Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs)

SWW DTP Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs)

This year, in addition to the standard studentship competition, the SWW DTP is issuing a call for applications for Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs). Successful students will take up their awards in September 2018 with the SWW DTP.

Each CDA will be connected to a specific external partner. Supervision will be carried out by a representative from that organisation and at least two academic supervisors from within the consortium. The lead supervisors are listed as contacts on the projects below.

Potential students should contact the academic supervisor listed below in the first instance, with a view to submitting their application as part of the open competition for a SWW DTP studentship, which opens on Monday 27th November 2017 and closes on Thursday 11th January 2018, 11.59pm GMT.

Please note that the deadline for expressions of interest to the academic supervisors listed below is 14th December 2017.

Project area 1. Bristol Empire and Commonwealth Collection/Photographic Archive (Bristol Culture)

Private Lives of Empire – insights into domestic and intimate experiences of empire, through photography and film collections.

BECC contains substantial holdings of photograph albums and films from families who lived and worked in colonies across the British Empire. This project has the potential to make a significant contribution to the history of photography, visual culture, debates about colonial culture, history of the family, and of the intimate worlds of empire, but is not restricted to these areas.

Academic contact: Professor Robert Bickers, University of Bristol –

Images of Colonial Authority and Violence – displays of colonial authority, military images and records of colonial policing. 

Within the BECC archive are significant sets of visual material across film and photographic media recording displays of colonial power and authority, and the actions of colonial military and security forces. These are particularly rich for twentieth-century East Africa, but not restricted to this region. Work here could make a contribution to the history of photography, visual culture, decolonisation, colonialism’s cultures, imperial masculinity, and military and policing history, and a range of other areas.

Academic contact: Professor Simon Potter, University of Bristol –

Bristol Culture contacts: Nicky Sugar ( and Jayne Pucknell ( )

Project area 2. National Museum of Wales, Curatorial team of the National Roman Legion Museum

A practice-based PhD that spans Film/Screen Media and Heritage/Museum Studies and will involve a range of audio-visual media, as appropriate. The project will be embedded in the earliest stages of new museum and gallery development at The National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon and will inform and respond to the collections and design and interpretation processes. The aim of the PhD is to work with the Museum and its visitors to help enhance engagements with collections and displays.

The National Roman Legion Museum:

Roman Caerleon lives on the edge of Empire. As a fortress it was never isolated but was part of a wider international network. The National Roman Legion Museum is therefore rooted in its locality but has international significance. The Museum aims to animate the story of how 6,000 soldiers of the Roman army came to Caerleon, creating a key military base on the western frontier of the Roman Empire, and bringing new people, ideas and trade to the area. The Museum explores how encounters with Iron Age peoples and cultural assimilation over a period of over 200 years changed lives in ways which can still be felt today. Through techniques that facilitate enjoyable and engaging experiences the Museum will enable understanding of this story’s place in history and how it influences the world we live in today.

Potential Research Questions:

1) How might diverse media practices contribute to new interpretations of Roman Wales being developed through the re-design of the National Roman Legion Museum?

2) What are the challenges (aesthetic, interpretative, educational, technical, engagement) that the collections of the National Roman Legion Museum present to a range of screen practices?

3) How might new understandings of the entangled and complex encounters between the Roman army and diverse Iron Age peoples in Wales develop through practice-based engagements with the material culture of the National Roman Legion Museum?

Thesis to Comprise: 

  1. a screenwork/series of screenworks for a range of platforms and/or live events (projection, mobile phone, VR headset, installation)
  2. a 40,000-word written element to address a range of areas, including but not limited to: histories and practices of the interpretation of Roman Britain generally and at the NRLM; critical analysis of the practice elements of the project; visitor and museum practitioner engagements with practice processes and outputs; issues of media management & legacy; potential impact of this mode of enquiry on broader museum interpretation and practice.

Academic contacts: Dr Angela Piccini, University of Bristol – and Professor Stephanie Moser –

Partner contact: Bella Dicks, Director of Research, NMW,

Project area 3. Thomas Hardy, Victorian Studies, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies

Hardy, Dorset and the wider world

The project, a collaboration between Exeter, Southampton, Dorset County Museum (DCM) and Dorset History Centre (DHC), will explore Thomas Hardy’s involvement in the social, legal and political worlds of Dorset and examine ways in which Hardy draws on these experiences in his fiction, often to social ends.  It will make a substantial contribution to Victorian Studies and to Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, allowing the student to track with new precision, and in unprecedented detail, relations between the regional, national and international.  The project would also enjoy support from Exeter’s new Digital Humanities Lab.

It will be a timely and important project for Dorset County Museum’s HLF-funded redevelopment as part of its vision for Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset, and for DHC which is awaiting the outcome of an HLF bid ‘Securing the Past’ to extend and refurbish DHC as well as conduct a major programme of public engagement.  The project will be central to Exeter’s Centre for Literature and Archives (CLA) and the Centre for Victorian Studies (CVS), and Southampton’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research (SCNR).  There is also scope for involvement with Exeter’s Centre for Medical History and Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and Southampton’s Research Centre for Medical and Health Humanities.  The student would have the opportunity to become involved with the REF2021 Impact Case Study: Promoting the Preservation, Presentation and Public Understanding of the work of Thomas Hardy, which Richardson is leading, and to inform the work of the Hardy Country Steering Group whose members currently include Exeter, the National Trust, DCM, Dorset AONB, the Thomas Hardy Society and Bath Spa University.   They would also have the opportunity to attend the annual BAVS conference (at Exeter in August 2018) and SCNR’s next international conference (September 2018), ‘Regionalism in the Long 19th Century’.

