Studentship opportunity

Changing faces: social enterprise and geographies of appearance

This studentship is funded by the ESRC through the Scottish Graduate School of the Social Sciences

University of Glasgow
Human Geography, Environment and Urban Planning
Mode of study

Full time / Part time

Application deadline
15th March 2019

Project details

This collaborative PhD is based on a partnership between academics researching the geographies of (mental) health/disability and Remake Up (, a social enterprise in Glasgow that uses profits to fund subsidised or free permanent make-up (paramedical tattooing) for those with disfigurement or critical illness experiences involving facial or other bodily change. This PhD research will explore the impact of social enterprise in the context of medical tatooing, directly addressing a pressing social issue for a vulnerable group in a wider society that tends to operate with a relatively narrow set of facial aesthetics. The results will be an impactful research record for charities, social enterprise and NHS services that provide aesthetic reconstructions.

The academic contribution of the PhD will address a research gap in the social sciences to consider the face and facial politics (after Edkins, 2015). There is almost a complete lack of such research in human geography, and this study will specifically address this lacuna. The project will contribute original and innovative data and research publications to contemporary scholarship on ‘geographies of the body’.

Objectives / research questions

This PhD seeks to understand the diverse geographies of people marked out by their perceived facial and bodily differences. Its three specific objectives are:

1. To excavate the experience of disabling spatialities of facial disfigurement from the perspective of those with changed/changing faces.

2. To partner with a social enterprise, REMAKE UP, who provide paramedical tattooing, so as to understand the role of permanent cosmetics, together with a cosmetic aftercare service, in rebuilding social and spatial lives of disfigured or ill people.

3. To provide an impactful evidence base to both REMAKE UP and related National Health Services (NHS) about the social value and legacy of paramedical tattooing for those with changed/changing faces resulting from illness and disability.

The project will produce new findings relating to an under-researched social issue in ways that will be useful to organisations and individuals involved in the support of a highly vulnerable population.

About the institution

The Human Geography Research Group (HGRG) at the University of Glasgow is an expanding community of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students, with a well-established reputation for geographical research that is theoretically innovative, politically engaged, empirically diverse, and inclusive of a broad range of communities and partnerships. There are five main threads running through HGRG research: Collectively, HGRG researchers have sought to explore the workings of power in its myriad forms and the different places through which it flows. We engage with differing critical theories of feminism, postcolonialism, posthumanism, post-structuralism, political economy and historiography, enabling work that asks significant questions about the configuration of contemporary geographies, or that shapes The HGRG is committed to engaging with local communities and broader publics, and to forging transnational solidarities between the Global North and South. Our research practice, whether operating through sustained fieldwork or deskwork, enables progressive forms of activism and intervention in daily struggles and public campaigns. Our critical analysis is designed to speak back constructively to user-groups, and differing policy fields (urban, alternative economic and health). Our commitment to creatively, engaging research takes shape through collaborations with artists, composers, and curators in exhibition settings, public spaces and contested landscapes. See


Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria: • (If applying on a 1+3 basis) A good first degree (at least 2:1) in human geography or an equivalent social science/arts and humanities subject • (If applying on a +3 basis) Have a Masters degree that contains ESRC approved research training • Have a working knowledge of social-scientific research, through any disciplinary background, on matters of disability, chronic illness and bodily difference. • Have a good grounding in, and ideally experience of using, qualitative research methods (interviewing, ethnographies)

Students must meet ESRC eligibility criteria. ESRC eligibility information can be found here.

Award details

The scholarship is available as a +3 or a 1+3 programme depending on prior research training. This will be assessed as part of the recruitment process. The programme will commence in October 2019. It includes • an annual maintenance grant at the RCUK rate (2018/19 rate £14,777 full-time) • fees at the standard Home rate • students can also draw on a pooled Research Training Support Grant, usually up to a maximum of £750 per year

Other information

Additional information about the envisaged project can be sought from Professor Hester Parr ( It should be underlined that, while there is indeed a clear vision for this project, the student will be encouraged to take ownership of how it runs in detail (conceptually, methodologically, collaboratively).

How to apply

1. Check the ESRC eligibility checker:
2. Applicants register on GradHub and fill out EO data (this is a requirement of the application process).
3. Applicants complete and upload the prescribed list of required documentation to include:
• Application form
• Academic transcripts
• References
• CV
• An example of academic writing (an essay, review etc) – this should be uploaded in a standalone document with a naming convention as follows: candidate name, Supervisor: Hester Parr, University of Glasgow, Collaborative Open Competition and date
4. Applicants submit application through GradHub

Selection process

Applications will be ranked by a selection panel and applicants will be notified if they have been shortlisted for interview by April 15th 2018. Interviews will take place on TBC All scholarship awards are subject to candidates successfully securing admission to a PhD programme within the University of Glasgow. Successful scholarship applicants will be invited to apply for admission to the relevant PhD programme after they are selected for funding.

Supervisor/Contact details

Professor Hester Parr