Download our SWW DTP2 Application FAQs 2020-21

Download our SWW DTP2 Guidance for Applicants 2020_1

Applications closed on 25th January 2021.


Eight Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) projects have been selected to recruit for students to begin their PhDs in September 2021. They have all been crafted by academic experts in the respective fields. They all involve academics from two universities in the SWW DTP2 consortium and at least one non-HEI partner. You will have ample opportunity to put your own individual stamp on the project (see the ‘interviews’ section below).

Each of the projects is introduced briefly in the drop-down boxes below, and at the end of each introduction there is a PDF document with more information.

To apply for one of these projects please keep an eye on this page. The application system will be made live on 30th November 2020.

You may use the short reference at any point (e.g. CDA-1-Photographic-Traces) in your application documents to save having to copy out the full title.

CDA-1-Photographic-Traces: Traces of Empire in the Built Environment: Exploring the Collective Memory of Colonialism through the Photographic Collections of the Historic England Archive

‘Traces of Empire in the Built Environment’ will use historic photographs to tease out the multiple ways in which the English built environment has been formed and reformed through its links to empire. This will include an examination of a wide range of areas, including the construction of monuments and statuary, the creation of buildings and spaces, and the work of the tens of thousands of people who travelled from the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia and found work as architects and builders in England’s cities.

Find out more here CDA-1-Photographic-Traces.Further-Details

CDA-2-Reading-Abbey: Reading Abbey: Connecting Archaeology, Heritage Management and Placemaking

Reading Abbey was founded by Henry I in 1121 to serve as a place of royal ceremony and ultimately as his mausoleum. The abbey stimulated Reading’s urban development and was among England’s ten richest Benedictine monasteries. Despite its national significance, however, RA’s archaeology has not been systematically studied. Substantial ruins survive of the south transept, the east cloister range and the gatehouse, while the buried remains of the precinct cover a large part of the modern town centre (the Abbey Quarter). This project connects the medieval archaeology of Reading Abbey with current heritage needs and opportunities in the town of Reading. It offers a unique platform for a doctoral student to make an original contribution to archaeological understanding of this site of national historical significance; to develop innovative approaches to 4D digital data modelling and visualisation; and to use the research to inform local conservation policy and community engagement with heritage.

Find out more here CDA-2-Reading-Abbey.Further-Details

CDA-3-Mentoring: Mentoring Practice in Contemporary UK Poetry

The proposed CDA research area explores mentoring practice in contemporary UK poetry. Working in tandem with Artful Scribe, a regional literature development agency based in Southampton, the doctoral candidate will consider the practical, ethical, critical and creative implications of mentoring in the creative arts. The candidate will have the opportunity to chronicle and support a new regional mentoring scheme, Poetry Ambassadors, as it moves from a pilot project to an annual scheme, and to draw on their observations for their own research.

Find out more here CDA-3-Mentoring.Further-Details

CDA-4-Knossos: From Migrant Camp to Mega-city: Urbanisation at Ancient Knossos

The student on this CDA project will investigate aspects of urbanisation at Knossos – one of the most significant ancient Mediterranean cities, and the second most visited archaeological site in Greece today – through research on one area within its urban landscape. How this area developed and functioned within the Knossian urban landscape will be researched through a study of archaeological materials selected from the excavations by Arthur Evans and his successors, which have remained unpublished or have been published in only a summary fashion.

Find out more here CDA-4-Knossos.Further-Details

CDA-5-Maritime-Migrations: Maritime Migrations: Transfers and Displacements in Britain’s and Australia’s Nineteenth-century Exchange

This project examines the role played by empires, oceans, and trans-national maritime networks in laying the foundations for modern processes of globalisation, deploying a range of methods and approaches from within and beyond the discipline of History. The student will examine how intersections between maritime networks, markets and states shaped migratory transfers and displacements between Britain and Australia in the nineteenth century. Research will be grounded in the collections of the SS Great Britain Trust. The project seeks to overcome the ‘blue hole’ – the often absent factor of maritime forces – in our historical understanding of the ways in which populations, commodities, markets and ecosystems interacted with and confronted one another. Candidates are encouraged to interrogate the ways in which maritime agents – ship owners, brokers, recruiters, global merchants – worked to influence migratory transfer of people, markets in material goods, flora, fauna and ecosystems, and/or symbiosis among these.

