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Addressing legacies of slavery and Empire in the art museum


School of Museum Studies

Dr Katy Bunning Monday, May 17, 2021 Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Leicester, and Tate are pleased to announce the availability of a fully-funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2021 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. In light of the ongoing under-representation of scholars and professionals from Black, Asian and non-white minority ethnic backgrounds within both UK museums and universities, this award is offered as a positive action studentship for a UK student. For more details on eligibility, please see below. 

This collaborative award aims to develop and test new approaches towards an ethical, inclusive and effective curation of Empire at Tate Britain. It will support a student to research the connections between Tate’s collection and the history of the British Empire and British involvement in the transatlantic Slave Trade, and to critically examine how these connections have been surfaced and interpreted over the last two decades within Tate’s curatorial practice and programming. The research will lead to new knowledge and approaches that can support Tate to enhance their work in this area.

This project will be jointly supervised by Dr. James Finch at Tate Britain, and Dr. Katy Bunning and Professor Richard Sandell at the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries, School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester. The student will be expected to spend time at both the School of Museum Studies and Tate, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of Collaborative Doctoral Partnership-funded students across the UK.

Recognising the challenges of researching racial histories and contemporary practices within a predominantly white space, the student and supervisors will work together to create appropriate and additional mentoring opportunities alongside the research.

 Project Overview

The research aims to contribute new knowledge to how an evolving contemporary British art museum has addressed institutional histories of racial slavery and Empire over recent decades. This work will be part of a range of activities to support Tate’s ambitions to develop new ethical and decolonial frameworks for interpreting colonial histories.

There are two overarching research questions:

·       How have Tate’s curatorial and related practices addressed institutional links with the transatlantic slave trade and the British Empire more broadly in recent years?

·       How can Tate ethically surface its connections with the British Empire in the contemporary moment?

The student will be expected to develop a particular focus for the project, which may be a collection, a sitter, a recent exhibition or programme, or another aspect of curatorial practice. The project may involve a range of approaches to research, including archival and collections research, exhibition analysis, and semi-structured interviews with Tate staff and other key informants. It may also involve action research methods to test new interpretative frameworks with Tate staff in practice.   

Eligibility

We firmly believe that colonial histories and institutional cultures need to be examined by students and staff from a range of backgrounds. However, in light of the ongoing under-representation of scholars and professionals from Black, Asian and non-white minority ethnic backgrounds within both UK museums and universities, the School of Museum Studies is seeking to create postgraduate and doctoral opportunities for individuals from under-represented minority ethnic backgrounds across a range of themes and topics. As part of this commitment, this CDP will be offered as a ring-fenced positive action studentship. In addition to meeting the AHRC’s eligibility requirements, applicants will need to declare that they are from a Black, Asian or non-white minority ethnic background.

The following eligibility criteria apply:

·       UK applicants only.

 

·       Applicants must meet the standard UK Government criteria for Home fees and have no restrictions on permanent residency. For further advice please contact ?subject=BAME%20GTA%202021 and include a copy of your current passport / immigration status. Further guidance can be found here -  https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/UKRI-030221-Guidance-International-Eligibility-Implementation-training-grant-holders-V2.pdf

 

·       The studentship is offered as a Positive Action studentship for researchers from an under-represented non-white ethnic minority background, as a route for addressing under-representation in doctoral training for the cultural and heritage sector. For this reason, we are collecting data on ethnicity as part of the studentship application process.* Candidates must self-identify as a Black, Asian or non-white minority ethnic (BAME) student:

o  Asian or Asian British – Bangladeshi Asian or Asian British – Indian

o  Asian or Asian British – Pakistani

o  Other Asian background

o  Black or Black British – African

o  Black or Black British – Caribbean

o  Other Black background

o  Chinese

o  Mixed

o  Other non-white ethnic background

*Ethnicity data will be processed in accordance with GDPR and the data will be kept only for the lifetime of the studentship. 

·       Applicants should have an undergraduate degree (2.1 minimum). Applicants should also have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Relevant disciplines are flexible, but might include: art history, history, curatorial and museum studies, cultural studies or related fields.

 

·       In recognition of the variety of different routes towards doctoral study, please note that applicants without a Masters’ degree are eligible to apply, provided they can demonstrate equivalent experience that has prepared them for doctoral research. Equivalent experience may include, but is not restricted to, research or curatorship within a professional setting.

 

·       Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the museum sector and potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.

 

·       As a collaborative award, students will be expected to spend time at both the University and at Tate Britain.

 

·       All applicants must meet UKRI Conditions of Research Council Training Grants. See: https://www.ukri.org/funding/information-for-award-holders/grant-terms-and-conditions/

 

The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Monday 17th May, 2021.

Interviews will take place by video call online with the supervisory team on 25th May, 2021.

Informal enquiries regarding the award can be addressed to Dr. Katy Bunning ().

Full details available here: https://le.ac.uk/-/media/uol/docs/research-centres/rcmg/addressing-legacies-cdp.docx


Funding Notes

The University of Leicester, and Tate are pleased to announce the availability of a fully-funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from October 2021 under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme. In light of the ongoing under-representation of scholars and professionals from Black, Asian and non-white minority ethnic backgrounds within both UK museums and universities, this award is offered as a positive action studentship for a UK student.

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