Research opportunities

Supervision & Mentoring

The Consortium provides fully-funded doctoral studentships in Heritage training and research. These studentships are advertised annually and have five unique features.

Specialist Supervision

The Consortium offers a wide range of supervisory expertise to allow students to develop their own research projects and to pursue these to a successful conclusion. The Consortium’s ethos is as much freedom as possible, with as much guidance as necessary, allowing students to shape their own projects and career development within a supportive framework. Students are guided by a system of dual supervision and can access specialist advice from across the Consortium. They are registered at the institution of their lead supervisor, but receive additional advice from one or more co-supervisors at other member universities, thus gaining the experience of studying at two or more universities, whilst still enjoying a “home base” and a sense of place.

Professional Mentoring & Career Development

Each student will be given a mentor from one of the Consortium’s heritage partners in addition to their academic supervisors. Mentors will advise on the practicalities of heritage work, including guidance on funding applications, as well as to inculcate skills within a professional context, such as conservation, scientific techniques, interviewing skills (e.g. for oral history), digitisation, and archiving. Mentors will help students understand how organisations function and the place of different personnel within them, and will formalise connections with partners to secure maximum benefits from placement opportunities. This provides students with experience of a professional context, much of which must be understood as transferable across specialisms and disciplines. Mentoring can be adapted to circumstances. For example, it might be delivered by a team rather than through a single mentor. It can take different forms, from generic (building confidence, career development, networking) through to more specific (improving and refining a specific skill set). The cohort programme of site visits and engagement with other heritage professionals at the annual conference provide further opportunities to expand the range of professional knowledge.

Placements & Training

Placements

All students will undertake a funded placement of (normally) 6 weeks to 6 months at one of our external partners designed to match the student’s research issues and career goals. For instance, placements may be with an organisation with specialist holdings in the relevant research field, or involve an activity related to research methodology. Placements will be integrated within the mentoring system and constitute an innovative feature of the Consortium intended to support both the research but particularly the career development of all students. They are also an essential feature of the often practice-based character of much heritage work and are intended to facilitate professionally-informed research and help align both this and training to the evolving needs of UK and international heritage practice.

Training Opportunities

The Consortium’s doctoral training includes a 60 credit Masters Certificate in Heritage Research which is distinct from the more focused and restricted research training provided by Masters programmes, which we expect our applicants to have completed already. A key feature is the exposure of all students to different disciplinary approaches and professional practices, as well as a thorough grounding in the contested character of heritage and the problems of its interpretation and presentation. This core training is intended to meet students’ social as well as intellectual needs by constructing a social identity around their work. Whilst common to all, the programme will contain activities and assignments, the content of which can be tailored to each student. There will be flexibility to modify or adapt elements to suit the needs of particular cohorts, as identified through the admissions process. One element of the core training will be to improve each student’s ability to identify their own future training needs.

There is a rich programme of continuing training for students in years 2 and 3 of their doctorates, including access to the full range of specialist modules at all member institutions, as well as an annual conference and regular research workshops and seminars. Together, these opportunities allow students to develop their research – perhaps in unanticipated directions – whilst remaining confident that any additional training needs can be met through the provision of specialist training across the Consortium and open to all students. The costs of participating in these training opportunities are covered by the funding attached to the studentships.

 

In addition to fully-funded studentships, self-funded places are also available.

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