This Research & Knowledge Exchange Doctoral Project brief summarises our priority areas of research interest under the heading of: Death and Dying: Texts, Practices, and Inequalities.

We welcome all research degree applications aligned with and in response to this brief.

Project brief details

Death interacts with a broad range of social and cultural inequalities that function in terms of representation, practice and lived experience. Inequalities in death can be seen in the ‘bury your gays’ trope in film and television, in cultural production that reifies or challenges the representation of death personified as white and male, in disparities in global media reporting and in a growing body of research on the disposability of women across a multitude of media. In practice and lived experience it can be seen in funeral poverty, access to end-of-life care, inequalities in memorialisation and ‘dark tourism’ sites, and in death demographics (eg. those more likely to die by suicide, of Covid-19, or any number of other causes that function to both reflect and mask broader social and cultural inequalities). Storytelling is linked to these inequalities through its capabilities to bring about changes in experience and perception, to reinforce or mitigate inequalities, generate empathy and understanding, challenge stereotypes and stigmas, advocate for change, and amplify marginalised voices in a way that offers both opportunities for education and for agency. The successful candidate will respond to this broad brief with a specific project on the role of storytelling in death inequalities. They might focus on representation, practice and/or lived experience, and their research may engage with the analysis and/or production of story in a research proposal that focuses on responding to, mapping, and engaging with the role of storytelling in addressing inequalities in death. 

We are open to a range of possible subjects for example: literature, film, games, creative writing, graphics, photography, fine art etc. Projects can be critical or creative. 

Strategic alignment

Projects deriving from this brief are expected to sit within the Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy and the following department.

Department School of Communication

All successful research degree project proposals must emphasise a clear alignment between the project idea and our Research & Knowledge Exchange strategy. 

Project brief lead

Dr Ruth Heholt: profile image
Dr Ruth Heholt

Project supervisor: Associate Professor Ruth Heholt

Ruth Heholt is an internationally renowned scholar in the fields of Gothic, supernatural, Victorian, folk horror, and crime fiction studies. She is author of Catherine Crowe: Gender, Genre, and Radical Politics (Routledge, 2020) and co-author of Gothic Kernow: Cornwall as Strange Fiction (Anthem Press, 2022). She is co-editor of several collections including Gothic Britain: Dark Places in the Provinces and Margins of the British Isles (2018), The Victorian Male Body (2018), and Haunted Landscapes (2017).

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How to apply

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We welcome all research degree applications aligned with this Doctoral Project brief. ​To apply in response to this brief or learn about the application process click the button below.

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Project brief & project proposal enquiries

To discuss this project brief, ideas or project proposal responding to this brief, please contact: Associate Professor Ruth Heholt.


Application enquiries

For all other application related enquires please contact the Research & Development team.


T01326 255831

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