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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership PhD in Archaeology. Shifting Sands: Kentish coastal heritage and communities in transition

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, April 15, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project is jointly supervised by Dr Ellie Williams and Professor Peter Vujakovic at CCCU, and Lara Band and Helen Johnston at MOLA. The student will be expected to spend time at both CCCU and MOLA, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

Start date: October 1st 2020

This project will evaluate the impact of archaeology/heritage and citizen science initiatives on individuals and local communities across Kent’s east coast, with the aim of maximising benefit and sustainability of future projects.

Spanning nearly a decade, a number of community initiatives have been/are being delivered across East Kent, partly in response to research trends and funding priorities directed towards advancing our understanding of the societal and economic benefits of archaeology and heritage. This region has a rich history and heritage but its coastal towns suffer some of the highest levels of deprivation in South-East England; urban and economic degeneration (and rapid regeneration) have had a profound influence on its communities. In this context, a coordinated, objective review into the impact of these various projects - at both an individual initiative and regional scale - needs undertaking. In short, this PhD will question, what is the value of these projects to coastal communities in transition, and how can we ensure legacy?

MOLA’s East Kent Coast Discovery Programme, Canterbury Christ Church University, and project partners TimescapesKent and Canterbury Archaeological Trust have completed, on-going, and planned community heritage/archaeology and citizen science initiatives that provide rich case studies for evaluation across diverse coastal settlements. Among others these include the contemporary Margate Graffiti and Ramsgate Hoverport initiatives, the Pegwell Bay and Dover Defences projects, The Forgotten Frontline in Whitstable and Herne Bay, and A Town Unearthed and Finding Eanswythe in Folkestone. The supervisory team will support you in identifying the study areas and initiatives to work with, and you will have considerable scope to mould the direction of the project through active and ongoing engagement with our extensive and growing network of participants from wide-ranging backgrounds and age groups, partners including local communitybased charities, and archaeology/heritage organisations and authorities across Kent.

This research aims to:

- Evaluate the impact of the selected archaeology/heritage and citizen science initiatives on individuals, groups, and communities within these coastal settlements, and how it varies depending on the participants, stakeholders, type of initiative, and location.

- Evaluate the wider and longer-term impacts through the development and application of an evaluation toolkit that is adaptable to localised contexts, and that will help inform strategies and best practice guidelines for maximising benefit, sustainability, and legacy of future projects in East Kent, and other coastal and inland urban settings.

The project will provide you with opportunities to develop your knowledge, skillset, and networks through collaboration with established partnerships and industry/work placements. The research will make important contributions to MOLA’s citizen science initiatives, and enhance complementary research by MOLA and CCCU into the impact of archaeology on contemporary society.

Entry requirements:

Students with, or expecting to gain, at least an Upper Second Class Honours degree, or equivalent, are invited to apply. The interdisciplinary nature of this research project means that we welcome applications from students with backgrounds in any relevant subject that provides the necessary skills, knowledge and experience for the project, including archaeology, heritage, anthropology and history. We endeavour to be inclusive and flexible regarding applicants with caring obligations, disabilities and other considerations.


Candidates must have a relevant connection with the UK to qualify for AHRC awards. Non-EU candidates who have not been resident in the UK for the last 3 years, or who were resident for the purposes of education, are not eligible. EU candidates are eligible for full awards if they have been resident in the UK, for education or other purposes, for at least 3 years prior to the start of their programme. EU candidates who have not resided in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of their programme will normally be eligible for a fees-only award.

How to Apply:

Application is by CV, personal statement, and online application form, and should be made through Canterbury Christ Church University’s online application system:

Note: The personal statement is included in the online form; you do not need to attach a separate document. Please also submit two references with the application.

Further enquiries:

For other questions or queries please do not hesitate to contact Dr Ellie Williams ()

Funding Notes

CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (or part-time equivalent). The studentship can be extended for an additional 3 months for professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months funding may be used to pay costs incurred in undertaking professional development opportunities. The studentship covers (i) a tax-free annual stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£15,285 for 2020-2021), (ii) an allowance of £1000/year to enable collaboration with the partner organisation (as they are based in London), (iii) an additional allowance of £1000/year for expenses incurred in undertaking research, and (iv) tuition fees at the UK/EU rate.

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