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PhD Studentship – Collaborative Doctoral Award (AHRC Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership): Museum Exhibitions ‘In Flight’: Displaying and Conserving Aircraft as Suspended Objects

   School of Arts and Cultures

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  Dr Bruce Davenport  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

In aviation museums, aircraft are displayed suspended from the ceiling to emphasise their dynamic nature. Some displays are permanent or long-term and costs prohibit the aircraft from being lowered to the ground from inspection, but they still need to be cared for. This student will explore the history of these displays then develop and implement systems that can remotely monitor the structural health of the aircraft in-situ. The student will integrate the use of these technologies within the policies and practices of the museum. The studentship will provide the candidate with a unique skill set, allowing them to explore career opportunities in collections management and heritage engineering.

This Collaborative Doctoral Award is a collaboration between the Schools of Arts & Cultures and Engineering at Newcastle University and the RAF Museum. The student will be based in the School of Arts & Cultures.

More information about the Northern Bridge DTP, the Collaborative Doctoral Awards and full details of this PhD, are available here.

Start Date

September 2022

Award Duration

3.5 years (42 months)


Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) – Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership


  • Professor Andrew Newman (Newcastle University)
  • Professor Gui Yun Tian (Newcastle University)
  • Dr Bruce Davenport (Newcastle University)
  • Dr Harry Raffal (RAF Museum)

Eligibility Criteria


  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (min. 2:1 or international equivalent).
  • Master’s degree (MA, MSc or MEng) with distinction in a relevant subject (e.g., Museum Studies or Engineering).
  • Candidates with lower qualifications may be considered if they can demonstrate that relevant professional practice or work experience has equipped them with equivalent academic and research skills.


  • Experience or knowledge to meet the multi-disciplinary nature of the project, including qualitative research methods and quantitative data analysis.
  • Capable of effective team-work.
  • Able to explain complex academic ideas to non-specialist audiences.


  • Willing to work and negotiate with groups of professionals.
  • Has an interest in pursuing career (academic or professional) in Heritage or Engineering.

How To Apply

Expressions of Interest must include:

  • Letter of application detailing applicant’s interest in the PhD and how they meet the Eligibility Criteria (2 sides of A4 maximum).
  • Current CV (2 sides of A4; minimum 11-point font size).
  • Transcript of previous qualifications

Your complete Expression of Interest must be sent to [Email Address Removed] as a single PDF or MS Word document by midnight on 14 February 2022. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed by videoconference or in person.

The successful candidate will also need to apply via the University's on-line application portal. Application instructions will be provided at a later date.

Funding Notes

Tuition fees (at Home/UK rate) and an annual stipend. (Indicative value: £15,609 in 2021/22 plus £550 per annum to help with collaboration costs). Additional support from the RAF Museum: £1000 per annum plus £750 (total) for travel and accommodation support.
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