AHRC ‘Beyond Text’ PhD Studentship at UCL

Museum Studies / Museum Anthropology / Digital Heritage
Project: Reanimating cultural heritage: digital repatriation, knowledge networks and civil society strengthening in Sierra Leone
Applications are invited for a 3-year full-time PhD studentship to be held at University College London in the field of Museum Studies / Museum Anthropology / Digital Heritage. The studentship is associated with a large project funded under the Arts & Humanities Research Council’s ‘Beyond Text’ programme, which is concerned with innovating ‘digital curatorship’ in relation to Sierra Leonean collections dispersed in the global museumscape. The project considers how objects that have become isolated from the oral and performative contexts that originally animated them can be reanimated in digital space alongside associated images, video clips, sounds, texts and other media. In partnership with the Department of Informatics at Sussex University, as well as the British Museum, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Glasgow Museums and collaborating institutions in Sierra Leone, a digital heritage resource will be created that utilizes social networking technologies to reconnect objects with disparate communities and foster reciprocal knowledge exchange across boundaries. Whereas the practice of ‘digital repatriation’ has become increasingly popular with museums, the reception of such initiatives by source communities has not been critically assessed. Thus, a crucial part of the project will be to employ innovative participatory methods to pilot and evaluate the digital resource in Sierra Leone. Further details of the project can be seen at http://www.beyondtext.ac.uk/projects/reanimatingculturalheritage.shtml
It is anticipated that the student will be involved in all aspects of the project, but will be able to shape the particular focus of the PhD research within the broader project objectives. To be eligible for a full award, which covers tuition fees and a maintenance grant (currently £14,500 per annum), applicants should be normally resident in the UK. Applicants should have a good first degree and, preferably, postgraduate experience in museum anthropology, material/visual culture studies, museum studies, or similar. A strong interest in cultural heritage technologies is essential and experience in computing will be an advantage. The studentship will be supervised by Dr Paul Basu and will be based in the Institute of Archaeology, though closely affiliated with the Department of Anthropology and UCL’s Centre for Museums, Heritage and Material Culture Studies. The studentship must start no later than 1 January 2009.
If you are interested in applying or for further information, please contact Paul Basu by email at paul.basu@ucl.ac.uk or p.basu@sussex.ac.uk as soon as possible.