Transgender Media Lab PhD Fellowship
Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Application deadline: February 1, 2020
PhD program start: September 2020

Media creates horizons of possibility that in turn shape reality. When transgender people create audiovisual media, rather than simply being represented in it, their worldmaking helps change our collective world. Under the directorship of Dr. Laura Horak, the Transgender Media Lab at Carleton University investigates the aesthetic, political, and cultural work of audiovisual media created by transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex, and gender-nonconforming filmmakers and artists. As part of that investigation, the lab is building the Transgender Media Portal, a collaborative digital tool that will enable new ways of analyzing these works and their circulation while making information about them available to trans arts communities and the public.

The Transgender Media Lab (TML) is currently recruiting a PhD student to conduct original dissertation research on some aspect of transgender, Two Spirit, nonbinary, intersex and/or gender-nonconforming film- and video-making in Canada or the United States and to contribute to the development of the Transgender Media Portal. Potential dissertation topics include: contemporary trans web series, Indigenous trans and Two-Spirit filmmaking, Black and trans-of-colour filmmaking, trans-made experimental animation, regional trans film and video movements, the history of Counting Past 2 (one of the first transgender film festivals, founded in Toronto in 1997), or the theoretical, computational, and ethical aspects related to building the Transgender Media Portal and cultivating its community of contributors. Note that our lab focuses on audiovisual work created by trans people.

In addition to the admissions funding package, travel bursaries, and awards offered by Carleton University, the TML PhD fellow will be guaranteed the following package in Year 1, which will be renewable for up to four years:

  • A scholarship of $500/semester (up to $1,500/year)
  • Two semester-long research assistantships (of 130 hours/semester x $41.70/hr x 2 semesters = $10,842)
  • Up to $2,000 funding for TML-related travel for research or conferences

If the PhD student is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they are also eligible to receive a $2,000 top-up fellowship from Carleton University in Year 1. 

The TML PhD Fellowship is available to students beginning their studies in Fall 2020 in either:

Contact Dr. Paul Theberge ( for more information about the Cultural Mediations PhD program and Dr. Chris Russill ( for more information about the Communications PhD program. Candidates may apply for both programs but will have to pick one if admitted to both.

The Transgender Media Lab is committed to principles of equality and social justice. We especially encourage trans, queer, Black, and Indigenous candidates and candidates of colour to apply. Fellows will be expected to agree to a statement of values and abide by a code of conduct to ensure a safe, supportive working environment for all lab members and guests.

To apply:

  1. Email the TML’s director, Dr. Laura Horak (, to indicate your interest in the position.
  2. Follow the online instructions to apply for the Cultural Mediations program and/or apply for Communication PhD program. In the Statement of Intent in the application:

    • Indicate your interest in being a Transgender Media Lab PhD Fellow and include the following sentence: “I give permission for the graduate admissions committee to share my application materials and letters of reference with Dr. Laura Horak”;
    • Describe your proposed TML-related dissertation project;
    • Describe any technical skills or experience relevant to the Transgender Media Portal you may have, such as: library and archive training, UX/UI design, front-end development, content management systems (Drupal), CSS, scripting, linked open data, or online security and privacy. (Note that technical skills are relevant but not required!)
    • Trans, queer, Black, and Indigenous candidates and candidates of colour are invited to self-identify.

The deadline to apply for these PhD programs is February 1, 2020. Shortlisted applicants will be interviewed over Skype or Zoom.

For more information on the Transgender Media Lab, the Transgender Media Portal, or the TML PhD Fellows program, please contact Dr. Laura Horak (

Transgender Media Lab Fellowships are funded by an Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Early Researcher Award. Additional MA fellowships will be announced next year.