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Supporting new partnerships and placements


The Midlands3Cities (M3C) DTP involves Birmingham City University, De Montfort University, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham in partnership with 17 non-HEI organisations including the City Museum Services of Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham, the National Army Museum, the British Film Institute, the British Museum, the National Archives, and the Beijing Central Conservatory for Music.

The consortium created a specific role of Partnerships and Placements Manager to help build on the partnerships already developed. The creation of this post in conjunction with events, such as a think tank targeted at the consortium’s creative and industry partners, has helped to develop new partnerships. 16 students from the first group to join the consortium worked with a non-HEI partner from the outset, with others taking up opportunities as appropriate. Below are three examples of opportunities afforded by M3C.

Joanne Dixon, a published poet, is studying for a PhD in English and Creative Writing. She has used a placement opportunity to work with a group of sixth form students at Bilborough Sixth Form College and one of Midlands3Cities long-standing and most active partners: Nottingham Contemporary. The placement comprised of a walk-through of the recent Glenn Ligon exhibition ‘Encounters and Collisions’ with an expert in order to select a number of paintings. From these she has created writing activities for the sixth-form students whose creative writing she is facilitating. As a result Dixon and the cohort of students she is working with have been asked to contribute to a Nottingham Contemporary’s youth festival in November 2015.

Stewart Beale has a cross-institutional supervisory team (Leicester and Nottingham) and is researching the experience of war widows and orphans in the Midlands in the mid-seventeenth century. He has already established an excellent relationship with the National Civil War Centre at Newark Museum which opened in May 2015 and is looking to become a definitive resource centre for civil war researchers. Beale is working at the centre part-time throughout his PhD, contributing towards the building of a catalogue of civil war literature and writing academic papers. The placement both offers him sustained experience of researching and writing in a museum and an opportunity to test and disseminate his own doctoral research.

Craig Hamilton has forged a relationship with a new partner for the consortium. He is working part-time over three months with Crowdmix, a tech start-up based in London. His research project, ‘Rethinking Music Consumption: The Harkive Project’, explores music consumption in the digital age by gathering stories and data from around the world about how, where and why individuals listened to music on a single day. Crowdmix is building the first dedicated social network for music fans due to launch in late 2015. The company’s pre-launch Research and Development work, and Product Development, dovetail with Hamilton’s research because both are interested in the motivations behind music listening choices and in the analysis of behaviour in the online space. Crowdmix’s interest is commercial and Hamilton’s academic so this placement gives him the opportunity to see first-hand how a new online music product is brought to market in his chosen field. Hamilton’s research has already received coverage on BBC 5LIVE, BBC Radio Scotland, the World Service, BBC Radio 4 Today, and the Birmingham Evening Mail.

This case study featured in the 2014/15 AHRC impact report.

For more information on the project visit: Midlands3Cities Doctoral Training Partnership