Collaborative Doctoral Awards – Projects available

Applications from prospective students for the LAHP Collaborative Doctoral Awards projects starting in October 2023 are now open.

2023/24 Collaborative Doctoral Award Projects Recruiting

The collaborative doctoral awards open for applications are listed below.

  • Overcoming Barriers: The Impact of Arts Council Policy on the Careers of Black British Women in the Subsidised Dance Sector

    CDA in collaboration with Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Serendipity

    Primary academic supervisor: Kate Elswit
    Secondary academic supervisor: Tia Monique Uzor
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Pawlet Brookes

    Jamila Johnson-Small and Alexandrina Hemsley; photo credit: Katarzyna Perlak

    This Collaborative Doctoral project between Central and Serendipity produces the first comprehensive study of the impact of Arts Council policy on the careers of Black women in the subsidised dance sector from 1985–2020. While Arts Council funding is often used as background context in studies of Black British dance, the project both develops a systematic overview and presents 15 case studies of Black women dance artists that engage the entanglements between performance and cultural power. Plotting the artistic outcomes and career trajectories of Black women against key Arts Council policy and reports will enable the student to critically interrogate the impact of intersectional oppression within dance historically and its legacies today. Thus, the project will generate alternative historical narratives of women who have been overlooked by British Dance. Working with the project partner Serendipity, the research will develop educational resources for dance students and audiences, and policy recommendations that will be published and presented to the Arts Council. The studentship will bring cultural industry, Arts policy and critical theory into dialogue and will enable the project partner Serendipity to better advocate for the next generation of arts funding for Black British women.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact project supervisor Kate Elswit on

  • The working-class museum: exploring the lived experiences of 21st century working-class Londoners

    CDA in collaboration with King’s College London and Museum of London

    Primary academic supervisor: Serena Iervolino
    Secondary academic supervisor: Hye-Kyung Lee
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Domenico Sergi

    A New Museum for London in West Smithfiled – Artistic impression of the subterranean spaces beneath the General Market © Museum of London / Sacchi Smith

    UK museums have historically neglected large parts of British society by showing little interest in the stories and experiences of working-class people. Issues of class differences have been rarely foregrounded in museum displays and public programmes. This is despite many UK museums holding relevant social and working history collections. In a time of deep systemic crisis marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has further aggravated class divisions entrenched in British society, socio-economic differences need to be urgently addressed in UK museums and academic debates. This PhD project aims to examine how socio-economic differences and working-class experiences can be meaningfully addressed in UK museums. Using the Museum of London and, more broadly, the city of London as a case study, this project will look at the analytic category “working class” through the lived experiences of low-paid Londoners. The project will implement innovative research methods (e.g. auto-ethnographic and arts based methods) to record and document the lived experiences of working-class Londoners. It will also test the use of collaborative methodologies in research practice (e.g. community conversations). Finally, the project will seek to foster sector-wide debates on the research subject through engaging museum professionals, activists and subject specialists in dissemination and engagement activities.

    Additional information:

    • A demonstrable interest in the issue of working class identity and history will be essential.
    • Applications from individuals with either expertise or lived experience in relation to working class identity and its history are strongly encouraged and will be particularly welcomed.
    • Applicants may come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, including (but not limited to) museum studies, arts management, cultural studies, history, sociology and political economy.
    • The ideal candidate might lack relevant academic and professional museum training, which CMCI and the Museum of London can confidently provide.
    • Training on innovative research methodologies such as arts-based tools, social media journaling and auto-ethnography will be provided, as required.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisors: Dr Serena Iervolino ( and Dr Domenico Sergi (


  • Transnationalism, Culture and Race in the Modern Foreign Languages Secondary Classroom

    Primary academic supervisor: Joseph Ford (SAS)
    Secondary academic supervisor: Naomi Wells (SAS)
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Lisa Panford (Association for Language Learning)
    Collaborative Partner secondary supervisor: Melina Irvine (Association for Language Learning)

    Photo credit: Naomi Wells

    This project examines how researcher- and teacher-led initiatives that foreground questions of race, cultural representation and colonialism in relation to language learning can be brought together to transform the study of Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) in secondary schools.

    This collaboration between the UK languages teachers’ professional body, the Association for Language Learning (ALL), and the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies (ILCS) allows a doctoral researcher to work at the intersection between language teachers and researchers to strengthen the development of more culturally inclusive and critical approaches to language learning and teaching. In doing so, it foregrounds the transformative potential of a languages education.

