Professor of Education, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham)
Second supervisor: Dr Emily Pringle (Head of Research, Tate)

At Nottingham the student will benefit from Professor Thomson’s expertise in a range of research methods and in academic writing, as well as working in an environment where arts education research is a priority. At Tate the candidate will work closely with the Schools and Teachers team and programme and will have access to and benefit from the expertise of gallery learning professionals.

Entry Criteria

Applicants should have an undergraduate and postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject, or equivalent relevant experience.

Applicants may come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds (e.g. English literature, history of art, sociology of culture, political theory, museum studies, media and communication studies, cultural studies), but it is expected that the successful candidate will be able to clearly explain the relationship between their existing training and the topic of the studentship, and to indicate how their present research interests relate to the proposed topic area. Applicants who have experience of working in the field would be particularly welcome.

The project can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.

To apply

Applicants should send:

  • a covering letter setting out their qualifications for this doctoral project
  • a CV with the names of two academic referees
  • a doctoral proposal of 1,000–2,000 words
  • examples of published or written work

These should be sent to the Student Services Team at Nottingham by email to

Deadline for submissions is 31 May 2019. Interviews will be held at Tate Britain in June/July.


For any enquiries relating to the studentship or the application process, please email

The successful student will join a large cohort of Collaborative Doctoral award students at Tate, as well as the thriving postgraduate community at the University of Nottingham.

Applicants will normally be restricted to candidates from the UK and EU countries.

The award is subject to the AHRC’s terms, to which applicants should refer before applying (see the Research Funding Guide). The studentship is funded for three years through the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership programme and includes tuition fees up to the standard Home/EU amount and an annual maintenance grant. The doctoral stipend for 2019/20 has been set as £15,559 (inclusive of CDP maintenance payment). Other funds to support research training activities and professional development are available. Note that overseas students are not eligible for AHRC awards (except under specific circumstances) and EU students who are not UK citizens are eligible to receive fees only.