Image in the Architecture of Port Cities

Image and Imagination in the Architecture of Port Cities: Mediating Complex Pasts with Speculative Futures

Degree type


Closing date

18 July 2022


Hobart, Launceston

Citizenship requirement


About the research project

This project will study how representations of architectural ‘pastness’—what might be called ‘heritage’—are used to reframe architectural and urban futures. Specifically, the project will be looking at port cities and the mediation of architecture within historic ports, to understand the agendas and processes through which these nodes of mobility are translated into zones of speculative urban transformation designed to attract visitors within experience economies.

As an island state, ports and their architectures are fundamental to Tasmania’s identity and economic prosperity. Ports provide connection points between the past and the present, the local and the global; and, the presence of a port defines a city socially, culturally, and economically. The architectural heritage of ports and the value they offer for speculative urban development and city transformation make these particularly interesting sites to study.

The project will consider:

  • The heritage and contemporary relationality of port architectures and their connection to media practices
  • How images of heritage architecture are implicated in speculation, transformation, and renewal of ports
  • How media representations of port architectures contribute to reimagining complex pasts into narratives of future prosperity

Interested applicants should identify 2-3 Tasmanian ports as case studies. Sites should be selected to highlight how ports and their architecture relate to Tasmania’s ‘Island-ness’ and its connection to global networks as an exporter of commodities mining, forestry, fisheries, and agriculture and the knowledge economy (for instance through the scientific study of Antarctica). Your PhD work will be part of an ongoing research project led by the supervisory team studying the interrelation of architecture, media, heritage, and place. You will be supported in authoring a chapter or section of a book and will contribute to an established publishing agenda.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Mark Sawyer


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Dr Mark Sawyer to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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