2 AHRC collaborative PhD awards: KCL and Museum of English Rural Life

Angela Cassidy's picture

The Department of History at King’s College London, in collaboration with the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) at the University of Reading, is pleased to offer two AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral awards which are planned to synergise with a Heritage Lottery-Funded redevelopment of MERL. Students will pursue doctoral research in history while gaining first-hand experience of work within a museum setting. They will draw upon MERL's collections, and use their findings to enhance its public engagement programmes. Projects will commence on September 2015, on the theme of:


'Rethinking technical change in modern British agriculture, c1920-70'

Museums often portray technical change as a linear, progressive development, in which new technologies are adopted and old ones abandoned, but historical research suggests this is simplistic. For example, innovation could occur by using old technologies in new ways, or new technologies in ways unintended by the manufacturer. Focusing primarily on the users of technologies (farmers and their workers), students will build on these observations, to develop new social historical perspectives on technical change in British agriculture.


Studentship A will focus on the history of draft power on farms, c1920-70, ranging across horse power, steam power and the internal combustion engine.


Studentship B will explore farmers’ responses to livestock disease, c1920-70, ranging across pharmaceutical interventions, home-made or patent remedies, and changes in farming methods.


Supervisors are: Dr Abigail Woods (Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Department of History, King’s College London) and Dr Ollie Douglas (Museum of English Rural Life.)


Studentships are open to residents of the European Union and United Kingdom. They cover tuition fees and (for UK students that satisfy residency requirements) an annual stipend of c£16,000 for three years. For full details and instructions on how to apply, see http://www.kcl.ac.uk/graduate/funding/database/index.php?action=view&id=613

Enquiries should be addressed to Dr Abigail Woods: abigail.woods@kcl.ac.uk