SWW DTP2 is now selecting CDA projects to advertise in mid-late November for entry in September 2022. Eight such projects will be selected and advertised here shortly after.

Interested in a CDA but not sure whether it’s for you?


Please see below for a few Q&As answered by our current CDA students and supervisors.


Do I have to study full time?

No, you can apply as a full-time or part-time student


Do I need to have work experience in a relevant field?

Not necessarily. To be eligible to apply for any SWW DTP2 studentship you should normally have, or be studying for, a Master’s degree or similar postgraduate qualification. If you don’t already have experience of formal postgraduate study, you would be eligible only if you can demonstrate evidence of sustained experience beyond your undergraduate degree that is specifically relevant to your proposed research topic, such as work in the relevant CDA field.


What is the selection process like? Will there be an interview?

Yes, there will be a round of interviews with the host organisation and academic supervisors. These will be conversations to ascertain whether the project is a good fit for all. They will offer the opportunity to ask questions and decide on whether it is right for you.


How do I apply?

The application system will go live on 30th November 2021. From that date, there will be a live link on this website for you to begin the online application process.


Can I apply BOTH for a CDA AND for a student-led award?

Yes. You can apply for both, but each application will necessarily be different (since the CDA requires you to engage with an existing project and the student-led route does not).


Is the PhD project rigidly pre-determined for a CDA or is there flexibility for me to shape it myself?

There is plenty of opportunity to shape your own project, both during the application process and after an award is made. The outline project is determined by the supervisors working with the non-HEI partner but those who are invited for interview have the chance then to suggest ways in which it might be adjusted to suit their particular interests and expertise and they propose their own thesis title, defining its focus themselves. Projects are all designed to allow flexibility of this type. All PhDs change shape during the research and writing, some quite radically, and CDAs are no exception.

Student Q&A with Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis, second year CDA student researching how we present Roman Wales to the public using audio-visual media.

Joe works with academic supervisors Angela Piccini (University of Bristol, Film and Television) and Stephanie Moser (University of Southampton, Archaeology) to gain a well-rounded supervisory experience to suit his project. The National Roman Legion Museum are his non-HEI supervisor organization and Mark Lewis Curator at the National Museum Wales, is his partner supervisor.

Q: What did you study prior to commencing your CDA opportunity?
A: I studied for a MA in Roman Archaeology prior to this, and so having this background but being able to learn and develop practical audio-visual skills, such as documentary making, in order to enhance the museum’s resources and ability to tell the story of Roman Wales. (Joe was new to film editing before beginning the CDA and is still in the early processes of developing an understanding of this area).

Q: Have you been involved with any interesting external projects yet?
A: Since starting, I went to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford with colleagues from the National Roman Museum to look at the kinds of practice-based approaches I could use in regard to video and film making for them.

Q: What kind of fieldwork will you do during your CDA?
A: Much of this will involve going to different museums to look at how they have told stories using audio visual media. My fieldwork will also include working with community groups to create films to tell the story of the Roman occupation of Wales.

Q: How have you found the CDA experience so far?
A: The experience has been a positive one! It has been slightly unusual because of Covid-19 and I’ve not done as much fieldwork as I’d have liked, but my supervisors have still been very supportive.

Q: How do you juggle your studies with other commitments?
A: I thought I might be one of the only people with a young child also studying for a PhD, but I was wrong! It has been great to meet others in a similar position and know that there are workarounds in this regard to managing study and family commitments

Student CDA Q&A with Sophie Welsh, second year part-time CDA student

Sophie’s project looks at Thomas Hardy, Dorset and the wider world. Landscapes of Hardy’s Wessex, historic cartography and Victorian literature fits into this.

Sophie works with academic supervisors Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter) and Justine Pizzo (University of Southampton). Dorset Museum and Dorset History Centre are the non-HEI partner organisations. Sam Johnston, County Curator, Dorset History Centre and Dr Jon Murden, Dorset Museum are the partner supervisors on this project.

“The CDA process has felt very organic for me. The work I do with partner organisations is very archive-driven, and I find this has taken me in new and unexpected interesting directions” –  Sophie Welsh, third year CDA student

Q: How have you found your CDA project so far?
A: It has been a very organic process doing an archive-driven project with two heritage organisations, which has shaped my PhD in new and unexpected directions.
Although the CDA project offers a title and topic for the PhD, I’ve found that this is a very loose structure which allows for multiple interpretations (e.g. there are two of us working on this same CDA quite differently from each other).

My project has also moved quite far away from my original proposal, so the CDAs work very similarly to other PhD projects in that sense.

“Doing additional work for my CDA partners that is related to but separate from my own project has helped me to get some distance from my project to see it as part of a larger picture as well as helping me to make unexpected discoveries”. – Sophie Welsh, third year CDA student

Q: What do you work on?
A: CDA title: ‘Hardy, Dorset and the Wider World’. The landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and how they are constructed in response to various forms of contemporary and historic forms of cartography. More broadly I look at the interactions between nineteenth-century maps and the Victorian novel and explore its attempts to recreate the real world accurately.

Q: Most exciting part of your PhD studies so far?
A: Making a unique discovery in the National Archives which gave credence to my entire argument as it revealed that Hardy’s writing was indeed intertwined with contemporary mapping methods!

Q: How you feel this opportunity will help you in future career?
A: Connections to and experience working with heritage organisations from an academic standpoint. I’d love a career that allows me to combine working in academia and the heritage sector, so I feel the CDA experience is preparing me for that.

Q: What you know now that you wish you’d know then (on applying, what to expect)
A: here’s a few pearls of wisdom:
• Time passes quickly but you do have enough of it!
• It does get better! Things will all fall into place eventually, and you can’t be expected to know everything at once.
• Done is always better than perfect.

Q: Hints and tips for applicants?
A: Consider both what you can bring to the CDA partners and what they can bring to you. It should be a complementary partnership.

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