Deaf geographies, and other worlds.

PhD on Deaf Heritage Buildings – starts Sept 2015 (initial information)

You probably know that my work is currently focused on the St Saviour’s Deaf Church, which stood on Oxford Street in London from 1870 (when the foundation stone was laid) until 1923 (when it was demolished). You may also know that, as part of that project, we’ve been finding out about lots of other churches and centres either built especially for Deaf people, or adapted for their use.

Very few of these ‘Deaf heritage’ buildings have any kind of recognition or protection, and apart from the famous ones, almost nothing has been done to link some of them into the history of the Deaf community in a meaningful way.

This year, starting in the Autumn, we are able to offer a PhD focusing on Deaf heritage buildings. The project is funded by the AHRC through English Heritage, and English Heritage will be providing half of the supervision team. We are the ‘history experts’ if you like, and they are the ‘heritage experts’.

The PhD student will be working to do four main things:

  • Develop a catalogue of Deaf heritage buildings across the UK, understand their place in Deaf history, and describe what it is that makes them ‘Deaf’.
  • Talk to the Deaf community who use(d) the buildings, the organisations who own the buildings, architectural experts, and other groups, to understand why the buildings are important to them, and what the challenges are in managing them.
  • Work with English Heritage (and other experts in heritage) to develop strategies and processes to protect and promote Deaf heritage to Deaf and hearing audiences.
  • Devise, carry out, and assess pilot projects, to practically explore the challenges associated with managing a Deaf-specific heritage portfolio.

If you’re not clear on what a PhD requires, then:

  • A PhD lasts three years (from about Sept 2015 to Sept 2018) and involves intensive research, reading, thinking and writing. This PhD will also involve some travel.
  • The student will need to submit approx. 80,000 words, which is about the length of a book. The PhD has to be written in English at a high academic standard.
  • The student will need at least a degree (BA, BSc) qualification. They don’t need a Masters, but they will need to show Masters-level expertise.
  • They will be paid a wage (stipend) of around £13k a year… That’s low, but it’s tax free, which helps, and students don’t pay council tax. I have no idea whether other benefits (disability or child support etc.) would be affected.
  • The PhD will almost certainly have to be full-time, and the student can only be UK or EU-based.

The studentship isn’t being advertised yet. It will be advertised later in the year and then candidates will be able to apply. I don’t have any dates yet, but my guess is that the advert will appear some time in March/April to make sure that there is time to recruit before the September start.

But don’t wait until the advert comes out. If you are interested, or you want more information, then please get in touch with me now at mike.gulliver@bristol.ac.uk or on Twitter @mikegulliver


This entry was posted on January 12, 2015 by in Musings.
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