PhD Scholarship on Antarctic Cities - Closes 30 June 2017

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PhD Scholarship on Antarctic Cities - Closes 30 June 2017

Hanne Nielsen

ICS: Antarctic Cities

ARC Linkage Research Scholarship

The Institute for Culture and Society is the largest dedicated research concentration of its kind in Australia. The Institute researches transformations in culture and society in the context of contemporary global change. It champions collaborative engaged research in the humanities and social sciences for a globalizing digital age. Our aim is to carry out innovative interdisciplinary research into continuities and transformations in culture and society in a way that contributes to understanding and shaping contemporary local and global life. This approach involves being reflexively engaged both with the world and in understanding the conditions and limits of its own knowledge practices.

We are now seeking a highly motivated PhD student to contribute to a new Australian Research Council Linkage project Antarctic Cities and the Global Commons: Rethinking the Gateways (

The project aims to specific rethink polar gateway research through a comparative appraisal of local/national Antarctic imaginaries, regional Antarctic city-to-city relations and global Antarctic city-to-city mobilities as a way to identify the possibilities and obstacles for reconceptualising the Southern Ocean Rim cities as a custodial Antarctic network. The project is being developed with a series of government and university partners in Hobart, Christchurch (NZ) and Punta Arenas (Chile) to develop a set of sustainability tools and guidelines and design an online 'serious game' that encourages young urban citizens to consider sustainability scenarios, effective decision-making and policy-delivery for these five cities in relation to Antarctica.

The aim of the PhD is to help design and evaluate an online serious game prototype called Polarised Cities. This will be a multiplayer online and open source game co-designed, co-developed, and played by young people, to promote local-global exchanges and flows of knowledge across the Southern Ocean rim. It invites players to explore future scenarios and find solutions to future challenges faced by these cities and Antarctica. While these scenarios will be specified by the PhD candidate in consultation with the project team, they will be modelled on various 'averting the worst' cases. The game design, implementation and evaluation will support the project's broader aim to raise awareness of Antarctica's vulnerabilities and facilitate intercultural dialogue on urban futures across the five selected cities. The game will be designed for use on mobile phones (Android and iOS), but will be repurposed for general exhibition at local museums and science centres in each city. The PhD will investigate innovative approaches to serious game design, game-based learning approaches, gaming as a social research method, and games as media for reasoning, engaging  and collaborating on spatial, political and ecological themes.

The student will be based at ICS and will work under the supervision of Associate Professor Juan F. Salazar and Dr. Liam Magee, and will also collaborate with Professor Paul James (ICS) and Associate Professor Elizabeth Leane, University of Tasmania.

What does the scholarship provide?

  • Domestic students will receive a tax free stipend of $26,288 per annum and a funded place in the doctoral degree.
  • International students will receive a tax free stipend of $26,288 per annum. Successful candidates will be required to fund their fees. Those with a strong track record may receive a fee waiver.
  • Funding is available for project costs and conference travel.


We welcome applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, especially those with a strong grounding in digital humanities, interactive design, games research, who are keen to apply their design skills to key questions in contemporary cultural studies. The successful applicant should:

  • Hold qualifications and experience equal to an Australian First Class Bachelor Honours degree or equivalent overseas qualifications.
  • Demonstrate strong academic and/or industry track record in relevant areas: games research and development, interactive design, and digital or environmental humanities.
  • Have an interest in, or be willing to learn about urban sustainability and Antarctic cultural studies.
  • Be enthusiastic and highly motivated to undertake further study at an advanced level.
  • International applicants must also demonstrate a high level of English language proficiency.)
  • Knowledge of Spanish will be an advantage.

How to apply

Applications close 30 June 2017

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