Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

Crawford Sutton Hoo collage by Beth Hodgett; composite images courtesy of the Institute of Archaeology, Oxford

The Oxford University Museums AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) commenced in 2016 and offers up to three fully-funded doctoral studentships per year. Oxford's CDP studentship programme is led by Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum). The scheme operates across the four museums of Oxford University - the Ashmolean, the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Each CDP studentship is jointly supervised in partnership between one or more of Oxford University Museums and academics from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI). The partner HEI administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for the student’s fees and maintenance in line with a standard AHRC award. In addition to this full studentship award for fees and maintenance, Oxford University Museums provides up to £2,000 per annum per student to cover the costs of travel between the HEI and Oxford, and related costs in carrying out research. Studentships can be based at any UK HEI apart from Oxford University.

The Collaborative Doctoral Studentships will involve research that helps us to develop new perspectives on our collections and to share knowledge more widely and effectively with a range of audiences, while also training a new generation of scholars working between the academic and heritage sectors.

We are currently inviting proposals for CDP projects to commence in October 2020. Click here for more information.

2019 CDP Student Projects at Oxford University Museums

Oxford University Museums are delighted to announce four new studentships beginning in October 2019 in partnership with University College London, the University of Leicester and the University of Warwick. 

Science in the service of religion? A museum study

Astrolabe, History of Science Museum

This AHRC-funded PhD studentship is based at University College London, in collaboration with the University of Oxford History of Science Museum. The successful applicant will undertake a PhD to study astronomical and mathematical instruments in the collection of the History of Science Museum in Oxford, to examine what establishes their identity as ‘Islamic’ or ‘European’ and ask whether alternative labels, groupings and contextualisation(s) might be more appropriate.

The studentship will be jointly supervised by Professor Michael J. Reiss (University College London) and Dr Silke Ackermann (University of Oxford History of Science Museum). 

The Iron Age to Roman Transition in Britain from the Perspective of Coin Hoards

Coin from Iron Age coin collection, Heberden Coin Room, Ashmolean Museum

This AHRC-funded Ph.D. studentship is based at the University of Leicester and the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford. This project will explore the later Iron Age in Britain as a period of social change, as clearly evidenced in alterations in technologies and material culture. This is also the period in which the first coins appear, imported from Gallic neighbours across the Channel, and later minted locally across southern Britain; such material provides a major source of information on Iron Age society, trade, religious beliefs, and continental contacts. Many aspects of Iron Age coinage are still poorly understood, but they combine aspects of ‘money’ since they have standardized weight and metal composition; they exhibit complex and localized iconography; and they are generally deposited in careful ways, probably as part of a broad ‘sacrificial’ economy. This PhD studentship will take as its focus this last aspect, examining and interpreting hoards deposited in a time of major cultural change, namely the late Iron Age to Roman transition in Britain.

The successful candidate will hold their studentship at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History at Leicester, one of the UK’s leading archaeology departments and a major centre for research in Iron Age and Roman archaeology; he/she will work in partnership with the Heberden Coin Room, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, whose holdings include part of the collection of British Iron Age coins belonging to Sir John Evans, the founding figure of the subject and author of The Coins of the Ancient Britons, (1864) and bequeathed to the Museum by Sir Arthur Evans.

This project will be supervised by Professors Colin Haselgrove and David Mattingly (Leicester) and Professors Chris Howgego and Chris Gosden (Oxford).

The evaluation of museum engagement – User Centred Design principles and the development of audience-focussed interpretation

Visitors engaging with 3D printed brains in Brain Diaries exhibition at the Museum of Natural History

This AHRC-funded PhD studentship is based at the University of Warwick, in collaboration with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

The studentship will focus on the translation of product evaluation technologies developed within the fields of manufacturing and engineering to the evaluation of exhibitions, displays and engagement activity within museums and the broader culture and heritage sector.  It will examine both traditional ‘glass case’ displays and digital technologies. 

To date, very little work has been undertaken on the determination of best practice for a number of emerging technologies that look set to revolutionise the way that museums present their objects and materials to museum visitors. Such technologies, including 3D printing, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), are becoming increasingly common in museums as a novel way of presenting content to visitors, but little research has, to date, taken a rigorous approach to analysing how these technologies influence the museum visitor experience, how welcome they are, and their impact on learning for visitors. 

