AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship – Cultar Dùthchasach: Materialising Gaelic Cultures in Twenty-First Century Scotland
Start date: 1 October 2022
Application Deadline: Thursday 12 May 2022
Interviews will take place on 26 May (online).
The University of the Highlands and Islands and National Museums Scotland are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship [from October 2022] under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.
The student’s primary focus is to explore how Gaelic speakers and Gaelic communities in contemporary Scotland communicate and interact using objects as well as languages, investigating the complex relationships between the Gaelic language and its various materialities through collections-based and community engagement research approaches.
This project will be jointly supervised by Dr Domhnall Uilleam Stiùbhart and Dr Sarah Laurenson, and the student will be expected to spend time at both Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI and National Museums Scotland, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK. The studentship can be studied either full or part-time.
We encourage the widest range of potential students to study for this CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area. Applicants should be fluent in Scottish Gaelic (spoken and written) and should have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting.
For many thousands of Scots today, communicating in Scottish Gaelic plays a significant part of daily life. For the first time, this project will look beyond language to explore how Gaelic identities are expressed through materialities: objects, artefacts and environments. Crucial to this interdisciplinary study is the innovative concept of ‘language ecology’: the interactions of language, place and the material world. Through in-depth ethnographic research and collecting, working closely with communities in and connected to the surviving Gàidhealtachds in north-west Scotland, the student will explore Gaelic language ecologies to identify and analyse cultural markers considered distinctively Gaelic. Using recent ideas and perspectives from academic fields concerned with communication in its broadest interpretation, the student will explore how objects are used to express ideas, emotions, memories, affiliations and identities. Taking a dynamic perspective on the language’s past, present and future, there will be a particular focus on young people’s negotiating their Gaelic inheritance, in both physical and digital realms, in a multilingual, globalised world.
The Scottish History & Archaeology collections at National Museums Scotland (NMS) comprise around 2 million objects, including unrivalled material reflecting the texture of Scottish cultural life from 1750 to the present. Key priorities for collections development include contemporary collecting and extending the twentieth-century collections. This includes research into and the representation of present-day Gaelic perspectives, as well as making innovative use of existing collections to interpret the Gaelic past. In working with Gaelic communities, the project will engage with current challenges affecting the Highlands, an economically and environmentally vulnerable region facing serious problems regarding future population sustainability.. The project will help build contemporary Gaelic collections, and inform the development of collecting and interpretation strategies as well as developing sophisticated material culture methodologies.
Drawing on the expertise of NMS in material culture and museology, and using innovative analytical frameworks from recent scholarship in discourse studies, the project will open up the complex interplay between material culture and the Gaelic language. It will illuminate the processes with which people interact through material culture, fashioning, expressing, and reshaping multiple, mutable identities in so doing. This will extend the perspectives of Scottish Gaelic studies, hitherto a group of disciplines focused on recording and analysing the spoken and written word, and make substantial contributions to the study of material culture studies, notably the materiality of multilingualism. It will also offer new understandings of threatened minority languages and, in turn, suggest ways to assist their continuing survival into the future.
The project is designed with a clear focus that enables the research to develop reflexively, shaped by the student, collections and communities.
Research questions include:
- What makes an object or artefact Gaelic?
- How might a distinctive Gaelic material culture be defined?
- How might material culture contribute to distinctive Gaelic identities, fashioned and shaped between generations, as language and culture evolves?
- How does the Gaelic language, in written and spoken form, in print and online, intersect with material culture?
- How might NMS seek to build a meaningful collection representing the multiple, evolving, complex facets of Gaelic identities?
- How might the idea of Gaelic material culture help us better to understand the nature of Gaelic communities, and how the language is used within these communities?
Details of Award
CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 45 months (3.75 years) or part-time equivalent. The studentship has the possibility of being extended for an additional 3 months to provide professional development opportunities, or up to 3 months of funding may be used to pay for the costs the student might incur in taking up professional development opportunities.
The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2022/23 is £4,596.
The award pays full maintenance for all students both home and international students. The National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2022/23 is £16,062, plus a CDP maintenance payment of £550/year.
The student must live within a reasonable travel time of their Research Organisation or collaborative organisation to ensure that they are able to maintain regular contact with their department and their supervisor.
Further details can be found on the UKRI website: https://www.ukri.org/skills/funding-for-research-training/
The project has a £3,000 Research Training Support Grant provided by National Museums Scotland for additional project costs.
The project can be undertaken on a full-time or part-time basis.
- This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants.
- To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:
- Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
- Have settled status, or
- Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
- Have indefinite leave to remain or enter
Further guidance can be found here: https://www.ukri.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/UKRI-030221-Guidance-International-Eligibility-Implementation-training-grant-holders-V2.pdf
- We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area.
- Applicants should be fluent in Scottish Gaelic (spoken and written), and should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting. Suitable disciplines are flexible, but might include: Gaelic and/or Celtic Studies, History, Archaeology, Anthropology, Ethnology, Art History, Scottish Studies, Literature or Museum Studies.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the museum sector and potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.
- As a collaborative award, students will be expected to spend time at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI and National Museums Scotland and be required to live within reasonable travel time of one of these locations for the duration of their PhDhD.
- The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in CDP Cohort Development events. They will also have access to Scottish Graduate School for Arts and Humanities catalyst training, summer schools and internship opportunities.
- All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding. See:
Applicants should submit within one email:
- a summary curriculum vitae (max. 2 pages)
- a short statement (max. 2 pages) outlining your qualification for the studentship, and initial thoughts on how you would approach the project. Applicants without a Masters’ qualification should outline the specifically relevant skills, experience and knowledge they have gained beyond undergraduate degree level, that could be considered equivalent to Masters study.
- two completed academic references.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to complete a short Gaelic transcription exercise on a topic connected to material culture before the interview.
The successful candidate will make an online admissions application for the PhD in Gaelic and Related Studies 2022/23.