British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

AHRC CDA PhD Studentship: Photography and archaeology

Alfred Maudslay, Photography and the Mimetic Technologies of Archaeology: A Study in Method, Process and Effect / Photographic History Research Centre, De Montfort University, Leicester/ British Museum, London. An AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship, starting October 2012,  covering stipend and tuition fee costs is offered within the Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) in the Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities in collaboration with the British Museum.

The project addresses the practices of photography in relation to the task of documentation and recording in the field of Maya archaeology in the late 19th Century. Its focus is a series of 1513 photographs made by Alfred Maudslay in Mexico and Guatemala for thirteen years between 1881 and 1894, notably at Copán, Palenque, and Yaxchilán. The project will explore the ways in which Maudslay used photography to constitute the qualities of archaeological objectivity and observation, in the production of 'evidence' and archaeological knowledge. It will also explore how the established truth values of this mimetic technology were employed to fuel the burgeoning public interest in ancient archaeological sites and civilisations, establishing a broader visual rhetoric for the 'uncovering' of the Maya past. The project will also explore the methodological implications for a ‘photographic history’ approach to collections and institutions.

The focus will be on the British Museum’s outstanding collection of negatives, casts and paper squeezes made by Maudslay. The PhD studentship will be based at DMU’s  Photographic History Research Centre  (PHRC) within the Faculty of Art Design and Humanities. PHRC undertakes innovative research on photography and its practices from the early nineteenth century to the present day, and over a wide range of social and cultural processes, networks of photographic knowledge, science and technology, aesthetic, evidential and informational values and institutional practices.

Supervision will be available from Professor Elizabeth Edwards (DMU) and key members of British Museum staff who have active interests in photography, history, archaeology and collections history.  The studentship will be based at DMU Leicester, with extended London-based periods of study at the British Museum and related archives.  PHRC is a dynamic and growing research community. The successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the development of this community and that at the British Museum.

Candidates might come from a range of possible disciplines: archaeology (not necessarily Meso-American), art history, history of photography, science and technology studies, visual anthropology, and visual culture studies. A reading knowledge of Spanish would be an advantage.

For a more detailed description of the PHRC please visit our web site or contact Professor Edwards ( who will be happy to discuss the studentship further.

This research opportunity builds on DMU’s excellent past achievements and is looking forward to REF2014 and beyond. It will develop both the university’s and the British Museum’s research capacity into new and evolving areas of study, enhancing DMU’s national and international research partnerships.

Applications are invited from UK or eligible EU/overseas students  (see Annex A) with a good first degree (First, 2:1 or equivalent) and MA in a relevant subject. The CDA scholarship is available for three years full-time study starting October 2012, providing a bursary for both maintenance  (currently c. £13,500) and fees.


To receive an application pack, please contact the Faculty Research Office via email at ADHresearch&  Completed applications should be returned together with a full CV, two supporting references, a statement explaining your interest in the project, and an example of your written work of c.3000 words.

Please quote ref: AHRC/CDA/PHRC12

CLOSING DATE: June 25th 2012. Interview date: July 2nd 2012

Views: 416

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of British photographic history to add comments!

Join British photographic history

© 2020   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service