British photographic history

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PhD Studentship in Historic Photographic Collections / Maurice Broomfield archive

The University of Newcastle in partnership with the Victoria and Albert Museum if offering a doctoral project which will research new ways of curating and interpreting institutional historic photographic collections in the digital realm. The project aims to explore how digital and transmedial interpretation and contextualisation approaches can bring to life an institutional historic photographic collection; and provide an innovative platform for engagement with a variety of audiences.

Key areas of research include:

  • the investigation of reflexive interpretation strategies for historic photographic collections;
  • scholarly research on Maurice Broomfield’s photographic archive;
  • how a variety of audiences engage with institutional photographic collections (in analogue or digital form);
  • how historic photographic archives may become connected to other types of cultural content (including user-contributed) in the digital realm.

The Victoria and Albert Museum’s Broomfield archive provides an ideal locus for this research, containing around 30,000 negatives of various formats, contact prints, press cuttings, exhibition prints and works order ledgers, documenting a pivotal period in post-war British industry from the 1950s to 1970s. A life story interview with the photographer is also included in the collection.

The successful candidate will have a large degree of freedom in developing their project, but it is envisaged that this PhD will undertake theoretical and empirical action research with a variety of stakeholders to:

  1. explore novel approaches in interpreting institutional historic photographic collections with audiences in mind; and
  2. articulate how digital media platforms may shape practices around the interpretation of photographic collections and people’s engagement with them.

Student Development Funding (equivalent to an additional 6 months of funding) is available to cover further training and skills development opportunities that are agreed as part of the PhD programme.


Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

Name of supervisor(s)

Dr Areti GalaniDr Tom SchofieldProfessor Christopher Whitehead, Media, Culture, Heritage, Newcastle University

Mr Martin Barnes, Senior Curator of Photographs, Word and Image, Victoria and Albert Museum

Eligibility Criteria

The studentship is open to UK and EU applicants.

Applicants must have:

  • a first or upper second-class Honours degree
  • a Master’s degree in an appropriate discipline
  • meet our English language requirements if your first language is not English
  • alternative qualifications/experience will be considered if applicants can demonstrate relevant achievement.

Applicants with experience in working with cultural collections and/or designing and developing digital projects in the cultural sector are encouraged to apply.

For the AHRC’s eligibility criteria, please see:

How to apply

Please complete the University’s online postgraduate application form:

  • insert the programme code 8834F (full-time) or 8836P (part-time) in the Programme of Study section
  • select PhD Media, Culture and Heritage
  • select the Research Area Museum, Gallery and Heritage Studies
  • insert the studentship code SAC22 in the studentship/partnership reference field.

Your application must include:

  1. a copy of your CV (maximum 2 pages)
  2. a 750 word research proposal outlining the theoretical and methodological approach you propose to take if successful.


For further information please email Areti Galani.

See more and apply here:

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