AHRC Funding for a PhD in the History of Geographical Education

A fully funded PhD is open for applications: "Museum Collections, Academic Teaching, and the Making of Geology in the Nineteenth-Century University"

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship based at the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) and the Ashmolean Museum.

This project will explore the origins of object-led teaching in the nineteenth-century university and connect this to the current resurgence of interest in the use of museum collections as a teaching resource. The project will be rooted in the extensive source materials in the OUMNH relating to the history of geological teaching, including collections of specimens, models and large-scale lecture diagrams as well as lecture notes, correspondence, and institutional records. Focusing on Oxford’s first Reader in geology, William Buckland, and his successor, John Phillips, it will draw on a wide range of evidence to analyse the ways in which they used these materials to teach and develop the science of geology. The findings will be contextualised through extensive comparative research on coeval developments at other universities and provincial museums.

Through the investigation of the role of both university teaching and of material and visual culture in the development of the disciplinary sciences, with a particular focus on geology, the project will encourage a reappraisal of the approaches used in the teaching of this discipline today. Working with staff at Oxford University Museums, the student will also have the opportunity to put the research findings to practical use by contributing to their public engagement programmes.

The studentship will be jointly supervised by Dr Jonathan Topham (University of Leeds), Ms Eliza Howlett and Ms Kathleen Diston (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) and Dr Jim Harris (Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology). This full-time studentship, which is fully funded for 3 years, with the option of up to 6 months additional funding for related professional development, will begin on 1 October 2018.

For full details of the studentship and how to apply please read the Applicant Information Pack (pdf).

Applications must be received no later than 5pm on Monday 4 June.

Informal enquiries relating to the project can be directed to Dr Jon Topham at j.r.topham@leeds.ac.uk For any other information please contact Dr Harriet Warburton, Oxford University Museums Research Facilitator at harriet.warburton@ashmus.ox.ac.uk