British photographic history

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Doctoral funding: the photographic history of the Paralympic community in Britain

The Photographic History Research Centre (PHRC) and the International Centre for Sports History and Culture (ICSHC), de Montfort University, in collaboration with the National Paralympic Heritage Trust (NPHT) are currently offering a PhD position on the photographic history of the Paralympic community in Britain.

Description of the project:

This project will examine the formation of the Paralympic community through the study of the NHPT photographic collections. This archive follows a community-centred approach. It reflects the daily life of disabled athletes, and not just the elite or mega-events, and aims to bring the photographs back to their regional communities through itinerant exhibitions, currently planned for Norfolk, Bradford, Manchester, Bath and London. By closely analysing the growing NHPT photographic collection, the student will identify how athletes, coaches, medical staff and families have used photography to define themselves as a ‘community’ and how they have used sport to frame and represent their disabilities. Understanding how the Paralympic community has appropriated medical images or the stories that Paralympians tell when seeing the NHPT photographs will challenge public perceptions about individuals with disabilities and will present new critical insights into the formation of sports communities, representations and disability.

The proposed CDA project will 1) determine the key role photographic representations have played in building the Paralympic community; 2) demonstrate the public impact and academic value of incorporating photographic collections into sport heritage projects and activities; 3) will consolidate the reputation of DMU as a leading institution in interdisciplinary arts and humanities research based on knowledge co-production with heritage institutions such as NHPT at regional and national levels.

The outcomes of this project will be the result of the co-creation of knowledge between the student, the academics at DMU and the NPHT. The PhD student will be key to maintain and enhance the NPHT Paralympic heritage by means of 1) contextualising the existing photographic collection, 2) compiling oral histories related to the Paralympic movement in the Midlands and 3) contributing to a Midlands version of the itinerant NPHT exhibition, which will take place in 2024. Unlike other NPHT exhibitions, the Midlands exhibit will be specifically designed for the region and will be the product of the M4C CDA, as the NPHT is not currently planning to tour the exhibition anywhere in the Midlands.

You can find more information about the project here:

Funding is available for 4 years (or 8 for part-time study), which includes fees for both UK and EU applicants and maintenance grant for UK applicants (where institutional funds allow, M4C may be able to offer a maintenance grant to EU applicants), plus opportunities for additional funding. You can find more information through the Midlands 4 cities portal:

To apply, please consult the Midlands 4 Cities portal, where you can find all the information about the application process:

Supervisors: Dr Beatriz Pichel (PHRC), Heather L Dichter (ICSHC) and Vicky Hope Walker (NPHT)

Deadline: 14 January 2020

For more information about the project, please contact Dr Beatriz Pichel:

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