Funded PhD with SGSAH ARCS – Queen Margaret University

Funded PhD with SGSAH ARCS – In the eye of the beholder: New perspectives on Scottish nature through exploring visual representations, value, and connection.

Qualification: PhD
Location: Edinburgh
Funding for: Home and International applicants


We know that nature is understood in many different ways, and is deeply entangled with human biographies, stories and ideas across all ages. Our understanding of nature emerges through both direct sensory experience and through visual representations – and while previous research suggests that direct experiences in nature are shown to nurture our connection to the natural world (framed as a positive subjective relationship), the indirect ways in which connection is nurtured has been less studied. This PhD project seeks to explore the potential tensions and possibilities between direct experience and visual representation, within a Scottish context, and how visual representations of Scottish nature (in a variety of media, including websites, logos, campaigns and artistic representations) impact on how we value and how we connect with the natural world.

The Project:

The PhD student will work in partnership with NatureScot and stakeholders to

to explore how different visual representations of nature can enhance cognitive, affective, and behavioural affinity with the natural world, also known as nature connection, and alter the perceived value of nature in a variety of audiences in Scotland today. This will include questions around how Scottish nature in represented in contemporary media, how it is accessed, represented and understood by individuals and groups and work towards creating an understanding of how particular representations or forms of media elicit different emotional responses.

This is a collaborative PhD, in collaboration with NatureScot, Scotland’s Nature Agency, and is jointly funded by the Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities, QMU and The University of Edinburgh.

The Person – Prior experience and key attributes:

The successful candidate will have a 1st/ 2.1 Honours Undergraduate degree, and/or a Masters degree in a relevant discipline (e.g. Art History or Theory, Media or Culture Studies, Psychology) and/or equivalent research experience.

What sorts of knowledge and skills are we looking for in an applicant?

  • An interest in the ways in which nature is represented in a variety of media, and the impact these representations have.
  • Ability to build relationships and communicate effectively with communities and liaise with key stakeholders.
  • Some research skills in qualitative or quantitative research and a willingness to learn and apply skills from both approaches.
  • Dynamism and enthusiasm to drive ideas forward, set goals and work to deadlines.

Your proposal should detail relevant interdisciplinary literature you might draw upon as well as outlining your proposed research design for the research aims outlined above.


Application deadline: 7th June 2024

Expected interview date: 18th June 2024

PhD start date: 23 September 2024

Please visit Funded PhD with SGSAH ARCS ( for information on how to apply.

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