Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Image Credit: Yunli Song / Graduate Photography Competition

Oxford introduces new Positive Action Targeted Studentships as part of latest round of AHRC doctoral training programme

Oxford University’s world-renowned Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) have today been awarded 11 PhD studentships through the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) programme.

The AHRC CDPs offer cultural and heritage institutions the opportunity of hosting doctoral researchers based at UK higher education institutions. The scheme was opened up to university museums and collections in 2015, and since then Oxford University’s four museums – the Pitt Rivers Museum, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford Museum of Natural History, and History of Science Museum – have hosted nine doctoral students in partnership with universities including Leeds, UCL, Warwick, Birmingham, Birkbeck and Leicester.

This new award expands the Oxford consortium to include Bodleian Libraries and Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, offering new opportunities for collaborative research across the arts and humanities.

Oxford GLAM is one of 14 successful consortia that will host 152 AHRC-funded doctoral students at some of the UK’s world-leading cultural and heritage organisations, including Imperial War Museums, the National Archives, the British Museum, Tate, and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA). Since it began in 2012, the CDP programme has awarded more than 500 PhD studentships across the UK, allowing doctoral students to develop new research skills in an environment beyond higher education.

Oxford’s CDP includes a commitment within the scheme to develop Positive Action Targeted Studentships in partnership with UK higher education institutions to begin to address the under-representation of black and minority ethnic (BAME) students in doctoral training in the cultural and heritage sector.

Sue Carver, AHRC Strategic Lead for Skills, said: “The Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme gives doctoral students a unique opportunity to receive PhD training at some of the UK’s best-known cultural institutions.

“This gives students the chance to tap into world-class expertise and take part in engagement activities at the heart of the public’s interaction with art and culture.”

Professor Dan Hicks of the Pitt Rivers Museum, who has led Oxford’s CDP programme since 2015, said: “This award not only opens up AHRC collaborative studentships to include Bodleian Libraries and Oxford Botanic Garden and Arboretum, but also places developing positive action studentships for UK BAME students at the centre of our strategy. We hope that this will begin to contribute to addressing under-representation in the heritage and museums sector, and will set a precedent not only for other CDP schemes, but also for other doctoral training programmes.”

To coincide with today’s announcement, the AHRC is publishing a new report which looks at AHRC-funded collaborative studentships. Commissioned by the AHRC and authored by JD Hill and A. Meek of the British Museum, the report outlines the impact and benefits of the collaborative doctoral studentship for the students, their supporting partner organisations and universities.

For more information about the CDP programme at Oxford, go to the GLAM website.

To read more about today’s announcement, go to the AHRC website.