Salford student receives prestigious PHD funding

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

An alumna from the University of Salford has received funding from the prestigious North West Consortium Doctoral Training Partnership (NWCDTP).

Katie Barnes, who studied a BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing, received funding for her research on historical stereotypes of Irish mothers and motherhood in literature. 

Katie said: “My PhD is titled ‘Rewriting the Irish Mother Figure: Dismantling Stereotypes of Motherhood in Contemporary Irish Fiction’ and will research how historical stereotypes of Irish mothers and motherhood are being explored and rewritten by contemporary Irish writers.”

The funding equips recipients with world-leading knowledge and skills appropriate to meeting the academic, professional and socio-economic demands of the twenty-first century. Katie explained how excited she was to get this unique opportunity.

“I felt amazing! It seemed like a long wait from sending in my application to finding out that I had the funding, I think I’d convinced myself it would never happen. It’s so competitive that even if you have the strongest application, there are no guarantees.

“I cried when I got the confirmation, happy tears of course. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to research what I love in a place that I love and I’m so thankful to the NWCDTP for the opportunity to do that.”

Katie said that her lecturers helped her closely when she was applying for the funds, and that she couldn’t have done them without them.

She said: “Salford have been incredible; I absolutely wouldn’t have got the funding without the support of my lecturers. When I first expressed an interest in pursuing a PhD, everyone was so proactive in providing me with opportunities to advance and gain experience in academia.

“Dr Caroline Magennis, my supervisor, is the chair of the British Association for Irish Studies and helped me adapt my master’s work for their virtual conference last May which gave me a massive confidence boost when I saw how many other academics were interested in what I had to say. I’ve had so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t been at Salford.

“When I was writing my application for the NWCDTP funding, I got so much support and advice from my lecturers that I knew I was going into the competition with the strongest application possible. I’m so grateful to all of them.”

Katie revealed that she has big plans for the future, never taking her eye off the prize.

She said: “I have a few things that I’d like to do during my PhD, apart from the research. There are quite a few conferences I would like to attend but I’m also looking forward to getting involved in the research community at Salford and the workshops provided by the NWCDTP, as well as perhaps organising my own event in Manchester based on my research.

“In the future, I’d like to do some work with pro-choice charities in Belfast and Manchester as my research will explore the impact of the Repeal the Eighth movement on representations of the Irish mother. The NWCDTP also has an internship scheme that I would be keen to apply to, but that’s quite a few years away.”

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