Case Studies

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Student Case Studies

For a full list of SWW DTP student projects please click here

Vicky Jassey

My professional background in music, theatre circus performance and education has led to the development of my academic career. Following ten years of extensive batá and song study, as well as fieldwork with eminent Cuban bataleros performing in religious and secular settings, my MA thesis explored the boundaries between sacred and secular batá performance and the impact of hegemonic institutionalisation on the transformation of musical religious traditions into secular performance in Cuba. As one of the minority female practitioners of Afro-Cuban sacred drumming and singing, I am clearly implicated in issues which surround gender and batá. I come to this research as both a scholar, and religious and secular performer of the batá repertoire.

Vicky’s profile on

Why the SWW DTP?

The progressive DTP program offers my project access to a wide range of resources and training which has included pre-doctoral Spanish immersion training in Cuba, improving my Spanish language skills and establishing networks for upcoming field trips. The cross-disciplinary supervision, across two Universities, and extensive range of partners, offers this research a wide range of expertise and professional training. These combined resources will cultivate and expand professional relationships and maximize my skills as an international researcher, high-end performer, leading expert in Cuban batá, and HE teacher.

Education/Career highlights so far
  • Circus Degree – Central School of Speech and Drama and Circus Space 1998 -2001
  • Eight trips to Cuba studying with state-funded organisations and privately with Cuban master drummers.
  • Roots of Cuba – three year modular residential course by One Voice Music. 2004 -2007
  • MA in Performance – SOAS, University of London.
  • Founder and director of Bombo Productions, promotes Afro-Cuban folkloric music and arts. Bombo Productions is a charitable organisation that employs teachers and performers on a freelance basis. We have regular club nights with live performances nationally, and we provide a range of daytime workshops that cater for beginner to advanced, child and adult learners.  2007 – present
  • Co-founder, lead singer and percussionist, Orchestra Bombo (a Cuban carnival group), 2014

Vicky Jassey

Andrea Argenti

My Ph.D. project is a development of my two MA dissertations, which were a discussion of Aristotle’s Metaphysics Z.10-11 (Rome) and Posterior Analytics B.7-10 (Durham). Trying to keep both a philological and a philosophical approach, I intend to re-examine the views on substance expounded by Aristotle in Book Z of the Metaphysics through a detailed analysis of the role of definition within his ontology. In particular, I shall focus on the notion of essence, which represents the explanatory principle of reality stated in definitions of objects.

Why the SWW DTP?

I decided to apply to the SWW Consortium in order to undertake my PhD because it offered an authentic Doctoral Training Programme. The aim of the SWW DTP is to provide an interdisciplinary network among the Ph.D. students of the consortium partners offering the possibility to develop one’s project in a wide context of research. Furthermore, it guarantees the opportunity to conduct one’s research to the best of your abilities through training courses and progress meetings held across the consortium. Given the interdisciplinary character of my project, meeting and interaction with Ph.D. students of other subjects and from different academic backgrounds will help me to conceive my project not simply as a piece of research in philosophy but as a piece of research in the field of humanities.

Education/Career highlights so far

I started my studies at Roma Tre University in 2006 in Theoretical Philosophy. Subsequently, I completed a Master’s in Philosophical Science during which I moved from contemporary to ancient philosophy. In 2013, I moved to Durham University to begin a Master of Arts in Classics which enabled me to broaden my preparation in the field of Greek philosophy.


Rachel Murray

Having worked in the film industry for a few years, I moved into the field of academia and graduated with a double First in English Literature from Cambridge in 2013, and I have just completed a MA at the University of Sussex in Modern and Contemporary Literature. My PhD project developed from my interest in the aesthetics of modernism, particularly what I saw to be the politics of scale at work in so many of the texts associated with this movement. My chosen writers, Wyndham Lewis, D.H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, as well as a number of their artistic contemporaries, continually focus on diminutive forms, minor details, and, surprisingly often, on insects and the creaturely.

Rachel’s profile on 

Why the SWW DTP?

The SWW DTP is one of the largest consortiums in the AHRC and therefore offers a number of opportunities across its partner institutes that will, I think, prove highly beneficial to my research. The SWW DTP offers access to a number valuable resources that are quite hard to come by, for example, the holograph drafts of Virginia Woolf’s The Waves (previously entitled The Moths), or the first edition of Pound’s translation of Remy du Gourmount’s The Natural Philosophy of Love, which are available in the National Library of Wales and the Cardiff Rare Books collection. The Getty Research Institute also holds rare early paintings by Wyndham Lewis, and some of the letters of Virginia Woolf. I am certain that access to this material will significantly enhance both the quality and the depth of engagement of this study. I will also make use of the University of Reading’s Samuel Beckett Archive as well as its Hogarth Press Archive while undertaking my initial research, as well Exeter’s Research Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities.

In addition to the tangible resources that are available, I will also benefit from the interdisciplinary ethos of the SWW DTP. My research proposal corresponds to the SWW’s largest interdisciplinary research cluster: literature and science (STEM Subjects and Objects), which means that I can participate in a wide-ranging discussion of the cross-fertilisation (to coin a scientific metaphor) of ideas between scientific and literary discourses.

Education/Career highlights so far
  • MA essay on D.H Lawrence being accepted with minor revisions for the The Journal of D.H. Lawrence Studies
  • Undergraduate dissertation on Henry Green being published in The Madison Journal of Literary Criticism
  • Reviewing Dr Sara Crangle’s monograph Prosaic Desires: Modernist Knowledge, Boredom, Laughter and Anticipation for the James Joyce Broadsheet
  • Presenting a paper at the annual ‘UCL English Graduate Conference’ on eating and the ingredients of Wyndham Lewis’s first novel, Tarr
  • Holding the position of Director of Studies at a Corpus Christi College summer school


Nathan Munday

My PhD is the fruit of previous comparative work in both my BA and MA dissertations. My doctoral work charts the poetical landscape of Wales through the lens of religious poetry. Whether it is a tug-of war or a convivencia, the relationship between poetry and religion is rendered more complex in Wales because of the two dominant linguistic traditions. Hence, I aim to define and explore the poetics through the image of a poetical nomad, crossing national, linguistic and cultural boundaries, searching for what has been called a ‘mystical re-territorialisation’ within the theologically-charged space of Welsh Christian tradition. I also enjoy creative writing, travel writing and mountaineering.

Why the SWW DTP?

The excellent archival resources drew me to the doctoral training program. Most of my primary sources are held in either Cardiff or Aberystwyth. Being a member of both universities enabled me easy access as well as offering expert tuition from both institutions. The DTP also offers professional networking opportunities with academics from across the United Kingdom as well as opening doors to international placement schemes and fellowships. The financial aid of the RTSG, as well as my own institution, enabled me to go to present my first-year work at Harvard University. The training the DTP offers has already opened so many doors and its framework definitely creates a more stimulating, thought-provoking, and exciting PhD experience.

Education/Career highlights so far
  • Giving a paper at the NAASWCH (North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History) conference held in the Department of Celtic Studies, Harvard University.
  • Winning the M. Wynn Thomas New Scholar Prize 2016 for an essay entitled “Ann heard him speak, and Pantycelyn”: The Unexpected Relationship between R.S. Thomas, Williams Pantycelyn and Calvinistic Methodism.’ This has been accepted in the International Journal of Welsh Writing in English. It also informs the third chapter of my PhD.
  • Coming second in the New Welsh Review Travel Writing Awards 2016 with my book Seven Days: A Pyrenean Trek.
  • Working with primary material in the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth and Special Collections at Cardiff University.

Nathan Munday