Careers and professional development

Career pgr fahacs

As a postgraduate researcher in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies you’ll be able to explore your interests in-depth and develop expertise in an area that fascinates you.

Throughout your research degree, and by joining our supportive, multi-discipline community, you’ll gain a broad range of skills to help you prepare for your future career, as well as enhancing your creative and critical thinking.

A personalised, individual training plan will be created by your supervisor(s), and you’ll share and discuss your work with fellow researchers and scholars across the campus through the excellent networking opportunities we provide.

Your career

We are committed to ensuring you are well prepared for your career, whether that be in academia, research or another sector of employment. All of our early career researchers have access high-quality services and support from our award-winning Careers Centre, including:

  • specialist postgraduate employment advisors;

  • graduate recruitment events;

  • job market insights and preparation;

  • tailored PhD workshops and networking events;

  • links to relevant and specialist websites and downloads.

Leeds Doctoral College

You can find more research-enhancing services and postgraduate support at the Leeds Doctoral College.

The College organises an annual showcase, which provides you with valuable opportunities for sharing and exhibiting research and receiving feedback.

Leeds Arts Humanities Research Institute

In addition, the Leeds Arts Humanities Research Institute (LAHRI) can also offer support through their Postdoctoral Fellowship, to help you further your arts and humanities-based research and career interests.

Your professional development

During your postgraduate studies, you’ll enhance your personal and professional skills and develop connections with staff and fellow students within our welcoming, creative and inclusive research environment.

You’ll be able to access free training sessions from the University’s Organisation Development and Professional Learning (ODPL) unit. Some of these sessions are compulsory, but we also encourage students to explore our other courses.

In addition, the University Library offers a variety of facilities, information and support that can be specifically tailored towards your postgraduate research.

You’ll also be able to develop your computer skills through IT training, with classroom-based workshops and online resources available to all of our students.

Recipients of an AHRC or WRoCAH scholarship will also be able to access various free courses, seminars and conferences that relate to your career and professional development.

Student-led activities

As a student in our School, you will be able to access further opportunities as part of our lively research community.


In addition to ongoing opportunities to attend research seminars, salons and events organised by the School across the year, you will have the opportunity to organise your own events, including workshops, conferences and student-led research groups. We provide funding for an annual conference initiated and organised by postgraduate researchers. Tracing Arguments is a day event for you and your fellow postgraduate students to present works in progress in small peer mentoring groups.

Research groups

Many of our postgraduate researchers are linked to the various research centres based in the School, which allow you to become actively involved in our wider research culture. You will be able to tap into a number of our active postgraduate student-led research groups, or potentially initiate new groups with your fellow students depending on your research interests. 

Examples of student-led research groups in our School include:

Artist-led Research Group (ARG)

The Artist-led Research Group (ARG) is convened by Kerry Harker and John Wright, PhD candidates at the University of Leeds and both active as artist/curators within the artist-led sector.

ARG is a voluntary initiative, collaboratively re-examining artist-led initiatives in the visual arts and working towards an international symposium and associated programme in 2018. 

Find out more (note, this link takes you to an external website which is not owned by the University of Leeds).

ATP Research Group

The Art Through Practice (ATP) Research Group is organised by PhD student Zejun Yao alongside Natalie Donohue (School of Education) and aims to promote experiential and embodied ways of knowing and researching in the arts.

The target audience ranges from final year undergraduates through to postgraduate researchers/practitioners, early career researchers and scholars. 

Find out more (note, this link takes you to an external website which is not owned by the University of Leeds).

Postcolonial and World Literatures and Cultures Reading Group

This transdisciplinary reading, film and discussion group was co-founded by PhD student Ruth Daly, alongside Dima Chami (School of English), Rebecca Mackin and Dr Sam Perks (School of English).

The group aims to bring together researchers to discuss landmark publications and non-canonical contributions alongside current, pioneering work in the fields of postcolonial literature and theory, world literature and world-culture. This group is aligned with Leeds’ Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, as well as the Centre for World Literatures.

Find out more (note, this link takes you to an external website which is not owned by the University of Leeds).

Teaching opportunities

From the second year of your PhD, you are encouraged to apply to become a seminar assistant in our School. This provides excellent experience for your CV and gives you the opportunity to shape the learning experience of our undergraduates. We encourage you to use your own research area and expertise as part of your teaching. A number of our researchers go on to academic careers and postdoctoral fellowships, both at the University of Leeds and across the UK and internationally. 

Educational engagement

You can apply to become an Education Outreach Fellow, working alongside our Arts Educational Engagement Team. Fellows have developed resources and activities to engage young people with higher education and to develop research skills, working in schools, galleries, museums and on-campus events.