Mapping the Micro Generation: A Regional Study of Innovative Microcomputing in 1980s Britain
An ESRC-funded CASE (collaborative) PhD studentship with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester
In the history of Britain’s computing culture, the 1980s occupy a unique formative position: between the eras of the large, basement-dwelling corporate machine and the heavily-standardised desktop ‘PC’ lies a generation who first encountered the computer as a small, mass-produced artefact, sold as a conventional consumer good and promoted as a typical feature of ‘everyday life.’ This project will focus on the intense, diverse public interaction with computer hardware and software which characterised this period.
The researcher will use oral history, paper sources and microcomputer artefacts to examine the practices, networks and ideologies of popular computing: those to be considered may include hardware and software producers, distributors, user-group participants, schoolteachers, journalists and self-professed ‘general users,’ and the survey will particularly address both the game-playing and educational aspects of microcomputer use.
This project was developed in association with the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, whose staff will play an active role in supervision. The researcher will benefit from access to the Museum’s collections and expertise in handling artefacts, together with recording and transcription facilities; his or her findings will be expected to inform the Museum’s work in presenting the history of the computer and its use.
This studentship is open to UK/EU applicants who have, or expect to obtain a 2:1 or first class honours degree in the history or social studies of science/technology or a relevant subject; a Master’s level qualification in a relevant subject is strongly desirable. The award is made under the terms of the Economic and Social Research Council’s CASE programme, and the project would particularly suit a student with ESRC-approved Master’s-level research methods training. Alternatively, research methods training could be provided to a suitable student during the course of the project.
Further information may be obtained by contacting Dr James Sumner, CHSTM, Second Floor Simon Building, Brunswick Street, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, UK.
How to Apply
Application forms can be obtained from: http://www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/postgraduate/howtoapply/ or by contacting the Faculty of Life Sciences, Graduate Office (email: [email protected] ; Tel: +44 (0)161 275 3883).
Applications with two letters of reference should be returned to: The Graduate Office, Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK.
Closing date for applications: 29 April 2005