Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships

Student historian Pius Cokumu looking at Luo photographs, KenyaThe Oxford University Museums AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) commenced in 2016 and offers up to three fully-funded doctoral studentships per year. Oxford's CDP studentship programme is led by Dan Hicks (Pitt Rivers Museum). The scheme operates across the four museums of Oxford University - the Ashmolean, the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, and the Pitt Rivers Museum. Applications for studentships are now closed. Studentships commencing in October 2018 will be advertised here in early 2018.

Image right: Student historian Pius Cokumu looking at Luo photographs, Kenya at the Pitt Rivers Museum

Each CDP studentship is jointly supervised in partnership between one or more of Oxford University Museums and academics from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEI). The partner HEI administers the studentship, receiving funds from the AHRC for the student’s fees and maintenance in line with a standard AHRC award. In addition to this full studentship award for fees and maintenance, Oxford University Museums provides up to £2,000 per annum per student to cover the costs of travel between the HEI and Oxford, and related costs in carrying out research. Studentships can be based at any UK HEI apart from Oxford University.

The Collaborative Doctoral Studentships will involve research that helps us to develop new perspectives on our collections and to share knowledge more widely and effectively with a range of audiences, while also training a new generation of scholars working between the academic and heritage sectors.The first round of applications led to three awards, to the Universities of Warwick, Cambridge, and Durham, in the fields of 20th-century History of Art, Classics and Ancient History, and African History. Sarah Bevin (Durham/Pitt Rivers Museum), George Green (Warwick/Ashmolean) and Emily Roy (Cambridge/Ashmolean) commenced their research in October 2016. Full details about the doctoral research projects of the 2016 CDP students.

2017 CDP Student Applications

The following thre projects will be starting in October 2017. Applications for these studentships are now closed.


Original copies in the modern museum: value, authority, authenticity and practice in the uses of archaeological plaster casts

University of Leicester in partnership with the Ashmolean Museum
Supervised by Dr Sandra Dudley (Leicester), Dr Milena Melfi and Professor Bert Smith (Oxford)


Where Art and Science Meet: Art and Design at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History

University of Birmingham in partnership with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History
Supervised by Dr Clare Jones (Birmingham) and Professor Paul Smith (Oxford)


The Photography of OGS Crawford

University of London, Birbeck in partnership with the Pitt Rivers Museum
Supervised by Dr Lesley McFadden and Dr Jennifer Baird (Birbeck) and Professor Chris Gosden and Dr Chris Morton (Oxford)

2016 CDP Student Projects at Oxford University Museums

The first round of Oxford University Museums Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships begins in October 2016, in partnership with the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge, and the Department of History at Durham University. The studentships were awarded to Sarah Bevin, George Green, and Emily Roy, and details of their research are provided below.

Sarah Bevin (University of Durham in collaboration with the Pitt Rivers Museum)

PhD Thesis title: Reconnecting the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Zande collections with their historical and contemporary contexts in South Sudan

Sarah received her BA in History of Art at the University of Leeds. During that course she developed a passion for visual culture within an African context (particularly West African masquerade) and began to expand her focus to encompass a multidisciplinary approach to research. After gaining some experience in the secondary art market at Sotheby’s auction house in London, she studied for an MSc in African Studies at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2016.

Sarah’s CDP doctoral project is titled is based at the University of Durham, and is jointly supervised by Dr Cherry Leonardi (Durham) and Dr Chris Morton (Pitt Rivers Museum). Her research focuses on a major, multi-stranded anthropological fieldwork collection at the Pitt Rivers Museum, formed by E. E. Evans-Pritchard in Zandeland, South Sudan, between 1926 and 1930. Evans-Pritchard’s fieldwork provided the basis for, among other publications, his ground-breaking study of Zande witchcraft, oracles and magic. The project will explore the various elements of the collection – objects, photographs, texts and recordings – in relation to one another and to other materials about or from the Zande area, in order to better understand the historical contexts in which they were gathered by Evans-Pritchard, and their contemporary significance for the Zande people and for the new state of South Sudan. In the process the project also aims to advance theoretical and methodological approaches to the study and use of ethnographic museum collections and their historical and contemporary resonances.

The project aims to use the museum collection to examine the historical context of 1920s southwest Sudan – a period and region which has been studied in little detail previously despite being a time of major change under the colonial economy and government. At the same time, it seeks to explore the contemporary meaning and significance of the collections at both the local level where the material was collected – and where people have named familial connections to it – and at the broader level of the creation of cultural and educational resources in a new nation such as South Sudan. Through these aims the research also seeks to advance theoretical and methodological approaches to the use of ethnographic collections in historical research and in cultural heritage work.

