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Early C16 Anglo-Scots relations

The British Library and the University of Kent are pleased to invite applications for a   three-year CHASE consortium Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD Studentship. The thesis will be jointly supervised by Dr Amy Blakeway, lecturer in sixteenth-century history at Kent, and by Dr Andrea Clarke, Lead Curator of Medieval and early Modern Manuscripts, at the British Library.

CHASE Collaborative PhD Studentship: Anglo-Scottish Relations in the Early Sixteenth Century, c.1500-1560

The British Library and the University of Kent are pleased to invite applications for a   three-year CHASE consortium Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD Studentship. The thesis will be jointly supervised by Dr Amy Blakeway, lecturer in sixteenth-century history at Kent, and by Dr Andrea Clarke, Lead Curator of Medieval and early Modern Manuscripts, at the British Library.

The successful candidate will undertake a thesis on “Anglo-Scottish Relations in the Early Sixteenth Century, c.1500-1560”, drawing extensively on the BL’s unparalleled collections in this area and contributing to the forthcoming exhibition on Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. There is ample scope for the successful student to develop this project in ways that complement and extend the student’s existing skills-set and interests.
 

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

During the last century before dynastic union in 1603 relations between England and Scotland were tense. Following the marriage of Margaret Tudor to James IV in 1503, the Stewart monarchs were poised to inherit the throne of England should the Tudor line fail: during Henry VIII’s marital mishaps this possibility became more real – and for many English subjects, uncomfortably so. At the same time differing religious trajectories, with Scotland remaining loyal to the Catholic Church throughout the Henrician and Edwardian reformations, added a new religious imperative to old English claims of suzerainty.

 
THE PROJECT

This PhD project will centre on using the British Library’s unparalled early sixteenth-century collections to explore Anglo-Scottish relations, conceptualised in the broadest sense. It is anticipated that the student will also undertake travel to cognate collections, notably those held in the National Records of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The traditional historiography of this period continues to present an Anglo-centric, top-down view of Anglo-Scots relations. It is hoped that this research will begin to challenge some of these paradigms, exploring cross-border interactions beyond the ‘official’ and placing equal emphasis on the two countries.

Applicants are encouraged to consider ways in which they would like to develop the project. Potential avenues for research include:  the role played by women in diplomacy, the practicalities of life on the borders; life on the border in times of peace and war; the experience of exile across the border; the careers of individual diplomats (e.g. Ralph Sadler); the structure of espionage and correspondence networks across the border; the movement of rumour, propaganda, prophecy and news across the border; and the impact of the early Reformation on Anglo-Scots relations.

This CHASE collaborative doctoral award is timed to coincide with a major BL exhibition to open in the autumn of 2020 on Elizabeth I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots. We anticipate the student working with the BL curatorial team, producing research which will inform exhibition content, and participating in a broader outreach programme. It is also anticipated that the staff-level BL access the student will enjoy will help them improve the finding aids for collections such as the Cottonian and Harleian collections, which have not been fully catalogued according to modern scholarly standards.  

The project will develop the research skills and knowledge base of the successful student. By the end of the PhD the student will be an archivally accomplished historian of the sixteenth-century British Isles. Immersion in the working environment of the British Library will provide privileged ‘in house’ training in a world-leading library and major manuscript repository. As a result, the student can make a contribution to the knowledge base of the discipline, and be set up to make a significant contribution to the academic and/or curatorial profession.

The University of Kent is home to the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), an interdisciplinary group of c.30 academic staff and c.50 research students drawn from the disciplines of English and History. The student will have both the support of the School of History and of the Centre: in other words, both disciple-specific and interdisciplinary expertise.

MEMS hosts a weekly seminar to which visiting academic speakers are invited and offers specialist training for PhD students. We have paleography and Latin classes for our PhDs, these are tailored to the group’s needs. In addition, PhD students who require a more thorough grounding can audit our year-long MA courses in these areas. Beyond these subject-specific skills we offer students the chance to develop public speaking skills through a graduate work-in-progress seminar. The Centre hosts an annual festival, organised entirely by PhD students. This comprises a mix of traditional academic papers and more experimental sessions such as performance reconstructions. This is a valuable opportunity to obtain practical event-management experience and to build networks.

At a University-provided level, students can obtain the AFS teacher training qualification, and the University provides a range of centrally run training courses on graduate skills and managing graduate life. They are welcomed with a ‘kickstart your PhD’ induction session and their skills assessed via the Vitae Researcher Development Framework.


PERSON SPECIFICATION

We are seeking to recruit a highly promising student who will relish the opportunity of combining academic research with the experience of working as part of a professional team of curators and researchers. This studentship is likely to appeal to individuals with a background in early modern history, political history, early modern/renaissance literature, or in interdisciplinary studies of the early modern world. Prior experience of research using early modern manuscripts is essential. A commitment to communicating the results of research to a wider public audience will be a key asset in the context of the expected contribution to the exhibition programme.

Essential: excellent palaeography

Desirable: French/Latin (training will be provided in these areas if necessary)

 
Eligibility

Residency Criteria – applicants are required to meet the RCUK residence criteria as follows:

·         British nationals who have lived in the UK and Islands all their lives are eligible.

·         Also eligible are non-British nationals who have settled status AND have been resident in the UK for 3 years immediately prior to the date of the start of the course.

·         EU nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for three years immediately prior to the date of start of the course are eligible.

·         EEA and Swiss nationals (EEA migrant workers) should refer to the full RCUK guidelines to check eligibility and may be eligible for a fees only award.

If you are unsure about your eligibility please email humadmissions@kent.ac.uk and we will be happy to make an assessment for you.

 
Academic Criteria Applicants are required to hold a Bachelors Degree at 2:1 or better in a relevant subject and hold or are expected to hold a Master’s degree in a relevant subject (e.g.: history, earl modern history, early modern studies, early modern/renaissance literature or an interdisciplinary early modern topic) by September 2018.

 

FUNDING INFORMATION

The studentship is available for full-time study only, and applicants must be able to commence their studies on 1 October 2018.

The standard tuition fees and stipend (maintenance grant) will be paid by CHASE to the award holder subject to the eligibility criteria outlined above. The AHRC stipend for 2018/19 is £14,777.

In addition the British Library will provide is to £1,000 per annum for research-related costs. The student will also benefit from a dedicated fund for travel between Canterbury and the British Library. They will enjoy staff-level access to the British Library’s collections, expertise and facilities, plus dedicated desk space alongside the medieval manuscripts curatorial team from the end of the first year of study; they will have desk space at Kent throughout.

As an AHRC PhD student affiliated to the British Library, the successful candidate would have opportunities to benefit from in-house BL staff training courses as well as, space permitting, the dedicated programme of professional development events delivered by the British Library in tandem with the other museums, galleries and heritage organisations affiliated to the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships programme.


HOW TO APPLY

To apply you need to complete the CHASE application form. You must also apply for a place of study via the University of Kent's website.

Please note: this is one of two studentships advertised to work jointly with Kent and the BL. Details of the second studentship are available here.

Applicants may apply for one or both studentships but must submit a separate application for each. In cases where both projects are applied for we will discuss both proposals, and candidates’ preferences between them, in the interview.

Informal Enquiries

Informal enquiries can be sent to Dr Amy Blakeway: a.l.blakeway@kent.ac.uk 

 Closing Date:              Monday 8 May, 12:00 (midday, London time)

Interview Date:          Fri 25 May 2018, at the University of Kent’s Canterbury campus

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