Soirées, science, arts and museums: region and metropolis, 1850–1924
Applicants are sought for a three year, fully funded studentship to work towards a PhD in the Ruskin Research Centre/Department of History at Lancaster University, and at The Royal Society on the AHRC project ‘Soirées, science, arts and museums: region and metropolis, 1850–1924’. This collaborative doctoral award (CDA) will be supervised jointly by Professor Sandra Kemp and Dr Christopher Donaldson of Lancaster University, and Keith Moore, Head of Library and Information Services at the Royal Society.
The studentship will commence in October 2019 and is open to UK nationals, or EU nationals who have resided in the UK for 3 years or more. The successful applicant will normally have achieved a Master’s degree (or equivalent) in history, history of science, art history, literature or museums studies, or will have done so by October 2019.
This CDA project will deliver the first systematic study of the role of soirées in London and Northern England. It will examine their purpose, content, audiences and impact - mapping their rise in the Victorian era, and their eclipse after the First World War. c.1850–1924. Soirées – sometimes also known as 'conversaziones' – were temporary events and exhibitions of arts and sciences held at learned societies, museums and civic institutions. There are a number of studies of both provincial and metropolitan soirées. Remarkably, however, no systematic research has been done on The Royal Society’s long-running exhibitions. Scholarship on soirées at provincial institutions, especially those in the urban and industrial centres of the North, is patchy as well. The project will investigate large quantities of under-utilized source materials, consider exhibited materials themselves, and analyse composition of soirée audiences and wider dissemination and reaction to exhibits in the Victorian illustrated press.
The successful applicant will be able to choose the final shape and focus of the project but the following questions relating to the history, reception and legacy of soirées may provide useful starting points:
1. What were the ambitions behind the evolving design of Victorian, Edwardian and post-First World War soirées at the Royal Society and other leading scholarly organisations?
2. How were the contents of such displays and demonstrations determined, and by whom, and what were the profile and responses of participants and audiences?
3. How far and in what ways did the soirées’ temporary displays at public and private events have a permanent legacy in national and international museum collections, and how was the interpretation and presentation of materials transformed in this process?
4. How did soirées in metropolitan contexts differ from those in key urban and industrial centres in the North?
Prospective candidates wishing to discuss an application informally should contact either:
How to apply
- Applicants must have applied for a PhD in the History Department through the University’s online application system: https://www.postgraduate-applications.lancaster.ac.uk/ by 17:00 GMT on Monday 18th February 2019.
The online application system requires applicants to nominate two referees and to upload the following materials: i. a research proposal (1,500 words max.); ii. a personal statement (500 words max.); iii. degree transcripts and certificates.
When completing the Additional Information portion of the online application, applicants must select ‘Fully Sponsored’ in the Source of Funding section and when prompted enter ‘AHRC CDA Studentship’.By the same deadline, 17:00 GMT on Monday 18th February 2019, applicants must also send copies of their research proposal and personal statement as a single pdf file to Prof Sandra Kemp (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please note that applicant interviews will be held on 28th February and 1st March.