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University of Leeds & Oxford University of Natural History: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship: Museum Collections, Academic Teaching, and the Making of Geology in the Nineteenth-Century University.

Based at the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Oxford University Museum of Natural History (OUMNH) and the Ashmolean Museum)

This project will explore the origins of object-led teaching in the nineteenth-century university and connect this to the current resurgence of interest in the use of museum collections as a teaching resource. The project will be rooted in the extensive source materials in the OUMNH relating to the history of geological teaching, including collections of specimens, models and large-scale lecture diagrams as well as lecture notes, correspondence, and institutional records. Focusing on Oxford’s first Reader in geology, William Buckland, and his successor, John Phillips, it will draw on a wide range of evidence to analyse the ways in which they used these materials to teach and develop the science of geology. The findings will be contextualised through extensive comparative research on coeval developments at other universities and provincial museums.

Through the investigation of the role of both university teaching and of material and visual culture in the development of the disciplinary sciences, with a particular focus on geology, the project will encourage a reappraisal of the approaches used in the teaching of this discipline today. Working with staff at Oxford University Museums, the student will also have the opportunity to put the research findings to practical use by contributing to their public engagement programmes.

The studentship will be jointly supervised by Dr Jonathan Topham (University of Leeds), Ms Eliza Howlett and Ms Kathleen Diston (Oxford University Museum of Natural History) and Dr Jim Harris (Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology). This full-time studentship, which is fully funded for 3 years, with the option of up to 6 months additional funding for related professional development, will begin on 1 October 2018.

Candidates should apply by the deadline of 5pm Monday 23 April 2018 via the University of Leeds research postgraduate web application service.

For more information, download the call for applications here and see here.