Adrian Henri – Early Happenings in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s

Reference number: Tate UoL AHRC CDP Studentship: Adrian Henri


The successful candidate will be expected to begin the studentship on 1 October 2024 over a 4-year period for full-time students, or over a 6-year period for part-time students, and will be required to spend time at both the University of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool, gaining access to resources and services across the two institutions. They will also be part of a wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

This project will focus on the work of Adrian Henri, the Liverpool-based poet and painter who played a pioneering role in bringing happenings to Britain. Henri’s poetry made significant cultural impact through the publication of the ground-breaking anthology The Mersey Sound, showcasing his work together with Roger McGough and Brian Patten. The publication went on to sell over half a million copies and to become the bestselling poetry anthology of all time. Performance was key to Henri’s practice and he collaborated with musicians across different fields of music. This doctoral project seeks to contextualise and develop new insights into Henri's practice, with particular focus on his development of happenings in the UK. There will be opportunities to develop experience within Tate Liverpool’s curatorial programme.

The successful candidate will:

  • explore the pioneering role played by Adrian Henri through research in relation to his personal archive.
  • take a cross-disciplinary research approach to develop understanding of the ‘events’ staged by Henri in the 1960s and 1970s, which were a mixture of poetry, rock’n’roll and assemblage, incorporating live music.
  • examine relationships between place and artistic practice with a specific focus on Liverpool as a key point within an international artistic development, through the exploration of Henri’s correspondence with important performance artists like Alan Kaprow, Yoko Ono and Mark Boyle.
  • examine ways in which to present artistic events such as happenings in an exhibition or display setting.

Benefits and opportunities

The successful candidate will be hosted by the School of the Arts. As this is an interdisciplinary project concerned with curatorial practice you will benefit from co-supervision between the Department of Music and the Department of English. You will be encouraged to participate in relevant activities and foster interdisciplinary relations across departments. You will be provided with a comprehensive package of formal supervision, support and training, as well as high quality study space.

The Department of Music encompasses a broad spectrum of music research and is home to two specialist research centres: the Institute of Popular Music and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Composition and Technology. The Department of English is host to a number of research centres including The Centre for New and International Writing.

At Tate, you will join our community of doctoral researchers, benefitting from access to Tate’s collection, resources, and events. You will be embedded within Tate Liverpool’s Exhibition team and will develop an advanced understanding of the development, delivery and management of curatorial programmes.

You will also be expected to engage in a minimum of 3-6 months professional development throughout the studentship period (e.g. a work placement or other development opportunity), allowing you to nurture your career, gain transferable skills and expand practical knowledge alongside your studies. Throughout the PhD, you will also have the opportunity to engage in networking and events with Tate and the wider network of museums, galleries and heritage organisations affiliated with the AHRC CDP scheme as part of the CDP Cohort Development programme.

Eligibility and Applications

To apply for this studentship, you must submit an online application to the PhD programme in Music via the applications portal, by 2 July 2024. In the funding section of the application form, please include that you will be applying to ‘Tate UoL AHRC CDP Studentship: Adrian Henri’.

To support your application you will need to submit:

  • BA & MA award certificates (or evidence of equivalent professional experience)
  • BA & MA transcripts
  • (If applicable) English language certificate (IELTS minimum overall 7.0, no component below 6.5) or accepted equivalent
  • Two references (normally both will be academic references but mature students with professional backgrounds are also encouraged to apply)
  • CV
  • Passport details

Further details related to English entry requirements are available on the Music PhD page.

In addition, you will need to email with copies of the following documents.

  • Two-page expression of interest stating your motivation to apply, your interest in the topic, what you would bring to the studentship, and how you would apply your current skills, knowledge and experience to undertake a PhD.
  • A sample of recent written work.

Applicants should have met all the entry requirements, including English, by the interview date.

Please include that you will be applying to the ‘Tate UoL AHRC CDP Studentship: Adrian Henri’ in your email.

Shortlisted candidates will be invited to a virtual interview on Tuesday 16th July.

  • We are keen to encourage applications from a wide range of candidates with suitable qualifications and/or equivalent experience. Applicants should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification in a relevant discipline, such as Curatorial or Museum Studies, Art History, Popular Music, English, Theatre, History, Philosophy or another relevant Humanities subject.
  • We also welcome applicants who demonstrate equivalent experience for the opportunity. This might include, but is not restricted to, a strong track record of employment in a museum, non-commercial gallery or comparable cultural institution.
  • Applicants should demonstrate an interest in and enthusiasm for developing their skills and critical thinking in the museum sector and interdisciplinary curatorial practice.
  • The University of Liverpool is committed to promoting equality and diversity in its application processes. The School of the Arts actively engages with this commitment, holding a Bronze Athena Swan award and supporting activity under Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter. See the University’s Diversity and Equality Policies or further details.

Reasonable adjustments/Application support

Should you require any reasonable adjustments or support throughout the application process, please contact or

Support or adjustments may include (but are not limited to): opportunities to speak with supervisors or relevant contacts regarding the project and process, institutional support systems and spaces, and the interview process.


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

This doctoral training grant is allocated to the University of Liverpool by the AHRC to support the work of Tate. AHRC CDP awards offer doctoral studentships as part of a collaboration between a Higher Education Institution and an organisation in the museums, libraries, archives and heritage sector. The studentship is fully funded for 48 months (4 years) or part-time equivalent (up to a maximum of 6 years), with the expectation that students will develop professionally alongside their academic development as part of the studentship experience.

The doctoral award pays for tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees – Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2024/2025 is £4,786. Both home and international students will receive a maintenance stipend at the standard UKRI rate of £19,237. Additionally, there will be a CDP maintenance payment of £600/year. To fund study visits, conferences and other research provisions, there will be a Research Training Support Grant of £3,000 across the studentship period and an expense allowance funded by Tate worth £1,300 per year.

International students are eligible to receive the full maintenance award. The University of Liverpool has agreed to waive the difference between AHRC’s tuition fees and overseas fees.

NB. All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding.