18 February 2020

AHRC PhD studentship: Biocultural knowledge, power and poetics in South American featherwork

Birkbeck, University of London, and the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative Doctoral Training grant from October 2020 to undertake research on South American objects made by Indigenous peoples out of feathers, of with feathers attached, in the Pitt River Museum’s collections. 

Exploring South American featherwork in the PRM collections, this interdisciplinary, practice-based doctoral project will seek to develop ways of telling histories of specific objects that shed light not only on the historical processes of collection in the field and the ‘lives’ of the objects in the museum, but also on contemporary debates on Indigenous cultural identity, sovereignty and heritage rights, as well as the dynamic relationships among Indigenous peoples, birds, and environments. The project aims to provide understanding of these feathered objects as historical biocultural objects, which afford ways of telling the histories in which biodiversity emerges.

This project will be jointly supervised by Professor Luciana Martins, Birkbeck and Dr Laura Van Broekhoven, Oxfordand the student will be expected to spend time at both Birkbeck and the Pitt Rivers Museum, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK. 

We are looking for an excellent, highly promising and appropriately qualified student who will embrace the opportunity to bring together academic research in museum studies with experience and training in a leading British museum.

We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP doctoral training grant and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply for our doctoral training grants.

In general, full doctoral training grants are available to students who are settled in the UK and have been ordinarily resident for a period of at least three years before the start of postgraduate studies. Fees-only awards are generally available to EU nationals resident in the EEA. International applicants are normally not eligible to apply for this doctoral training grant.

Hours: The doctoral training grant is available on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Closes: Friday 13 March 2020

Interviews will be held at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, on 27 March 2020.

Further information

For further details on the studentship and how to apply please follow the link below.

17 February 2020

Event: Pick and Mix 2: This Time It’s Personal

We're delighted to share information about this event organised by  Museums and Communities East Network. It is an opportunity to reflect on your personal practices and how we can begin to decolonise our work. Through a better understanding of our own ways of working and the small changes we personally make, we can start to make our organisations more open and welcoming.
Kicking-off with a facilitated exploration of the Horniman’s recently reopened World Gallery, we will meet some of their team and share in their learning (i.e. steal their good ideas). 

Subhadra Das will lead an afternoon workshop, exploring ideas arising from the morning’s session.
You will complete the day with a handful of actions to start making changes in your organisation.
After the workshop, the conversation will continue at the Merchant of Bishop’s Gate (located within Liverpool Street Station). This event will provide an informal networking opportunity, and a chance to discuss the day’s ideas with a wider group of people. All welcome to the pub – no booking required!

Post-workshop chat commencing at 5pm.
Bursaries available – contact Eleanor (Eleanor.root@colchester.gov.uk) to chat about the support you need to come along!


AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award: Rupununi re-collections: historical photographs, Indigenous knowledge and heritage in Guyana

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on historical photographs, Indigenous knowledge and heritage in Guyana at Royal Holloway University of London, in partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and Kew Gardens. This award is made by the Science Museums & Archives Consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme. The project, due to begin in September 2020, will be supervised by Prof Jay Mistry and Prof Felix Driver at Royal Holloway and Dr Catherine Souch at the RGS-IBG, with further support from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

This project aims to reconnect historical photographs documenting Indigenous peoples and practices to contemporary initiatives concerning Indigenous knowledge and heritage development. Working in the Rupununi region of Guyana, the project will explore the use of significant photographic archives as a resource to enrich the understanding of Indigenous knowledge and practices, Indigenous heritage, identity and rights in contemporary Guyana. It will link work on Indigenous knowledge and memory with collections-based research, using methods of visual elicitation and digital repatriation in collaboration with the relevant Indigenous communities. The project combines (a) archival research in UK collections with (b) field-based photo-elicitation in the Rupununi. A participatory action research framework will allow research questions to be refined and addressed with participants in an iterative way to produce tangible benefits. The student will be encouraged to use participatory video as a way of creating new interpretative narratives. The possibility of a small-scale exhibition will also be considered in order to engage with wider audiences in Guyana.

A full project description is available here

Further information on eligibility, funds and how to apply is available here 

The application deadline is 31 March 2020

Interviews will be held at the RGS-IBG, provisionally on 16 April 2020.

Further Information

Details of the project and how to apply:

PhD research in Geography at Royal Holloway:

RGS-IBG collaborative doctoral research:

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships:

10 February 2020

Jobs: Collections Assistants at MAA, University of Cambridge

The Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology (MAA) is hiring nine full-time Collections Assistants for an ambitious and complex project to relocate all collections in offsite storage to a new facility in central Cambridge.

