The Politics and Ethics of Visualising Humanitarian Crises

Project opportunity

This Earmarked Scholarship project is aligned with a recently awarded Category 1 research grant. It offers you the opportunity to work with leading researchers and contribute to large projects of national significance.

We are recruiting a PhD scholar to join our Australian Research Council-funded Linkage project on Visualising Humanitarian Crises. The student will work on any aspect of the project that examines political and ethical dilemmas related to visualising humanitarian crises.  Depending on the proposed research topic, the successful candidate will be supervised either by (a) Professor Roland Bleiker and Associate Professor Emma Hutchison (School of Political Science and International Studies) or (b) Dr Cassandra Chapman and Professor Matthew Hornsey (School of Business).

Project details

The PhD scholar will be integrated into an interdisciplinary ARC-funded Linkage Project on "Visualising Humanitarian Crises: How Images Can Transform Aid Policy", involving eight researchers and four Partner Organisations.

This project aims to draw on the power of images to transform practices of aid. Prevailing visualisations of humanitarian crises are powerful but problematic. They often focus on violence and depict victims in stereotypical and dehumanising ways. Many humanitarian organisations are conscious of existing problems, but they also know that stereotypical images of suffering victims generate compassion in Western viewers and are effective fundraising tools. The project develops new evidence-based visual strategies that depict humanitarian crises in ways that encourage compassion for victims without entrenching problematic stereotypes.

The PhD scholar will define and develop their own research topic in a way that aligns with the overall project goals.  Possible thesis-topics can deal with conceptual, empirical or/and policy-relevant issues.

You can see further details of this project at the School of Political Science and International Studies website.

Ideal candidate

The successful candidate will have completed undergraduate studies in a relevant field, such as political science, international relations, development, peace studies, psychology, or marketing.  Candidates with prior experience or interest in humanitarian affairs, visual politics or nonprofit fundraising are particularly welcome.

Candidates must meet all the requirements for entry into the PhD program at UQ.

Application process

In the first instance, please submit your CV for consideration with a cover letter outlining why you wish to undertake a PhD and why are interested in working on this project. Please direct any enquiries to Prof Roland Bleiker ( and Dr Cassandra Chapman (  Potential candidates may be invited to an informal interview.

We encourage strong candidates to apply as soon as possible as applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

We particularly encourage applications from First Nations people of Australia and those from the Global South. Our project team and design has been specifically developed with the expertise and experience of scholars and activists from these communities, and we are committed to improving our academic practice alongside the next generation of scholars.

Scholarship value

As a scholarship recipient, you'll receive: 

  • living stipend of $32,192 per annum tax free (2023 rate), indexed annually
  • tuition fees covered
  • single Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)


Professor Roland Bleiker

School of Political Science and International Studies


Preferred educational background

Your application will be assessed on a competitive basis.

We take into account your

  • previous academic record
  • publication record
  • honours and awards
  • employment history.

A working knowledge of humanitarianism, photography, politics or nonprofit fundraising would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

The applicant will demonstrate academic achievement in any relevant field, including political science, development, psychology or fundraising and the potential for scholastic success.

Latest commencement date

If you are the successful candidate, you must commence by Research Quarter 2, 2024. You should apply at least 3 months prior to the research quarter commencement date.

If you are an international applicant, you may need to apply much earlier for visa requirements.

How to apply

You apply for this project as part of your PhD program application.

View application process