The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and will be supervised by Dr Mathias SeiterDr Melanie Bassett and Professor Brad Beaven.

Successful applicants will receive a bursary to cover tuition fees at the UK rate for three years and £2,000 for research costs/ conference attendance. 

Heritage institutions face unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. The fall in revenue and new virtual ways of experiencing heritage, ask questions about the relevance and shape of physical heritage spaces. It is therefore more important than ever for museums to build resilience by ensuring that they are relevant in a changing world. 

This exciting PhD project will allow you to both advance the scholarly understanding of museum practices across Europe and to support naval heritage institutions by developing strategies on how they can meet the challenges of the future.

Naval heritage is explicitly linked to histories of empire (or the loss of it), nationalism, and warfare. Naval history therefore plays an important reference point for the construction of national identities. At the same time, recent research has opened up new horizons for naval museums by stressing that BAME as well as LGBTQ histories are relevant to maritime settings. Heritage institutions have the opportunity to reach out to new audiences and to stay socially relevant.

By comparing naval museums, museum ships, as well as naval exhibitions in military museums, you’ll explore if and how themes such as nation, imperialism, war, race, or queer history are currently addressed by heritage institutions in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Austria. Using methodologies from History, Heritage and Museum Studies, you will be able to uncover the different historical narratives that museums construct and show how these histories are reflected in the design of heritage spaces and through the display of artefacts. The comparison of three unique naval histories will allow you to identify differences between national curatorial practices and to highlight the similarities which exist regardless of national context and locality. Your comprehensive study will enable you to develop practical guidelines for professionals working in naval museums at the final stage of the PhD project. 

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