    The principal aims of the research are to:

    • analyse current approaches and resources for fostering criticality and addressing transnationalism, cultural representation and race in MFL classrooms;
    • explore how transnational and decolonising research and theories can support the ALL’s Decolonise Secondary MFL Special Interest Group’s work to equip language teachers to meet the academic, emotional, spiritual, moral, social and aesthetic needs of all of their young learners;
    • develop a model for Modern Languages researchers to work collaboratively with educational practitioners to foster more critical and inclusive approaches among secondary MFL teachers and pupils.

    Applicants will require knowledge of one of the main languages taught in the English Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) curriculum (preferably French and/or Spanish). While applicants would normally be expected to hold a Masters degree, we also encourage those with alternative qualifications (such as PGCE) and/or other relevant experience in a Modern Languages classroom.

    Black and Global Majority candidates are particularly encouraged to apply

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor Joseph Ford on


  • ‘Lost for words’: semantic search in the Find Case Law service of The National Archives

    CDA in collaboration between King’s College London and The National Archives

    Primary academic supervisor: Dr Barbara McGillivray (King’s College London)
    Collaborative Partner supervisor: Nicki Welch (The National Archives)
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Rose Rees Jones (The National Archives)
    Secondary academic supervisor: Dr Niccolò Ridi (King’s College London)
    Co-academic supervisor: Marton Ribary (Royal Holloway University of London)

    Access to case law is vital for safeguarding the constitutional right of access to justice. It enables members of the public to understand their position when facing litigation and to scrutinise court judgements. Since April 2022, UK court and tribunal decisions are preserved by The National Archives’ Find Case Law service as freely accessible online public records. This project seeks to improve Find Case Law by enhancing it with meaning-sensitive (semantic) search functionality. It will study how individuals without legal training use language to navigate court judgments and it will develop tools to facilitate this navigation. In most digital cultural heritage catalogues, while we can search for words within the metadata describing their records, we cannot search for records based on the meaning of words contained within these records, for examples the different words to refer to “knife crime”. Therefore, users’ access to collection is determined by their ability to articulate their information need precisely. Recent advances in natural language processing unlock new possibilities for querying documents via state-of-the-art semantic search. Incorporating such search capabilities in the Find Case Law collection is crucial for democratising access to digital collections, helping expose the social impact of how the law is written.

    Skills required


    • Experience with Natural Language Processing research and applied work, including developing new tools.
    • Interest in working with UK case law for improving access to justice


    • Background in law or legal research.
    • Experience working with digital archives
    • Knowledge of User experience (UX) research
    • Knowledge of lexical semantics.
    • Experience with semantic search.
    • Experience with NLP applied to legal texts.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor Barbara McGillivray on

  • Commonplacing Health and the Body in Early Modern England

    CDA in collaboration between University College London and Wellcome Collection

    Academic co-supervisor: Dr Elaine Leong (University College London)
    Academic co-supervisor: Prof. Angus Gowland (University College London
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Elma Brenner (Wellcome Collection)
    Collaborative Partner supervisor: Julia Nurse (Wellcome Collection)

    ‘An hymn in sickness’ from the commonplace book of Martha Hodges, Ms.2844, f.47, Wellcome Collection, Public Domain Mark

    Matters of health and the body were everyday preoccupations for early modern people, and many collected health information into personalised handwritten notebooks. Hundreds of these notebooks survive in the archives offering valuable opportunities to explore quotidian ideas about sickness and health. Centred on the rich corpus of handwritten medical notebooks in the Wellcome Collection, this project investigates how early modern men and women engaged with health information across communication media and created customised compendia of medical knowledge to suit their needs. It aims to recover diverse and individual perspectives of health and the body in early modern England and gain insight on the impact of past library cataloguing practices in constructing gender and epistemic boundaries. The student will conduct a scoping survey of such texts in the collection and select a handful of rich examples on which to undertake more in-depth research. Experience will be gained in working in an archive, library and museum setting including object handling, cataloguing practices and public engagement. The student’s research will contribute to revising the existing catalogue entries and will reveal the relevance of past practices of documenting health to our present and future. Some of the medical notebooks contain passages written in Latin, Italian, French or German. As such, the student should either have working knowledge of one of these languages or be open to gaining further skills in this area. Funded language and palaeography training will be provided.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor Elaine Leong on

  • Gender, Culture and Class Structure: The influence of women on the RAF’s development in the early 20th Century

    CDA in collaboration between King’s College London and Royal Air Force Museum

    Primary academic supervisor: Dr David Jordan (Freeman Air & Space Institute, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London)
    Secondary academic supervisor: Prof. David Edgerton (Department of History, King’s College London)
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Harry Raffal Dr Harry Raffal (Royal Air Force Museum London)
    Dr Sophy Antrobus (Research Fellow, Freeman Air & Space Institute, King’s College London)

    Commandant Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan (Credit: Royal Air Force Museum)

    This project will examine the role of gender on the RAF’s culture and class-structure. Created in 1918, the RAF deliberately sought to create ‘new traditions’, its own unique culture (distinct from the older British armed services), and to promote ‘air mindedness’ to the British public. Historical narratives of the RAF have marginalised the role of gender in this process.

