Science and Museums in the People’s Republic of China and the UK since

1900: Engaging people in physical science research


1+3-yr FT ESRC CASE (collaborative) MA/PhD Studentship, commencing

September 2012


Centre for Chinese Studies

University of Manchester


in collaboration with


Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, and Centre for Museology,

University of Manchester


In a comparative study the project analyses and proposes how museums can

engage people in the major breakthroughs in physical science and

technology which shape the modern world. The focus of the project is on

the historical trajectories that inform museum representations of

physical science and technology in China and the UK since 1900.


China recognises physics and technology research as essential for the

country to play an increasingly prominent role in the global community.

  Since 1900, physics is a subject in which Western countries,

especially Britain, have long led the way with major developments.  In

China, museums representing physical science and technology are a

relatively recent development: since 2000, there has been a programme to

create about 200 science museums throughout China, with about 100

opening in the last decade. These largely contain interactive exhibits

explaining the principles and processes of science, rather than past

scientific achievements and research taking place today.  Historical

research on Chinese museum culture is also in its infancy.


The project aims to critically reflect on current methodologies and

representations of physical science in China and the UK, and propose new

ways of engaging people in both China and the UK in current research

taking place both locally and internationally. The study will focus in

particular on the local science museums of Shanghai and Zhejiang (East

China) province, amongst the leading economic areas of China that can

look back at a history of more than a hundred years, and the Museum of

Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester.  Both will be researched

within the broader context of recent developments in science popularisation.


The project has both historical and practical components.  Through

collaboration with MOSI, the research will feed directly into museum

practice via MOSI and Chinese science museums/ science popularisation

organisations in Shanghai and Zhejiang province in the first instance.


The studentship is open to UK/EU undergraduates who have at least a 2:1

Honours degree in Chinese studies, History or Social Studies of

Science/Technology, Museum Studies or a related subject. Proficiency in

Chinese and English required (Classical Chinese advantageous). For

applications for +3 yr (PhD) route an MA degree with merit or higher

must be completed by September 2012.

Students applying for the 1+3 year (MA+PhD) are required to undergo MA

training depending on previous qualifications in the subject area. For

details of MA programmes available to study in connection with this

project please go to:

– Museology:

– History of Science:

– Languages and Cultures (research route):


Applicants are requested to submit a letter of application (of no more

than 500 words) stating an outline of their interests and relevant

qualifications for the project along with a CV by 23 March 2012 to Miss

Rachel Corbishley at [email protected]. You also need to

apply online for an appropriate programme (either PhD in Chinese Studies

or one of the MA programmes listed above). To apply for a place on a

programme please go to:


Please note: you are advised to submit your programme application to the

University by *7 March 2012*, to ensure that you are in receipt of an

offer of a place on a programme in advance of the 23 March 2012

studentship deadline.


Further information please contact: Professor Dagmar Schaefer,

University of Manchester, Samuel Alexander Building, Oxford Road,

Manchester, M13 9PL, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 161 275 7052.  Email:

[email protected]