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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership with Science Museums and Archives Consortium: ‘Eye appeal is buy appeal’: The design, mediation and consumption of Kenwood’s kitchen appliances, 1947-2000


Project Description

The University of Portsmouth and Science Museum London (SML) are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded doctoral grant from October 2020. This studentship is funded for 3 years and 9 months (45 months) full time or part-time equivalent. This project will critically explore the design, mediation and consumption of Kenwood Manufacturing Company Ltd’s products. The student will focus on a yet unspecified period between its founding in 1947 to the present. There will be a particular emphasis on demonstrations in shops, department stores, trade and public exhibitions, country and agricultural shows as a selling technique, a hitherto neglected area of study. These mediation strategies will be compared and contrasted with the actual consumer experience of Kenwood products through oral and written testimonies. This will be set within the broader context of domestic appliance consumption and include a critical investigation of contemporary gendered and class identities of technologies and consumers.


This doctoral studentship is funded through the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) scheme (https://www.ahrc-cdp.org/cdp-consortium/). Collaboration between a Higher Education Institution and a museum, library, archive, or heritage organisation is the essential feature of these doctoral training grants. The doctoral studentship is fully funded (living stipend and tuition fees) at UKRI rates and is subject to standard AHRC eligibility, rules, and guidance for the research students whom they fund and support. AHRC’s minimum stipend rate and indicative fees rate for 2020/21 are detailed on the UKRI website (https://www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training/). This studentship also offers generous research expenses (including support for travel between UoP and SML), specialist training, and access to shared working space at both institutions.

CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (or part-time equivalent). The studentship has the possibility of being extended for an additional 3 months to provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding may be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities. The award holder will be appropriately embedded for a period on this basis within SML.

This project will be supervised by Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan (Professor of Design History and Theory, UoP), Dr Laurel Forster (Reader in Cultural History, UoP), Dr Helen Peavitt (Curator of Consumer and Environmental Technology, SML) and Nick Wyatt (Head of Libraries and Archives, SML). The student will be expected to spend time at both UoP and SML, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

Candidates with interests in Design History, History of Technology, Social, Cultural, Public and Women’s History, Historical and Cultural Geography, Cultural and Media Studies, Anthropology will be especially welcome, as well as those with experience of working with museums and archive collections and/or oral history. Potential candidates are encouraged to contact Professor Deborah Sugg Ryan () before making an application.

The successful candidate will commence their PhD in October 2020. They will hold their doctoral training grant in School of Art, Design and Performance at the University of Portsmouth, and will work in partnership with the Science Museum London.


A full description of the project objectives and application process is available at http://www.port.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-research/research-degrees/phd/explore-our-projects/eye-appeal-is-buy-appeal

Funding Notes

The successful candidate will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees and up to four years of maintenance stipend at the AHRC UK/EU rate for collaborative awards in (£16,885 for 2020/2021 per annum). The award is available full-time or on a part-time basis at 50% time.

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