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AHRC International Placement Scheme

Berkshire Downs. Photo by tristanf / Flickr

SWW DTP students have the opportunity to apply to the AHRC’s annual International Placement Scheme (IPS). The scheme provides funded research fellowships at world-leading international research institutions for early career researchers, doctoral-level research assistants and AHRC/ESRC funded doctoral students.

In 2017, IPS fellowships were available at:

Aims of the International Placement Scheme

  • To provide early career researchers, doctoral-level research assistants and AHRC/ESRC-funded doctoral students with dedicated access to the internationally renowned research collections/ programmes/ expertise held at the host IPS institutions;
  • Through such access, to enhance the depth, range and quality of research activities conducted by scholars;
  • To create opportunities for networking with other international scholars at those institutions.

Full information about the IPS scheme, including how to apply, can be found on the AHRC’s website here:

http://www.ahrc.ac.uk/funding/opportunities/current/international-placement-scheme-2017/

SWW DTP Student Case Studies

A number of SWW DTP students have successfully been awarded places on the AHRC’s IPS scheme. Below you can learn more from some of them about their time on the placement and the opportunities the scheme has given them:

Kate Neale’s placement at the Library of Congress in Washington DC

I successfully applied for a five month fellowship at the Library of Congress in Washington DC which took place during the second year of my PhD.

Having attended an open day about the scheme, it was obvious that a fellowship at the Library would enable me to access unique collections that would add significant value to the American aspect of my research into Cornish migrant music cultures. I was primarily interested in working in the American Folklife Center, an internationally renowned archive of ethnographic materials.

Kate's Experience:

I found much more relevant material than I had initially predicted, across a range of reading rooms including the Performing Arts, Recorded Sound and Manuscripts Divisions. Access to these resources has considerably enhanced and extended my research outcomes; I was able to make and trace connections that would have been impossible without coming here. Although my main focus during my Fellowship was the American aspect of my research, the Library’s collections are so vast that I was also able to work on other elements of my thesis.

I found the research environment at the John W. Kluge Center a very stimulating place to grow as a scholar. I really enjoyed working amongst a cohort of people on the same journey, especially since we are all working in different subject areas and at different stages. I’ve established connections and networks with fellow PhD students, early career researchers and academics, as well as with subject librarians whose expert knowledge of their collections has been invaluable. I found it particularly useful to be able to share and compare methods, theoretical approaches, successes and problems within a supportive environment of researchers in other disciplines. Having nearly completed my Fellowship, I wholeheartedly recommend it as an incredibly valuable research and life experience.

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Thomas Ellis’ placement at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC

I applied for the IPS scheme because my research, which concerns US-Soviet space competition and cooperation, would have taken me to Washington D.C. in any case, but the opportunity to conduct research at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum was one I couldn’t afford to pass up. I spent six months in Washington, where I conducted in-depth archival research at the Museum, the Library of Congress, National Archives and NASA History Office.

Thomas' Experience:

The Smithsonian is an incredible community to be a part of, with seminars, discussion groups and conferences meaning I was able to make connections with world-class experts in the field and get their feedback on my project.  I was also able to share my research with the general public by giving an “Ask an Expert” Q&A session about one of the artefacts, a worryingly lifelike flight test dummy used in the Soviet space programme, which was great fun.  I also got an interesting insight into what goes on “backstage” at a large museum through visiting conservation labs, going through records on the histories of particular exhibits and talking to curators and staff.

Being in Washington for six months gave me the luxury to pursue my primary research in greater depth, meaning I could follow avenues of inquiry I might not have had time for on a short research trip. The sources I found from being able to dig deeper will profoundly shape the conclusions in my dissertation. There is also a lively social life amongst the researchers doing placements at the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Institution, and Washington is a fascinating city to live in. The other Researchers on the IPS were studying an enormously broad range of topics, so this is a great opportunity even if your topic isn’t US-focused.

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