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The secret lives of digital museum resources and collections

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, March 11, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester as part of the Midlands Graduate School is now inviting applications for an ESRC Doctoral Studentship in association with our collaborator, the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access (SCLDA), to commence in October 2019.

The project aims to contribute to debates on the educational potential of digital heritage collections by exploring the ways in which the SCLDA’s Learning Lab platform is used by educators to integrate digital content from Smithsonian museums, libraries, archives and research institutions into their curricula. Digital heritage collections such as this represent primarily curatorial knowledge that is not always readily usable as educational content, but requires interpretation and rendering to the target educational context(s) and audience(s). By studying how teachers use the Learning Lab in their educational practice, the project will explore the acts of interpretation and instructional rendering that are part of such educational practice.

The project aims to generate insights into the impacts the Learning Lab is having on teaching practices, a deeper understanding of how to further support these practices, and to generate research instruments for continuing assessment of these impacts. The successful candidate will gain experience and skills in supporting users of digital heritage collections, networking and dissemination opportunities with Smithsonian museums throughout the US, and important experience in working with users towards implementing user-centred design practices in an existing robust museum software platform.

The project would fit candidates with a background and/or interests in digital learning and pedagogy, Open Educational Resources, and object- and collection-based museum learning. The award may be made as 1+3/+3.5/+3 dependent on prior qualifications and training.

More information about the SCLDA:

Full project details at

How to apply

To be considered for this PhD, please email the following to Christine Cheesman by the application deadline:
• Completed Collaborative Studentship application form at
• A CV
• A covering letter
• Two references

Project / Funding Enquiries

Informal enquiries about the research or the School of Museum Studies prior to application can be directed to Dr Giasemi Vavoula

Application enquiries to

Closing date for applications Monday 11th March 2019.

Funding Notes

The ESRC studentships cover fees and maintenance stipend and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Where necessary, the studentship will fund the completion of the one-year Masters in Social Science Research prior to the three-year PhD project.

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