Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am interested in supervising projects in both nineteenth-century and contemporary studies. I am particularly interested in projects exploring themes of economics, cultural value, liberalism and/or neoliberalism, education, policy work, critical theory, feminism, campus fictions, as well as current political debates.


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Dr Zoe Bulaitis is a literary scholar and critical theorist with a background in cultural and higher education policy. Her research focuses on the articulation of cultural value in contemporary higher education and the creative sector, in particular; the economisation of cultural value; policy analysis and critique; histories of liberal and neoliberal education; humanities-oriented methodologies; and the public value of arts and humanities research. Her open access book, Value and the Humanities: The Neoliberal University and Our Victorian Inheritance, which explores all of these topics is available here.

Zoe is passionate about the interconnections between teaching and research, both within higher education and within a wider learning ecosystem. She holds a PhD from the University of Exeter where she taught literature and critical theory within the English Department from 2013-18. Before joining Birmingham as a Teaching Fellow, Zoe was a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton (2018-19).

Zoe is fascinated in understanding contemporary creative ecologies and the civic role of universities within city-regions. From 2019-2020, she undertook a postdoctoral role within the AHRC-funded Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC), based at the University of Manchester. In this role Zoe worked with the British Council, NESTA, and local policymakers to shape new ways of thinking about the role of the humanities in city-planning, local industrial strategies, and inclusive growth. Publications around this topic are forthcoming in 2021. At Birmingham, Zoe brings this hand-on policy experience to her teaching practice, as co-convenor of the Public English (2nd Year) module. This innovative module allows students to think about the place of English Literature outside academia, and particularly in relation to schools, cultural policymaking, community education and public engagement.

Research interests

My research project explores the broad theme of the value of the humanities in our present moment. More specifically, I am currently interested in the following three research strands:

1)     Societal ‘impact’ and metrics for evaluating value

  • See my open access article: Bulaitis, Z. Measuring impact in the humanities: Learning from accountability and economics in a contemporary history of cultural value. Palgrave Communications 3, 7 (2017).
  • Forthcoming edited collection (2021): Bulaitis, Z. and Ochsner, M. “Accountability in Academic Life: European Perspectives on Societal Impact Evaluation” based on work as part of the EU Horizon2020 funded COST Action project ENRESSH.

2)     The Public Value of the Humanities

  • See my open access monograph Value and the Humanities: The Neoliberal University and Our Victorian Inheritance (2020)which explores all of these topics is available here.
  • See also commissioned industry report for Pearson Efficacy & Research “Employability in Higher Education: A review of practice and strategies around the world” (2016).
  • Forthcoming publications in 2021-22 include a Rapid Evidence Review of the Value of Moving Image Education in Secondary Schools for the British Film Institute (BFI) and associated academic article.

3)     The Representation of Academics and Academic Work in Popular Debate and Culture

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth


  • PR English literature
  • public humanities
  • Values
  • civic education
  • impact
  • humanities

My gallery


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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