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AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards

Picture Library » Image: H.G. Ponting lecturing, reference S0016042RGS-IBG and the Royal Society have been awarded an AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP), which will support three doctoral studentships each year for three years from 2013. 

Academics from universities with potential projects, or with an interest in discussing opportunities, please contact Dr Catherine Souch at RGS-IBG or Keith Moore at the Royal Society.

For 2014 we are delighted to announce the following four projects have been selected:

  • 'Picturing Mato Grosso, 1967-69: Expeditionary Science and Salvage Fieldwork'
    Dr Luciana Martins (Birkbeck, University of London) - details on how to apply (PDF)
  • 'Geography in Dialogue: Print Culture at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), c. 1830–c. 2000' - details on how to apply
    Dr Innes M. Keighren and Professor Klaus Dodds (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • 'Family history, place and diaspora'
    Professor Alison Blunt and Professor Cathy McIlwaine (Queen Mary, University of London) - details on how to apply (PDF)
  • 'Scientific Instruments and Expeditionary Science in the Nineteenth Century: Robert Were Fox’s Dip Circle'
    Dr Simon Naylor and Dr Hayden Lorimer (University of Glasgow) - details on how to apply

View details of AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards being offered by other CDPs.

The 2015 call for proposals will open in the autumn.

Current AHRC supported Collaborative Doctoral Award (CDA) studentships at the RGS-IBG

‘Weather imaginaries: British exploration, climate change and the visual culture of the Cryosphere’

  • RGS-IBG - Jean de Pomereu (September 2009 start; University of Exeter: PI Dr Simon Naylor)
  • Public perceptions of climate change are strongly configured around extreme weather events often located in remote polar or mountainous regions. Historically expeditions to these sites brought back increasing amounts of scientific information and laid the groundwork for the science of glaciology and broader understandings of the global climate system. While the history of nineteenth and twentieth century British exploration is well documented, the representation of cold spaces has never been considered in terms of the climate knowledge that was generated. This is an in-depth study of the historic visual geographies of the cryosphere as recorded by British exploration.

‘Terra Incognita: women in the expedition archives, 1913-1986’

  • RGS-IBG - Sarah Evans (September 2010 start; University of the West of England: PI Dr Avril Maddrell)
  • An investigation of women's geographical expeditionary work 1913-1986 focusing on the unique expedition archive of RGS-IBG. The work aims to contribute to debates about women's historical contribution to geographical knowledge and the experience of fieldwork; to ongoing debates about the importance of expeditions to contemporary knowledge; and to consider why expeditions are still represented as masculine endeavours in public debate.

‘Geographical projections: lantern slides, science and popular geography, 1860-1960’

  • RGS-IBG - Emily Hayes (September 2011 start; University of Exeter: PI Dr James Ryan) .
  • Little scholarly attention has been directed to the widespread use of glass lantern slides, which from the 1860s onwards became hugely popular forms of entertainment and education, catering to an increasing hunger for visual imagery (particularly photographs) in the age of empire, mass communication, science and modernity. This project focuses on the RGS-IBG collection of lantern slides (approximately 20,000) to examine how lantern slides were used to make and communicate geographical knowledge to different audiences; to locate lantern slides within wider settings of science, commerce and entertainment; to examine how lantern slides were actually used as objects as well as how they were viewed as projected images.

‘Armchair geography: speculation, synthesis and the British culture of exploration, c.1860-1880’.

  • RGS-IBG - Natalie Cox (September 2012 start; University of Warwick: PI Dr David Lambert)
  • Armchair geographers, an under-appreciated group of British and Irish authors and critics, spoke, wrote, theorised and produced maps about the non-European world based not on their own observations, but using a combination of the collation, interpretation and synthesis of existing sources. Active in contemporary geographical controversies centred on RGS-IBG but with wider public resonance, they often criticised – sometimes quite rightly – the claims of contemporary explorers such as David Livingstone, Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke. Victorian armchair geography has continuing resonance in present-day debates about field science, expeditionary activity and academic knowledge (such as the notion that expeditionary research in the ‘field’ is superior to that stemming from the ‘ivory tower’).

'Expeditionary Film, Geographical Science and Media Culture'

  • Jan Faull (September 2013 start; Royal Holloway, University of London: PI Professor Felix Driver)
  • The project will investigate the production, distribution and presentation of films made on successive Everest expeditions between 1922 and 1953. Drawing on unique archival film collections held by the British Film Institute, the Everest expedition archives and related collections such as The Times archives, the research will consider the logistical and technical requirements of expeditionary film, including the role of Sherpa porters in film-making; the role of media sponsorship in shaping the presentation of expedition work; and how film was shown, and to what audiences, within the context of popular and scientific understandings of mountaineering in the period. The research will also consider the wider significance and potential uses of the Everest film archive. This involves consideration of the role of key organizations, including RGS-IBG and the BFI, in developing a community of interest around geographical film in the first half of the twentieth century.

'Instruments of Exploration: Technologies of Geographical Enquiry, c. 1860-c. 1939'

  • Jane Wess (September 2013 start; University of Edinburgh: PI Professor Charles Withers)
  • The project will focus on instruments of geographical exploration and their associated print and manuscript histories. The RGS-IBG holds a uniquely important set of instruments of geographical exploration. The project aims in general: to examine the RGS-IBG instrument collection in relation to contemporary debates about method, technology, credibility, and trust in geography, exploration, and the field-based empirical sciences; to extend existing collaborative work within the RGS-IBG over the nature and importance of its historical holdings; to address questions about the authority of science, the role of instruments and instrumentation in developing truth claims, and establishing authority through standards and practices of authoritative measurement.

Completed projects

  • An earlier RGS-IBG CDA, Lowri Jones (Royal Holloway, University of London) was started in 2006 and completed in 2010 (within the specified four years). Her dissertation served as the foundation of a major exhibition highlighting the role of local inhabitants and indigenous intermediaries in histories of exploration (RGS-IBG, 15 October to 10 December 2009), supported by an AHRC Museums, Galleries and Libraries Award to PI Professor Felix Driver (Royal Holloway, University of London) (www.rgs.org/HiddenHistories). Dr Jones is now a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham.

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