In With A Bang_DSC_4493_(c) Patrick Mateer


Hull UK City of Culture 2017 and political culture, post-Brexit

Sorry, we're no longer accepting applications for this project, but take a look at our Postgraduate Research programmes for more PhD opportunities.

About this project

As Hull prepared for its year as UK City of Culture in 2017, the city voted to leave the European Union with about 68% of the vote in the referendum of 23rd June 2016.  This is despite a University and student population, a proportion of middle class people who (presumably) voted Remain, plus those working in international corporations and businesses who would (probably) recognise that their interests would be protected by voting Remain.  Further, this support was despite the city’s history as a longstanding port linked into international circuits of exchange of trade, people, ideas, money and commodities.  Initial analysis has identified the leave vote as based on disenfranchised low income social groups left behind by globalisation and austerity, or suggested that part of the English middle classes voted leave due to fear and uncertainty about their economic status.

This PhD project explores the impact of the Brexit vote upon Hull’s year as UK City of Culture and its aftermath, and upon the future of the wider City of Culture process in the UK and its place making agendas. 

First, the project will explore why Hull’s communities rejected structures that enshrined more internationalist, outward looking perspectives and links, and it asks whether, and how, this will be reflected through their subsequent engagements with City of Culture. Second, what does the Brexit context mean for future City of Culture bids or designations involving other English cities?  Will they alter their internationalist agendas?  Will they feel obliged to celebrate the introverted, local and ‘traditional’ more than previously to engage local people?  

Finally, the project will explore what this means for place making. How can places be remade, revived and progressed in a context where broader connections are eschewed?  Can place making now hope to win the support of the majority of communities given the fractures within society revealed by the Brexit vote?   Or does place making become an opportunity to push back against the introversion of Brexiteers (with all the risk that this is ‘experts’ telling the public what is important, rather than listening to the public?)  

Successful applicants will be informed of the award as soon as possible after the deadline and by 8th May 2017 at the latest.


The team of supervisors are interdisciplinary in their range: Professor David Atkinson (Cultural Geography, School of Environmental Sciences), Professor Franco Bianchini (Director of the Culture, Place and Policy Institute) and Professor Rüdiger Wurzel (Director of the Centre for European Union Studies).

Next steps


Full-time UK/EU PhD Scholarships will include fees at the ‘home/EU' student rate and maintenance (£14,553 in 2017/18) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Full-time International Fee PhD Studentships will include full fees at the International student rate for three years, dependent on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements



Find out more about our research in Geography.

For further information, email: Professor Franco Bianchini

How to apply

Application deadline: 13 March 2017

Research options:

PhD: 4 years (full-time)

The Postgraduate Training Scheme

PhD students at the University of Hull follow modules for research and transferable skills development and gain a Masters level Certificate, or Diploma, in Research Training, in addition to their research degree.