    Elite women played a distinct role in the development of the RAF which has been negotiated by treating their presence as being ‘merely’ spouses and family members, rather than actors and influencers. This project will close this gap and identify wider patterns in British history requiring us to reimagine the role of gender in organisational culture.

    It will employ nationally significant but under-utilised collections to explore the history of the ‘women behind’ the leaders of the RAF, both military and political, and the gendered nature of their marginalisation. Collections held by the RAF Museum (RAFM) include the extensive papers of Lady Trenchard previously neglected by scholars who have focused on her husband (the first Chief of the Air Staff).

    This project will identify a broader pattern of female influence in the early 20th Century which remains largely obscured within British historiography.

    Candidates should fulfil the appropriate king’s College admissions requirements for a PhD – Bachelor’s degree with 1st class or 2:1 Honours degree and a Master of Arts with Distinction or Merit in a related subject.

    In exceptional cases, particularly strong applicants who do not hold a Distinction or Merit in their Master’s degree may be considered.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor David Jordan on

  • Kew and colonial botanic gardens in an era of decolonization

    CDA in collaboration between King’s College London and Royal Botanic Gardens

    Primary academic supervisor: Prof. Sarah Stockwell (King’s College London)
    Secondary academic supervisor: Dr Chris Manias (King’s College London)
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Caroline Cornish (Royal Botanic Gardens)

    Botanical gardens, Suva, Fiji, by ‘The Rose Stereographs’ Armadale, Victoria (Australia), 1920

    In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a network of colonial botanic gardens facilitated the exchange of plants and knowledge across Britain’s expanding empire, ensuring economic botany served Britain’s imperial ambitions. As discussed in an extensive literature, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, sat at the centre of this network, supplying personnel and training, and was instrumental in the development of the colonial gardens. But we know little about how Kew’s relationship to overseas botanic gardens played out in the 20th century, specifically in the context of Britain’s retreat from empire. This interdisciplinary doctoral research project, a collaboration between King’s College London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, brings together historical and environmental studies to investigate Kew’s changing relations with colonial botanic gardens from the early twentieth century through decolonization to the postcolonial era. Through garden case studies, the PhD student will map Kew’s changing relations with overseas botanic gardens and consider whether and how decolonization disrupted established associations and networks, and the extent to which in the aftermath of empire former colonial gardens were invested with new meanings and repurposed to serve local/national objectives.

    We particularly welcome applications from students who identify as People of Colour, BAME and/or part of Black and Global Majority racial and ethnic groups.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor Sarah Stockwell on


  • Border-artists: Critiquing border logics in transnational digital performance

    CDA in collaboration between Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and Performing Borders

    Primary academic supervisor: Dr Diana Damian Martin (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)
    Secondary academic supervisor: Dr Marilena Zaroulia (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama)
    Collaborative Partner lead contact: Alessandra Cianetti (Performing Borders)

    This collaborative doctoral award between Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and performingborders looks at the reproduction and revisioning of borders in contemporary transnational digital performance. Its objective is to develop a method of analysis — ‘border work’ – that captures the complex artistic and political processes that shape contemporary transnational digital performance, its production and curation, advancing new imaginaries for migrant-led social change.

    The CDA examines the development, curation, and outcome of four digital performances by migrant artists of colour working in the UK and internationally, exploring how borders are experienced and how they become a space of fluidity and agency, rather than violence and separation. Whilst mobility is often celebrated in the cultural sector, little research exists on how curators and audiences not only navigate complex systems and processes in seeking to undertake transnational work, but also how migrancy itself shapes a different view of borders. This CDA therefore considers how these performances use digital platforms to critique the naturalization of borders and analyses how the curation of this work, which produces the material conditions for its development, shapes cross-border relations at a time of heightened nativism and digitization of immigration.

    Working in collaboration with leading curatorial platform erformingborders, the studentship will contribute to self-representation of migrant artists working against the violence of hostile environments in the UK and beyond. The studentship will also explore performance as a tool for critiquing the expansion of borders and shaping migrant-led futures. The student will work with performingborders’ extensive network and archives, supported by research expertise from Central.

    As the focus of this studentship is on border-work, this application is open to candidates with lived experience of migration.

    For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor Diana Damian Martin on

2023/24 Collaborative Doctoral Award Applications


Please also check our FAQs page before you submit your application.

The list of CDA studentships funded by LAHP since 2018 is available here

Our Collaborative Doctoral Award Case Studies are available here

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