Details of two AHRC studentships: “The Art of Earth-Building” and “Engineering ‘Modern’ Scotland”

We have had two AHRC studentships circulated in the past week. Details for each can be found below.


Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship (3.5 yrs full-time), which will examine the place of relief models in modern geography. The studentship is in collaboration with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and makes use of the Society’s collections. The award is made by the ‘Science Museums & Archives Consortium’, which is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

Due to begin in October 2017, the project will be supervised by Professor Hayden Lorimer and Dr Simon Naylor (University of Glasgow) and Dr Catherine Souch (RGS-IBG).

The Studentship

The studentship will develop a historical geography of the relief model as a key component of modern geographical research and teaching, making use of a unique set of solid plasterwork models held in the RGS collections, as well as establishing the extent and health of a dispersed “archive” of surviving relief models in British university geography departments and schools today. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the relief model developed alongside a repertoire of techniques for diagrammatic, photographic and cartographic reproduction. The project will examine relief models as an educational and instructional aid, on display in universities and school classrooms, used variously to: illustrate the emergence (and denudation) of surface landforms; explain the nature of geophysical, hydrological, fluvial and coastal processes; reveal subsurface geological structures; and, show differing kinds of human response to environmental setting. Through a combination of archival research, biographical inquiries and material culture studies, the project will place geographical relief models, and the unheralded work of the relief modeler and commercial supplier, amid wider cultures of popular science and pedagogy. During the course of the studentship, there will be opportunities within the public programmes of the RGS-IBG to present and display emerging research to public audiences.

For a full project description, see: 

How to Apply

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in Geography, History, History of Science, or other relevant discipline, and, a Masters-level degree that satisfies AHRC eligibility requirements for advanced research training; or equivalent professional/occupational experience. Preference may be given to candidates with prior experience of working with museum collections and material culture, though this is not an essential for application.

Applicants should submit:

(i) a two-page curriculum vitae, including contact details of one academic referee

(ii) a sample of academic writing (approx. 2000-3000 words in length)

(iii) a 1-2 page letter outlining your suitability for the studentship to:

Professor Hayden Lorimer,

School of Geographical and Earth Sciences,

University of Glasgow,

Glasgow G12 8QQ


Closing Date: Monday 20th March 2017.

Interviews are scheduled to take place at the University of Glasgow on Tuesday 18th April 2017.

For further information concerning the project, please contact:

Hayden Lorimer (

For further information about RGS-IBG collaborative doctoral research go to

For further information about PhD research in Geographical and Earth Sciences at University of Glasgow go to:




Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD: Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded PhD studentship for research on the Stevenson maps and plans and Scotland’s built infrastructure, c.1800-c.1900. The award, which is made by the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium as part of the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Programme, will be managed jointly by the University of Edinburgh (Institute of Geography) and the National Library of Scotland, The studentship, which is full-time and funded for 3.5 years, will begin in October 2017 and will be jointly supervised by Christopher Fleet and Alison Metcalfe (National Library of Scotland) and Professor Charles W. J. Withers (University of Edinburgh). Part-time applications are welcome.

The Studentship: The PhD project centres on the maps and plans within the business archive of the Stevenson civil engineering firm. Robert Stevenson and descendants played a significant role in a range of civil engineering projects across Scotland. The archive reflects that activity. The archive includes in excess of 3,000 maps and plans, supported by correspondence, reports, accounts and other business records, and reflects the broad range of civil engineering endeavours with which the firm was involved (sea-works, harbours, canals, river-courses, railways, and, importantly, lighthouses). The maps and plans of this built infrastructure have received almost no scholarly attention. They together provide a rich opportunity for understanding the geography and history of a fast modernising nation – Scotland in the nineteenth century. During the studentship, there will be opportunities within the NLS to enhance the Library’s collections and digital strategy and to work with the NLS public programmes to engage public audiences.

How to Apply: Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree and a relevant Masters in geography, or history (economic and social), or politics. You will have some experience of relevant research methods (NB: research training is a required element in each year of the studentship). For details on eligibility criteria, including UK residency, applicants should check the AHRC website.

Applicants should submit a summary curriculum vitae (max 2 pages), an example of recent academic writing (e.g., MSc chapter or UG Dissertation) and a short statement (1 page) outlining your qualification for the studentship, and the names and contact details of two academic referees to: Professor Charles W. J. Withers, Institute of Geography, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh, Drummond Street, Edinburgh EH8 9XP ( by Friday 7 April 2017. Interviews will be held on Wednesday 3 May 2017. For further information, contact Professor Charles W. J. Withers, Chris Fleet ( or Alison Metcalfe (


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