Sarah’s research is focused on extending the museum’s understanding of its own material by connecting objects to the anthropological and historical literature and to other archival and museum collections. She will to identify and work with Zande people on the contemporary meanings of such collections and to exhibit the material and those responses, and will digitize Evans-Pritchard’s manuscript collection and make it available on the museum’s website, enabling remote engagement. She also hopes to work with international agencies and their representatives working in South Sudan (eg UNESCO) on the use of collections in educational and heritage projects. In this way, her research involves both academic analysis of the Zande collections and practical curatorial and digitization work on them, as well as a period of fieldwork to engage with Zande communities in South Sudan and the international diaspora, involving interviews, meetings and exhibitions. The research will help the museum understand the potential of its collections for nation building, education and cultural revival. Sarah’s work combines anthropological, educational, historical and archival research methods, cutting across established research boundaries and seeking to contribute to a new phase of collections research in ethnographic museums.

George Green (University of Warwick in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum)

PhD Thesis title: Gold Coinage in the Roman World

George studied at state comprehensives in the London borough of Redbridge before reading for an undergraduate degree in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Christ Church, Oxford, from which he graduated with a First Class degree in 2015. He won the Thomas Whitcombe Greene Prize for the best performance in Classical Art and Archaeology, and the Gibbs Prize in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History for his dissertation on coin hoarding in late Republican and early Augustan Spain. During his undergraduate studies he excavated part of a Roman port town in Menorca with the Sanisera Field School, and the picture shown here is of George holding one of the coins that he excavated there.

George studied for a Masters Degree at Regent’s Park College, Oxford which focused on Roman numismatics, materials analysis and the archaeology of the middle Imperial period, supported by grants from the Humanitarian Trust and the Sarum St Michael Educational Trust, from which he graduated with a Distinction in 2016.

George’s CDP doctoral project is based at the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick, and is a collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum. It it jointly supervised by Professor Kevin Butcher (Warwick), Professor Christopher Howgego (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) and Professor Mark Pollard (Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, Oxford). His research seeks to study the metallurgy and circulation of Roman gold coinage of the first century BC to fifth century AD, in order to define its significance within Roman society and the Roman economy. It will draw on the combined expertise of Warwick and Oxford in historical metallurgy, scientific analytical techniques, and monetary history.

George’s research will combine evidence for metallurgy and circulation to enable an increased understanding of the relationship of gold coinage to the development of Roman society and economy. It will aim to produce a reliable set of metallurgical analyses for Roman gold coinage, a set of data on metal sources and production technology, a new set of metrological data, and a delineation and analysis of patterns of circulation and deposition over time. George will use the representative sample of over 600 Roman gold coins held by the Ashmolean Museum as the basis for his metallurgical study. He will also make use of existing data on gold coinage in the Oxford Coin Hoards of the Roman Empire Project.

George’s research questions such as: To what extent can metal analyses illuminate metal sources and metal flows as well as fineness? At what point did gold coin cease to circulate at a fixed nominal value and become more like a circulating ingot? Was the apparent scarcity of gold in the third century AD due to export from the Empire, most importantly through subsidies paid to ‘barbarians’? What was the nature of the major new source of gold in the fourth century AD? The initial provision of gold to the military in the early empire is evident, but what was the initial function of gold after that? And, by the fourth century AD control of gold appears to have been both a marker of, and a means to enhance, social hierarchy throughout the provinces: how did this change come about?

Emily Roy (University of Cambridge in collaboration with the Ashmolean Museum)

Emily completed her BA in History of Art at Oxford in 2010. After internships in the Ashmolean Print Room and Waddesdon Manor (National Trust), she completed her MA in Russian Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL. Emily returned to work at Waddesdon Manor in 2012 where she has held a range of curatorial and collections management roles, most recently that of curator.

Emily’s CDP doctoral project is based at the Department of History of Art University of Cambridge, and is jointly supervised by Dr Rosalind Blakesley and Dr Wendy Pullan (University of Cambridge) and Dr Catherine Whistler (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).

Emily’s research uses an interdisciplinary approach to examine key questions on modernization, the city and cross-cultural exchanges in Enlightenment and 19th-century Russia. The primary, unpublished research material is found in the Talbot Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, a unique and virtually unknown resource of c.1000 prints dating from the early 18th to the mid-19th century, whose imagery relates to the construction and character of St Petersburg as an imperial capital. This collection was assembled in the west during the Soviet era by Gwenoch David Talbot (d.1972), who had been a successful businessman in pre-revolutionary Russia.

The engravings, etchings and lithographs that he amassed testify to the vitality and range of print culture in Enlightenment Russia, revealing state-sponsored initiatives, entrepreneurial outputs, the adoption of new technologies, and the existence of transnational networks of production and publication. These and other issues will be examined to illuminate the nature of print production and dissemination within the context of Russian modernization and urbanization, against a backdrop of rapid social and political change.

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