The project thus has the capacity to develop and share best practice in relation to the application of User Centred Design to museum displays and exhibitions, and to ascertain best practice within emerging visualisation technologies.

The studentship will be jointly supervised by Prof. Mark Williams at WMG, The University of Warwick and by Prof. M Paul Smith at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Material Cultures of Refuge in Lebanon

Informal area of Ouzaii in southern Beirut, Lebanon, copyright Hanna Baumann 2018

This AHRC-funded PhD studentship is based at the Institute for Global Prosperity at University College London, in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Museums.

Lebanon has the highest number of refugees per capita in the world. Both its urban and its rural spaces have been profoundly shaped by multiple waves of Palestinian displacement, internal displacement due to wars and occupation, as well as – most recently – by the Syrian civil war. The project will thus focus on the environmental, material, visual and/or digital cultures of forced migration in Lebanon in the context of mass displacement from Syria.

The PhD will be jointly supervised by Dr Matthew Davies and Dr Hanna Baumann at UCL as well as Prof Dan Hicks at the Pitt Rivers Museum and Dr Letty Ten Harkel at the School of Archaeology, University of Oxford.

The PhD student will be expected to design and undertake an innovative, interdisciplinary study of the human and material cultures of refuge in Lebanon. In addition, they will explore the potential of contemporary collecting of material, visual and/or digital culture, as well as potential connections with existing museum collections. This will build upon and expand upon approaches developed in the work on the Calais ‘Jungle’ at the Pitt Rivers Museum, led by Prof Hicks, interdisciplinary work on refugee infrastructures in the frame of the RELIEF Centre and Dr Baumann’s work, and work on landscape archaeology and material culture carried out by Dr Davies and Dr Letty Ten Harkel. 

2018 CDP Student Projects at Oxford University Museums

The third round of Oxford University Museums Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships began in October 2018, in partnership with University College London and the University of Leeds. The studentships were awarded to Elaine Charwat and Susan Newell, further details of their research can be found by following the links below:

The Nature of Replication: Re-contextualizing Natural History Models and Casts from 19th to early 20th century Britain and beyond

Elaine Charwat (University College London) in partnership with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Supervised by Dr Alice Stevenson (UCL) and Mark Carnall (OUMNH)

Museum Collections, Academic Teaching, and the Making of Geology in the Nineteenth-Century University

Susan Newell (University of Leeds in partnership with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Ashmolean Museum)

Supervised by Dr Jon Topham (Leeds), Ms. Eliza Howlett (Head of Earth Collections, Oxford University Museum of Natural History) and Dr Jim Harris (Ashmolean Museum)

2017 CDP Student Projects at Oxford University Museums

The second round of Oxford University Museums Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships began in October 2017, in partnership with the University of Birmingham, the University of Leicester, and Birkbeck, University of London. The studentships were awarded to Abbey Ellis, Helen Goulston and Beth Hodgett; further details of their research can be found by following the links below:

Archaeological Plaster Casts: In Search of Authenticity

Abbey Ellis (University of Leicester in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum)

Supervised by Dr Sandra Dudley (Leicester), Dr Milena Melfi and Professor Bert Smith (Oxford)

Where Art and Science Meet: Art and Design at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

Helen Goulston (University of Birmingham in partnership with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History)

Supervised by Dr Claire Jones (Birmingham) and Professor Paul Smith (Oxford)

Visual Archaeology: the photographic character of the archaeology of OGS Crawford

Beth Hodgett (Birkbeck, University of London in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum)

Supervised by Dr Lesley McFayden and Dr Jennifer Baird (Birkbeck) and Professor Chris Gosden and Dr Chris Morton (Oxford)

2016 CDP Student Projects at Oxford University Museums

The first round of Oxford University Museums Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships began in October 2016, in partnership with the University of Warwick and the University of Cambridge. The studentships were awarded to George Green and Emily Roy; further details of their research can be found by following the links below:

Gold Coinage in the Roman World

George Green (University of Warwick in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum)

Supervised by Professor Kevin Butcher (Warwick), Professor Christopher Howgego and Professor Mark Pollard (Oxford)

Modernization, cultural exchanges and innovation in Russian print culture: St Petersburg in the Talbot Collection

Emily Roy (University of Cambridge in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum)

Supervised by Dr Rosalind Blakesley and Dr Wendy Pullan (Cambridge) and Professor Catherine Whistler (Oxford).

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