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Women, Art and Patronage: The Delavals of Seaton Delaval Hall (Advert Reference: NBC020/WILLIAMS)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, January 13, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

AHRC-funded through the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Consortium

Seaton Delaval Hall is a National Trust property designed by Restoration playwright and architect Sir John Vanbrugh. Its main interpretation narrative concerns the eighteenth-century generation of the Delaval family, especially John Hussey and his brother Francis Blake, and their respective families. But little attention has been paid to the women of the family who shaped eighteenth-century culture and politics by patronising the arts and funding political propaganda for the press. This project will uncover the significance of the Delaval women at a time when the family seat, Seaton Delaval Hall, managed by project partner the National Trust, faces a major overhaul of its interpretation through a £7.8m conservation project.

In exploring how landed families creatively engaged with both art and literature in order to present themselves as having fashionable literary sensibilities, whilst documenting the representation of women’s histories in historic houses today, this project will help inform interpretation and conservation of the eighteenth century’s unique built heritage. It would particularly suit applicants interested in developing careers in heritage practice or those keen to develop public engagement and partnership working skills for an academic career. A placement of up to six months’ duration at the property will enable the student to put knowledge into practice and to see their research developing the interpretation of the building.

Expressions of interest should be received by the principal supervisor no later than January 6th 2020. Email Dr Helen Williams:

The deadline for applications through the Northumbria online portal is January 13th 2020. We expect to interview shortlisted candidates in February. The studentship will be awarded to the successful applicant subject to ratification by the Northern Bridge studentship committee.

More information about this studentship and about the application process including eligibility criteria, can be found at:

Please note: Applications that do not include the advert reference (e.g. NBC020/WILLIAMS) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

Each studentship consists of payment of tuition fees and a maintenance allowance at the UK Research Council's national rate (currently £15,009) funded for a nominal 42 months of study. The package also includes:
• access to a research support training fund to cover the costs of study abroad, conference attendance and fieldwork;
• financial support to participate in a Northern Bridge Conference, an annual Summer School and a Completion and Leadership Workshop, which focuses on career development and employability;
• financial support for placements

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