Find out more here CDA-5-Maritime-Migrations.Further-Details

CDA-6-Victoria: Queen Victoria’s Library: The Place of Reading and Writing in Victoria’s Political Education, Self-Improvement, and Self-Curation

‘Queen Victoria’s Library’ will illuminate an unexplored aspect of the Queen’s life and experience, aiming to overthrow traditional histories that cast her as a grey, disempowered pawn in the political life of Britain and its empire in the 19th century. It will research the Queen’s extensive reading and her engagement with the literary world, detailing the ways this which shaped her character and her relationships, as well as her view of dynastic, national and imperial politics. At a time when the increasing number of women readers was a key part of the expansion of the book market, the project will explore both what Victoria read and the sociability of her reading practices, such as her frequent reading with Prince Albert, Ladies in Waiting, or her children. Through the partnership with Historic Royal Palaces, this CDA will be able to disseminate its research directly through the programmes of this major heritage organisation, which manages Kensington Palace.

Find out more here CDA-6-Victoria.Further-Details

CDA-7-Lowbury-Hill: The Archaeology of Hidden Identity: The Case of a Female Burial from Lowbury Hill

This multidisciplinary project seeks to re-interpret the remains of a women discovered in the wall of the Romano-British temple found at Lowbury Hill in 1913-14. The original interpretation of her role as a ‘foundation’ deposit, then as a body inserted in a ‘robber’ trench, has been brought into question by a 1990s radio-carbon analysis that contextualised her within the early medieval period (c 550-650 CE). The nearly complete female skeleton was displayed by the early 1920s at University College Reading’s Museum of Archaeology and History, alongside the male Anglo-Saxon warrior found in the adjacent barrow. We seek an understanding of her deposition and relation to both the Romano-British temple and Anglo-Saxon barrow at Lowbury Hill. Her case is important not only for History and Archaeology but also in Gender Studies, regarding both her role in the Roman and/or Anglo-Saxon periods and her later history as a ‘forgotten women’ overlooked in favour of her more ‘decorated’ male ‘neighbour’.

Find out more here CDA-7-Lowbury-Hill.Further-Details

CDA-8-Holdsworth: Songs of a Factory Girl: Ethel Carnie Holdsworth and Radical Working-Class Women’s Writing

This PhD explores the radical writings and legacy of Lancashire mill-woman, Ethel Carnie Holdsworth (1886-1962), in collaboration with arts commissioning agency Mid Pennine Arts (MPA). Carnie Holdsworth was a prolific, experimental writer across a variety of genres including journalism, serial fiction, children’s literature, poetry and politics. She is one of the first working-class women in England to publish a novel (Miss Nobody, 1913) and became renowned as a radical socialist feminist. At our current time of political polarisation and increased social and economic disparities, contemporary regional audiences are becoming aware of Carnie Holdsworth’s audacity as a writer and the challenge her works present to key paradigms of modernity. This PhD will offer the first reassessment of Carnie Holdsworth’s radical literary works, publishing history, and creative impact, contributing to urgent public demand for greater access to the dynamic, diverse history of working-class writing.

Find out more here CDA-8-Holdsworth.Further-Details

Interested in a CDA but not sure whether it’s for you?


Please see below for a few Q&As answered by our current CDA students and supervisors.


Do I have to study full time?

No, you can apply as a full-time or part-time student


Do I need to have work experience in a relevant field?

Not necessarily. To be eligible to apply for any SWW DTP2 studentship you should normally have, or be studying for, a Master’s degree or similar postgraduate qualification. If you don’t already have experience of formal postgraduate study, you would be eligible only if you can demonstrate evidence of sustained experience beyond your undergraduate degree that is specifically relevant to your proposed research topic, such as work in the relevant CDA field.


What is the selection process like? Will there be an interview?

Yes, there will be a round of interviews with the host organisation and academic supervisors. These will be conversations to ascertain whether the project is a good fit for all. They will offer the opportunity to ask questions and decide on whether it is right for you.


How do I apply?

Follow the link on the SWW DTP website “apply” page ( Before 30 November 2020 you will find information there, and from that date until 25 January there will be a live link for you to begin the online application process.


Can I apply BOTH for a CDA AND for a student-led award?

Yes. You can apply for both, but each application will necessarily be somewhat different (since the CDA requires you to engage with an existing project and the student-led route does not).


Are CDA awards fully funded?

Yes. They cover the fee at the UK home rate of £4,407 (for all students, home or international) and a stipend (£15,285 in 2020-21).


Is the PhD project rigidly pre-determined for a CDA or is there flexibility for me to shape it myself?

There is plenty of opportunity to shape your own project, both during the application process and after an award is made. The outline project is determined by the supervisors working with the non-HEI partner but those who are invited for interview have the chance then to suggest ways in which it might be adjusted to suit their particular interests and expertise and they propose their own thesis title, defining its focus themselves. Projects are all designed to allow flexibility of this type. All PhDs change shape during the research and writing, some quite radically, and CDAs are no exception.


