PhD in creation

The ENSP has offered the “Practice and theory of artistic and literary creation” PhD since 2013, in conjunction with Aix-Marseille University (AMU). This multidisciplinary project aims to allow PhD students to develop a research project in photography and to combine theoretical and epistemological reflection with their artistic practice.

The PhD is taught at the ENSP and at AMU over 3 years. During the thesis period, PhD students with a photography specialty are co-supervised by an artistic director and by an academic director, professor of rank A, holder of the ‘Competence to direct research’ (HDR) attached to one of the eight research units of AMU (ED 354).

Candidates must have held a Master 2 diploma (or the equivalent) for more than two years and be able to demonstrate research ability in their previous work. Overseas candidates must provide a certificate of competency in the French language at C1 level (issued by an appropriate French institution or cultural centre).
During the research period, the PhD student is autonomous in the conduct of his/her/their research but is in regular contact with his/her/their co-supervisors. He/she/they are also involved in the research activities of their co-supervisors and benefit from the resources and equipment available at the ENSP.

PhD supervision includes 6 doctoral seminars per year for which the guests are chosen by the PhD students and the teaching team according to their research work and centres of interest. PhD students have had the opportunity to present their work to personalities with varied experiences and practices, such as Arnaud Claass and Marielle Macé in 2021, Max Pinckers, Arno Gisinger, Véra Léon, Nathalie Voarino and Alexis Guiller in 2020.

How to register

Step 1
Candidates for the PhD programme must first obtain the agreement in principle of a rank A HDR professor attached to one of the eight research units of ED 354. (see list below) This is necessary in order to determine the research unit which best corresponds to the theme of the candidate’s project. It is the candidate’s responsibility to consult the list of researchers from partner laboratories:

→ CIELAM, Centre d’Etudes des Littératures, Aix-Marseille (EA 4235)
→ ECHANGES, Équipe sur les Cultures et Humanités Anciennes et Nouvelles Germaniques et Slaves (EA 4236)
→ CAER, Centre Aixois d’Etudes Romanes (EA 854)
→ LERMA, Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherche sur le Monde Anglophone (EA 853)
→ LESA, Laboratoire d’Études en Sciences de l’Art (EA 3274)
→ IrASIA, Institut de Recherches Asiatiques (UMR 7306)
→ PRISM, Perception, Représentation, Image, Son, Musique
Centre Norbert Elias (UMR 8562)

Step 2
The candidate can then request artistic co-direction via the ENSP web site.

This request should include :
a written PhD proposal, illustrated where necessary (approximately 6,000 characters including spaces)
The PhD proposal sets out the research subject, the envisaged problematic and the way in which it will be approached in the field of fixed and/or moving images. This proposal must meet university academic standards and be accompanied by bibliographic notes.
a portfolio of previous artistic projects and works
a short text outlining the candidate’s interest in obtaining a PhD and its relevance to their artistic career
a detailed CV summarizing education, training, professional and artistic experiences and any publications
a letter of support signed by the academic director

Applications are examined in June 2021 by the ENSP PhD selection team and the list of those pre-selected will be published on the ENSP website.

Pre-selected candidates undertake to complete their “PhD project dossier” and send it by post to ED 354 before 18 September of the year of entry.  The dossier will then be examined by a commission made up of professionals from the art world and academics.

The PhD candidates who are selected will be registered at the ENSP and the AMU and thus benefit from the academic and technical resources of both establishments.

Shared workspaces are made available to them at the ENSP and the Maison de la Recherche (MDR) in Aix-en-Provence. Finalised registrations are completed with the administrative services of the university (Isabelle Fine or Jeannine Pottiez-Ronceray in the education department, for registration fees and social security) then with the ENSP (Laurence Canaux).

A contribution to student and campus Life (CVCE) is paid only once, at either of the two partner institutions. The PhD student agrees to finalise their registrations before the end of September of the year of their admission.