2 AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Awards Matthew Boulton: Visual and Material Cultures of Industrialisation
The Department of the History of Art, the Department of Modern History, and the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity have obtained funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for two studentships, tenable from October 2006. The awards will be held in association with Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery for the purpose of collaborative doctoral research. The award holders will become members of the University of Birmingham’s newly established Centre for Birmingham and Midlands History and the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies.
Award holders will engage in research on the extensive holdings of materials linked to the Birmingham merchant and industrialist Matthew Boulton (1728-1809). Much of the documentation relating to the life of Matthew Boulton is conserved in the Birmingham City Archives (BCA), whereas the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery (BMAG) contain a rich collection of objects produced by, or related to, Boulton’s Soho Manufactory. It is envisaged that the research undertaken by the award holders will find an outlet in the programme of conferences and exhibitions scheduled to be held in 2009 to mark the bicentenary of the death of Matthew Boulton.
Academic supervision of the two doctoral theses will be overseen by Professor Peter Jones (Department of Modern History), by Dr Richard Clay (Lecturer in the Department of the History of Art), and by Dr Euridyce Georganteli (Lecturer in the Institute of Archaelogy and Antiquity, and curator of the Barber Institute of Fine Art’s numismatic collection). Additional supervision will be provided by Dr David Symons (Curator of Antiquities and Numismatics, BMAG) and Victoria Osborne (Curator of Prints and Drawings, BMAG).
Award A: this PhD will focus on the token, medal and coin output of Matthew Boulton’s mints between 1787 and 1813. Promising areas for investigation include: identifying the mint’s output; minting technology and the industrialisation of money; the objects’ roles in the representation and construction of identity in terms of class, gender, ethnicity, and nationality; the influence of Boulton’s international workforce on the iconography and style of his output; the inter-relationships between art, science, and technology in the age of industrialisation; the campaign against counterfeits money. The award holder will contribute to the numismatic exhibitions that will be key parts of the 2009 bicentenary celebrations.
Award B: this PhD will focus on ‘works on paper’ that relate to Matthew Boulton and his Soho Manufactory between 1765 and 1809. The award holder might focus on the pattern books for Boulton products. Who produced the books’ images, how were they trained, and what was their wider œuvre like? How did decisions about pattern design relate to contemporary discourses on ‘fine art’? Alternatively, the award holder might focus on prints and/or drawings representing the Soho Manufactory. How did such imagery relate to the site’s status as a tourist destination? How did the depictions of a place of industrialised production relate to images of comparable sites (e.g. Etruria or Coalbrookedale) and to contemporary aesthetic discourses on the sublime, the beautiful and the picturesque ? The award holder will contribute to various exhibitions that will form key parts of the 2009 bicentenary celebrations.
The above themes are purely indicative. The eventual topics for study will be a matter for the successful applicants to determine in conjunction with their supervisors. Between 30% and 40% of each of the resultant PhD theses will be made up of a catalogue whose interpretive entries will detail parts of BMAG’s uniquely extensive holdings of objects connected with Boulton and his businesses. The PhD students will also input catalogue information that find into BMAG’s Minisis inventory system. The remainder of the doctoral theses will take the form of interpretative essays.
In order to be eligible, applicants must meet the AHRC’s academic criteria and residency requirements, and should normally have, or be studying for, a Master’s degree in the History of Art, Numismatics, Design History, or Modern History. The standard tuition fees and maintenance grant will be paid by the AHRC.
Applications, which should consist of a curriculum vitae, the names, addresses and email addresses of two referees, and a covering letter, should be sent by post or by email to Dr Richard Clay at: Department of the History of Art, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT or to his email address: [email protected]
The deadline for applications is 8 May 2006. Interviews will be held in late May or early June 2006, date to be confirmed.
Before applying potential applicants are welcome to contact Professor Peter Jones ([email protected]) or Dr Richard Clay ([email protected]), in order to explore research possibilities falling within the scope of the awards.
Further details: http://www.personnel.bham.ac.uk/