The studentship is one of four Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDAs) offered this year by the SWW Consortium. Successful students will take up their awards in September 2018. Potential students should contact the academic supervisor listed below in the first instance, with a view to submitting their application as part of the open competition for a SWW DTP studentship, which opens on Monday 27th November 2017 and closes on Thursday 11th January 2018, 11.59pm GMT. Please note that the deadline for expressions of interest to the academic supervisor is 14th December 2017.
Thomas Hardy, Victorian Studies, Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies
Hardy, Dorset and the wider world
The project, a collaboration between Exeter, Southampton, Dorset County Museum (DCM) and Dorset History Centre (DHC), will explore Thomas Hardy’s involvement in the social, legal and political worlds of Dorset and examine ways in which Hardy draws on these experiences in his fiction, often to social ends. It will make a substantial contribution to Victorian Studies and to Cultural Heritage and Museum Studies, allowing the student to track with new precision, and in unprecedented detail, relations between the regional, national and international. The project would also enjoy support from Exeter’s new Digital Humanities Lab.
It will be a timely and important project for Dorset County Museum’s HLF-funded redevelopment as part of its vision for Tomorrow’s Museum for Dorset, and for DHC which is awaiting the outcome of an HLF bid ‘Securing the Past’ to extend and refurbish DHC as well as conduct a major programme of public engagement. The project will be central to Exeter’s Centre for Literature and Archives (CLA) and the Centre for Victorian Studies (CVS), and Southampton’s Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research(SCNR). There is also scope for involvement with Exeter’s Centre for Medical History and Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health and Southampton’s Research Centre for Medical and Health Humanities. The student would have the opportunity to become involved with the REF2021 Impact Case Study 'Promoting the Preservation, Presentation and Public Understanding of the work of Thomas Hardy', which Richardson is leading, and to inform the work of the Hardy Country Steering Group whose members currently include Exeter, the National Trust, DCM, Dorset AONB, the Thomas Hardy Society and Bath Spa University. They would also have the opportunity to attend the annual BAVS conference (at Exeter in August 2018) and SCNR’s next international conference (September 2018), ‘Regionalism in the Long 19th Century’.
Dorset County Museum is an independent museum. Owned and managed by the Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society, of which Hardy was a member, it receives financial support from Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council. Dorset History Centre (DHC) is the home of the Joint Archives Service (JAS) for Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole and it also holds the Dorset Local Studies and Dorset Authors library collections.
DCM holds the Thomas Hardy Archive and Collection, the largest Hardy collection in the world, recently selected for the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Programme register. It includes over 5000 unpublished letters to Hardy which reveal Hardy’s involvement in a global network, engaged in a wide range of debates; it also includes drafts of letters from Hardy, often pencilled on correspondence he received. DCM also holds the Dorset County Chronicle, from which Hardy took notes, and DCM’s original manuscripts of The Woodlanders, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Under the Greenwood Tree are stored at DHC. Under-researched collections at DHC range from the records of the borough authority to the records of the courts (Petty Sessions and Quarter Sessions), prisons and hospitals. The Quarter Sessions archive – the quarterly records of the courts which dealt with a huge range of civil and criminal matters – provides a cross section of contemporary life. The student would gain valuable experience in the management of archives and museum collections and in advising on exhibitions and outreach and public engagement projects, and they will develop expertise in the care, description and analysis of manuscript materials. They would be trained by the organisations’ archivists and curators and would gain a wide range of transferable skills.
The student would draw on the expertise of Professors Angelique Richardson and Mary Hammond, including Hammond’s co-edited Rural-Urban Relationships in the Nineteenth Century: Uneasy Neighbours? (Routledge, 2016) and Richardson’s forthcoming The Politics of Thomas Hardy Biology, Culture and Environment. Both supervisors have extensive experience supervising PhD students, including Collaborative Doctoral Award holders. The student would join dynamic and supportive research communities at Exeter and Southampton and DCM and DHC will support the student by providing advice and guidance on the collections and a welcoming working environment.
Academic contact: Professor Angelique Richardson, University of Exeter – A.Richardson@exeter.ac.uk
Partner contacts: Dr Jon Murden, DCM Director – email@example.com and Sam Johnston, DHC County Archivist – firstname.lastname@example.org