PhD FUNDING OPPORTUNITY: AHRC CHASE Collaborative Doctoral Award


Is a broken artwork useless?
What can only a fragment of something tell us about the past?

The University of East Anglia, in partnership with the Museum of London, invites applications from suitably qualified UK/EU candidates for a full-time or part-time Collaborative Doctoral Award, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council through the CHASE doctoral training partnership, to conduct research as part of the Beautiful Fragments Project.

This Collaborative Doctoral Award will support PhD research into the role played by fragmentary objects in understanding the art and visual culture of the later Middle Ages (c.1000-1500).

Jointly supervised by specialists at both the Museum of London (MoL) and the University of East Anglia (UEA), the research will focus on works in the MoL’s medieval display collections and archaeological archive, which houses artefacts from over 8,500 sites investigated in London over the past century. These collections offer an encyclopaedic reservoir of medieval material culture, however their fragmentary nature means they have often been overlooked by art historians. This research will instead present a doctoral student with the opportunity to reconsider the value of such carefully crafted yet incomplete objects to medieval art history, shining a light on the vital information they have to offer about London in the later Middle Ages.

Throughout the first six months of the award—in consultation with their supervisors and on the basis of their own expertise, training, and interests—the student will determine the specific focus of their research along one of four rich material strands represented in the MoL’s collections: 1) ceramics, including glazed and decorated jugs, bowls, cups, and tiles; 2) glass, including delicate blown vessels, stained panels, and beaded jewellery; 3) leather, including stitched and tooled clothing, shoes, straps, and other functional garb; and 4) metalwork, including fragmentary tools, specialist instruments, cutlery, and horse furniture. Focusing specifically on one of these four categories, the PhD researcher’s work will not simply catalogue MoL’s collections; rather it will interrogate the ways in which these material remains speak to remarkable patterns of survival, exploring how fragmentary objects that ended their life in London might give voice to an otherwise lost world of late medieval artisans and users.

The three-year studentship will start on 1 October 2018 and will be based in the vibrant research community of the Department of Art History and World Art Studies at UEA. The successful candidate will also work directly with curators at the Museum of London, where they will receive curatorial training and be given privileged access to the museum’s collections for their research.
The project will offer the award-holder access to:
– the complementary research cultures of a world-class museum and a world-leading university
– close and careful research supervision by leading specialists in the field
– training to develop a range of valuable research and curatorial skills
– engagement work with the wider public, presenting research to non-specialist audiences

The successful candidate will contribute to the intellectual framing and practical organisation of a project conference to be held at UEA in 2021, and in addition their research will feed into ongoing discussions within MoL concerning the major redisplay of its collections to the public in 2023.

Supervision will be provided by Dr Jack Hartnell (UEA), Dr Glyn Davies (Head of the Curatorial Department, Museum of London), and Prof Sandy Heslop (UEA).

The award will cover University of East Anglia tuition fees and provide the standard AHRC maintenance award for three years (£14,777 for 2018 entry). Additionally, the student will be a CHASE doctoral researcher with access to enhanced support for approved travel and expenses funded by CHASE as well as being able to participate in specialist researcher training and work placement opportunities offered by the DTP if desired. At UEA they will have access to study space in the department’s offices in the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, membership of the university’s various libraries and research facilities, and will be welcomed as part of a highly active research community, including both faculty and PhD researchers in a number of fields relating to the project. At MoL the student will be provided with a museum pass—giving free admission to exhibitions at a number of major London museums—as well as access to the curatorial library.

CHASE AHRC studentships are open to UK and EU students who meet the residency requirements set out in the RCUK Conditions of Research Council Training Grants.

Candidates must also have:
– A First Class or high Upper Second BA Hons degree in a relevant discipline, such as Art History, History, Medieval Studies, Cultural Studies, Archaeology.
– An MA with Distinction or Merit in a relevant discipline by 1 October 2018.
– Research experience in at least one of the following areas: art history, visual or material culture, medieval history, medieval archaeology, the history of London.

Applications for this studentship must be made via the CHASE Online Application Form (

Applicants must also apply for a place of study at the University of East Anglia (

Along with their application candidates should provide two separate statements:
1) a statement outlining your academic qualifications, relevant research experience and expertise (including language skills), and motivation to pursue this Collaborative Doctoral Award (max 500 words)
2) a provisional outline of a research topic within the thematic and chronological parameters given above, setting out your aims and objectives, key research questions, and potential methods and sources (max 500 words)

Candidates must also arrange for two academic references to be submitted to the University of East Anglia by the deadline, one of which must be provided by a referee who has had recent and direct experience of your academic work.

The deadline for applications is Monday 7 May 2018

Interviews will be held for shortlisted candidates at UEA on Monday 14 May 2018. Skype interviews will be possible for candidates unable to attend in person.

Informal enquiries regarding the award can be addressed to any of the three supervisors:
– Dr Jack Hartnell (
– Dr Glyn Davies (
– Prof Sandy Heslop (


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