Dorset County Museum is an independent museum. Owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, of which Hardy was a member, it receives financial support from Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council. Dorset History Centre (DHC) is the home of the Joint Archives Service (JAS) for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole and it also holds the Dorset Local Studies and Dorset Authors library collections.

DCM holds the Thomas Hardy Archive and Collection, the largest Hardy collection in the world, recently selected for the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Programme register. It includes over 5000 unpublished letters to Hardy which reveal Hardy’s involvement in a global network, engaged in a wide range of debates; it also includes drafts of letters from Hardy, often pencilled on correspondence he received.  DCM also holds the Dorset County Chronicle, from which Hardy took notes, and DCM’s original manuscripts of The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Under the Greenwood Tree are stored at DHC.  Under-researched collections at DHC range from the records of the borough authority to the records of the courts (Petty Sessions and Quarter Sessions), prisons and hospitals.  The Quarter Sessions archive – the quarterly records of the courts which dealt with a huge range of civil and criminal matters – provides a cross section of contemporary life.  The student would gain valuable experience in the management of archives and museum collections and in advising on exhibitions and outreach and public engagement projects, and they will develop expertise in the care, description and analysis of manuscript materials. They would be trained by the organisations’ archivists and curators and would gain a wide range of transferable skills.

The student would draw on the expertise of Professors Angelique Richardson and Mary Hammond, including Hammond’s co-edited Rural-Urban Relationships in the Nineteenth Century: Uneasy Neighbours? (Routledge, 2016) and Richardson’s forthcoming The Politics of Thomas Hardy: Biology, Culture and Environment (OUP).   Both supervisors have extensive experience supervising PhD students, including Collaborative Doctoral Award holders.   The student would join dynamic and supportive research communities at Exeter and Southampton and DCM and DHC will support the student by providing advice and guidance on the collections and a welcoming working environment.

Academic contact: Professor Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter –

Partner contacts: Dr Jon Murden, DCM Director – and Sam Johnston, DHC County Archivist  –

Project area 4. Bristol Museum and Art Gallery Ethnographic Collections

Collecting Papua New Guinea; what, where, when, why, and how

Bristol Museum and Art Gallery has an extensive collection of material culture and archival material from Papua New Guinea collected from the 1920s until the 1980s by missionaries, colonial administrators, and aid development workers. It includes clothing, body adornment, ritual paraphernalia, domestic utensils, ceramics, musical instruments, and archival records.  The aim of the PhD is to enhance curatorial methodologies for collections interrogation and to challenge the role of museums in a post-colonial world. It will make a valuable contribution to understanding changing collection practices; material culture evolution in practice; the relationship between collections and archives; the role of the collector in cultural development of the source community; the role material culture plays in representing a society and the stories they tell about that society.

Academic Contact:  Dr Tamar Hodos, University of Bristol –

Collections Contact: Lisa Graves, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery –

This is in partnership with the University of Exeter (contact: Professor Linda Hurcombe –

Project area 5. Charles Paget Wade, National Trust and Snowshill Manor

‘Let nothing perish’: Snowshill Manor’s legacies, biographies, and motivations.

Charles Paget Wade (1883-1956) was a collector, author, artist-craftsman, and architect. This project would focus on archival evidence, held at Snowshill Manor and the Gloucestershire Archives, with the aim of historically and culturally contextualising Wade. It would draw on a wider range of archives relating to Wade’s early life and family history to interrogate the role that nostalgia, trauma, and legacies of enslavement may have played in the creation of Snowshill Manor. Wade trained as an architect in the Arts and Crafts style and while in military service during WWI came upon an advertisement for Snowshill. He formed a collection there in the Cotswolds which encompassed a complex range of early 20th century interests from Samurai armour, to a model village, and historic costume. Using his family’s sugar plantation fortune, inherited in 1911, he was able to create his own vision before leaving the buildings, archive, garden, and object collection to the National Trust.

Primary Academic Contact: Professor Emily West, University of Reading

Other Academic Contacts: Dr Jeremy Burchardt and Dr Ollie Douglas

National Trust Contact: Dr Rupert Goulding, National Trust Lead Curator, South West Region


‘When brain and hand together strive’: Charles Paget Wade (1883-1956) as author and poet

Charles Paget Wade (1883-1956) was a collector, architect, and artist-craftsman, but he also wrote a good deal of illustrated memoir-like prose and verse about his life, his collection at Snowshill Manor, and the themes of craft and seasonality. These extensive writings, held at this National Trust Property, have never been studied in depth, edited for publication or analysed in relation to Wade’s cultural grounding in the Arts & Crafts and Aesthetic Movements at the turn of the twentieth-century, or regarding responses to traumatic experience in the Great War, or the concerns of the changing inter-war literary context. During Wade’s lifetime, Snowshill Manor also welcomed a range of influential literary visitors including Edith Sitwell, Virginia Woolf, John Betjeman, John Buchan, Graham Greene, and J. B. Priestley. Though Wade is often portrayed as an isolated eccentric, this project will seek to explore his literary activities in their own right and in relation to the cultural and artistic networks of his wider milieu.

Academic Contact: Professor Peter Robinson, University of Reading

National Trust Contact: Dr Rupert Goulding, National Trust Lead Curator, South West Region