I am a mature student. Would a CDA be right for me?

Students of any age are invited to apply, including mature students or those who have taken a break from academic study since their Master’s degree. We also consider applications from mature students with relevant professional experience or knowledge even if they do not hold an MA (see above).


I have caring responsibilities, could I still apply?

Absolutely, we have many students who have caring commitments. Supervisors and the SWW DTP administration try to offer as much flexibility as possible. Doctoral work is often intrinsically more flexible than taught courses.

Student Q&A with Joe Lewis

Joe Lewis, second year CDA student researching how we present Roman Wales to the public using audio-visual media.

Joe works with academic supervisors Angela Piccini (University of Bristol, Film and Television) and Stephanie Moser (University of Southampton, Archaeology) to gain a well-rounded supervisory experience to suit his project. The National Roman Legion Museum are his non-HEI supervisor organization and Mark Lewis Curator at the National Museum Wales, is his partner supervisor.

Q: What did you study prior to commencing your CDA opportunity?
A: I studied for a MA in Roman Archaeology prior to this, and so having this background but being able to learn and develop practical audio-visual skills, such as documentary making, in order to enhance the museum’s resources and ability to tell the story of Roman Wales. (Joe was new to film editing before beginning the CDA and is still in the early processes of developing an understanding of this area).

Q: Have you been involved with any interesting external projects yet?
A: Since starting, I went to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford with colleagues from the National Roman Museum to look at the kinds of practice-based approaches I could use in regard to video and film making for them.

Q: What kind of fieldwork will you do during your CDA?
A: Much of this will involve going to different museums to look at how they have told stories using audio visual media. My fieldwork will also include working with community groups to create films to tell the story of the Roman occupation of Wales.

Q: How have you found the CDA experience so far?
A: The experience has been a positive one! It has been slightly unusual because of Covid-19 and I’ve not done as much fieldwork as I’d have liked, but my supervisors have still been very supportive.

Q: How do you juggle your studies with other commitments?
A: I thought I might be one of the only people with a young child also studying for a PhD, but I was wrong! It has been great to meet others in a similar position and know that there are workarounds in this regard to managing study and family commitments

Student CDA Q&A with Sophie Welsh, second year part-time CDA student

Sophie’s project looks at Thomas Hardy, Dorset and the wider world. Landscapes of Hardy’s Wessex, historic cartography and Victorian literature fits into this.

Sophie works with academic supervisors Angelique Richardson (University of Exeter) and Justine Pizzo (University of Southampton). Dorset Museum and Dorset History Centre are the non-HEI partner organisations. Sam Johnston, County Curator, Dorset History Centre and Dr Jon Murden, Dorset Museum are the partner supervisors on this project.

“The CDA process has felt very organic for me. The work I do with partner organisations is very archive-driven, and I find this has taken me in new and unexpected interesting directions” –  Sophie Welsh, third year CDA student

Q: How have you found your CDA project so far?
A: It has been a very organic process doing an archive-driven project with two heritage organisations, which has shaped my PhD in new and unexpected directions.
Although the CDA project offers a title and topic for the PhD, I’ve found that this is a very loose structure which allows for multiple interpretations (e.g. there are two of us working on this same CDA quite differently from each other).

My project has also moved quite far away from my original proposal, so the CDAs work very similarly to other PhD projects in that sense.

“Doing additional work for my CDA partners that is related to but separate from my own project has helped me to get some distance from my project to see it as part of a larger picture as well as helping me to make unexpected discoveries”. – Sophie Welsh, third year CDA student

Q: What do you work on?
A: CDA title: ‘Hardy, Dorset and the Wider World’. The landscapes of Thomas Hardy’s Wessex and how they are constructed in response to various forms of contemporary and historic forms of cartography. More broadly I look at the interactions between nineteenth-century maps and the Victorian novel and explore its attempts to recreate the real world accurately.

Q: Most exciting part of your PhD studies so far?
A: Making a unique discovery in the National Archives which gave credence to my entire argument as it revealed that Hardy’s writing was indeed intertwined with contemporary mapping methods!

Q: How you feel this opportunity will help you in future career?
A: Connections to and experience working with heritage organisations from an academic standpoint. I’d love a career that allows me to combine working in academia and the heritage sector, so I feel the CDA experience is preparing me for that.

Q: What you know now that you wish you’d know then (on applying, what to expect)
A: here’s a few pearls of wisdom:
• Time passes quickly but you do have enough of it!
• It does get better! Things will all fall into place eventually, and you can’t be expected to know everything at once.
• Done is always better than perfect.

Q: Hints and tips for applicants?
A: Consider both what you can bring to the CDA partners and what they can bring to you. It should be a complementary partnership.

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