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  Prof Hayden Lorimer, Dr Rachel Hunt, Mr Alistair Bell, Mr Charles McCann  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Interviews scheduled to take place: Wednesday 9th June 2021

The University of Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland and BBC Scotland are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship from 1st October 2021 under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.

The studentship project will examine the historical role that schools radio broadcasting in Scotland played in the formulation of ideas of national identity, citizenship, internationalism and environmentalism for a young listening audience.   

This project will be jointly supervised by Professor Hayden Lorimer, Dr Rachel Hunt (University of Edinburgh), Alistair Bell (National Library of Scotland) and Charlie McCann (BBC Scotland), and the appointed student will be expected to spend time at University of Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland and BBC Scotland, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of AHRC funded students in the Scottish Cultural Heritage Consortium, and other CDP partnerships across the UK. The studentship project can be undertaken either full-time or part-time.

Project Overview

With the centenary of broadcasting in Scotland approaching in 2023, a unique opportunity exists for National Library of Scotland-led research inquiries into one highly influential area of national broadcasting activity: radio for schools. Dedicated radio programming for Scottish schools was conceived by the BBC in 1926, first broadcast in 1928, and continued to be a regular scheduling feature into the 1990s. Listening to radio programmes was an activity steadily integrated into the learning experiences of generations of Scottish schoolchildren, and for many proved an enjoyable and memorable part of their education. For school-teachers, BBC radio broadcasts, along with supporting print pamphlets and preparatory notes, were a valued resource that came to be depended upon. For much of the twentieth-century, at set times of the day or week, the wireless radio receiver became the defining feature of the school classroom, emitting voices, sounds, language and songs that transported young listeners across space and time. Radio invited children to ‘think geographically’ about, variously: past landscapes, local studies, the ages of discovery and empire, global trade, industrialisation, urbanisation, resource use, and nature conservation. All as a means to make sense of Scotland’s place in the world. Through a combination of archival inquiries and oral histories, this studentship research project will examine the role that schools radio broadcasting played in the formulation of ideas of national identity, citizenship, internationalism and environmentalism for a young listening audience.   

Research questions include:

1. With the popularisation of radio, how was “listening-as-learning” introduced as a new educational medium and teaching technique, both in the broadcasting studio and the school classroom?

2. Over time, how did the content of BBC schools radio broadcasting and publishing represent versions of Scotland’s past, present, places, politics and processes of social change?

3. In what ways can the intangible heritage of BBC schools radio broadcasting be shared as a cultural and educational asset connecting communities and generations in today’s digitally-mediated world?

Details of Award

CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (3.75 years) or part-time equivalent. The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees and a stipend at UKRI level (£15,609 for 2021/22). If an international student is appointed the University of Edinburgh will cover the different between Home and Overseas fees. The student is eligible to receive additional travel and related expenses grant during the course of the project courtesy of National Library of Scotland worth up to £1000 per year. The project can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.

The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in CDP Cohort Development events.


  •  Applications are welcome from both Home and International applicants.
  •  We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area. 
  •  Applicants should ideally have or expect to be awarded a relevant Masters-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Suitable disciplines are flexible, but might include, human geography, cultural history, heritage studies, museum studies, education, environmental humanities, digital humanities.
  • Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the cultural heritage 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 of Edinburgh, and the partner organisations, the National Library of Scotland and BBC Scotland.
  • All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding. See:

Application process:

STEP 1: Submit an application for our PhD Human Geography and Environmental Sciences at Select October 2021 as your start date. You will need to upload degree certificates and transcripts from your previous studies and give the contact details of two referees. In the 'Research proposal' upload section, please upload your CV - you do not need to upload a research proposal.

STEP 2: Send a covering letter (describing i. how your research experience equips you for success carrying out the project, ii. your motivation for pursuing doctoral studies through a project with a collaborative dimension, and iii. why Edinburgh is your preferred institution and place of study) and a sample of writing (max. 2000 words. This can be an excerpt from a dissertation, essay or project assignment) to [Email Address Removed].


Funding Notes

Arts and Humanities Research Council Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) PhD Studentship