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
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
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
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
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.