The University of Cambridge is supporting the relocation of MAA's off-site collections stores to a former Cold War bunker; with refurbishment works to be complete by the end of 2020. Over 5 years the Project Team - a Move Manager, Collections Team Coordinator and Collections Assistants - will inventory, hazard check, and make digital images of approximately 250,000 archaeological and ethnographic artefacts; pack appropriately for removal and storage; and ensure their safe transport and rehousing in the new store. Our goal is to ensure that the collections are both appropriately stored and made physically and intellectually accessible: to researchers, students, stakeholders and audiences in Cambridge and worldwide, through visits to the new store and online through MAA's catalogue.

This will be a really intensive project with challenging objectives, and team cohesion in a respectful working environment is a priority. MAA and the University of Cambridge Museums are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion within our institutions and across the sector, and we particularly welcome applications from black and minority ethnic candidates as they are under-represented within the Museum and the University. We welcome applications from individuals who wish to be considered for part-time working or other flexible working arrangements.

The closing date for applications is Monday 2 March 2020 with interviews expected to take place on 13 and 17 March. It is hoped that the successful candidate will take up the appointment on 20 April 2020.

6 February 2020

From De-Colonial to Anti-Colonial: What’s Next for Museum Interpretation? conference 31 March 2020

Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, Tuesday 31 March 2020

Conference programmed by Sonya Dyer in collaboration with the Understanding British Portraits network

What do we mean when we talk about decolonisation? Why is it necessary? What specific challenges does portraiture as a genre present? What strategies can museums and galleries put in place to support the process of decolonisation? What is the difference between being de-colonial and anti-colonial?
Dealing with the impact of Britain’s colonial history within the cultural sector is a process – an on-going series of actions and activities that aim to change the way we interpret our complex and contentious history through portraiture. By sharing ideas, strategies and activism, delegates are invited to take part in a day of conversation aimed at inspiring and empowering them to action within their institutions.

More details will be going up on the Barber Institute website soon. 

⇒ Opportunity for film maker – deadline Monday 17 February 2020

The Understanding British Portraits professional network wishes to appoint a film maker for this conference which forms part of the UBP network’s events programme for museum and gallery professionals and researchers in the UK. This is an opportunity to contribute to the planning and delivery of a legacy film which will encapsulate some of the messages and debate at the event, and offer a relevant resource for museum professionals engaging with the process of collection and institutional decolonisation. The role would suit a freelancer with some knowledge of the current conversations around decolonisation in the museum/arts/heritage sectors. Formal study or qualification in this field is not necessary, and we welcome applications from film makers with empathy for the subject matter, who will bring enthusiasm and creativity to the project.

Full details and job description can be found on the Barber Institute website. 

Barkcloth Basics: Interpreting and Understanding Pacific Barkcloth Workshop

  Venues & Dates:        Horniman Museum and Gardens, London, Friday 3 April 2020
Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, Wednesday 8 April 2020
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, Tuesday 14 April 2020
The Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton, Friday 17 April 2020
National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Friday 24 April 2020

Time:                                     10h00 – 16h30

Places available:               10 per venue

The University of Glasgow’s AHRC-funded research project SituatingPacific Barkcloth in Time and Place has received further funding to maximise impact and engagement and is delighted to announce an exciting 1-day workshop, to be held at 5 regional host venues, in April 2020.
Samoan Barkcloth Workshop

Led by the host venue, the project team and Reggie Meredith and Uilisone Fitiao, barkcloth makers and scholars from American Samoa, the workshop is aimed at non-specialist curators and museum staff from local and regional museums and historic houses. Participants will explore through talks, demonstrations and practical sessions:

·         Barkcloth significance, use and history
·         Barkcloth materials, manufacture and decoration
·         Barkcloth storage and conservation
·         Understanding and working with your own barkcloth collections

Each host venue’s barkcloth collection will act as a valuable study resource during discussions, while examples of modern raw plant materials, tools and barkcloth will be available for participants to interact and engage with. Participants are expected to bring images and provenance information of their museum’s barkcloth pieces for analysis and discussion. Resources will be provided to help in the further interpretation and understanding of barkcloth, allowing museums to make it more accessible and host innovative, interactive and informative opportunities for their own visitors. 

Barkcloth Basics

A public 1-day event follows each museum staff workshop; for more information, please see the website of each regional host. All participants are welcome to attend the public events.

Each 1-day workshop includes catering for all participants. Travel/accommodation funding will be taken under consideration if requested. This will be decided upon the discretion of the workshop organisers. Booking is essential; select venues may have the capacity to host more than 10 places.

To apply for a place,* please fill in the form and send to arts-admin-barkcloth@glasgow.ac.uk by 17.00 on Friday 20 March 2020.

*If applying to attend a workshop in a region other than your own, please explain why on the form. First priority will be given to participants located within each region.