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School of Geography

Applications are invited for an AHRC-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award (PhD studentship commencing autumn 2014) on ‘Family history, place and diaspora’ in the RGS-IBG collections


Queen Mary University of London and The Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers)  

The studentship is one of four PhD awards made by the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) between the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) and the Royal Society of London. The project will be supervised by Professor Alison Blunt and Professor Cathy McIlwaine (Queen Mary, University of London) and Dr Catherine Souch and Alasdair MacLeod (RGS-IBG). The studentship is fully funded for three years full-time (or five years part-time) and will begin in October 2014.  

The Studentship
The PhD studentship will develop an intergenerational methodology to study family history, place and diaspora in the RGS-IBG collections. The research will explore the relationships between family history and community heritage in diaspora, focusing on those who migrated to post-war Britain. Through participatory research with the maps, photographs, objects and documents held in the archives and collections at the RGS-IBG, alongside participants’ own photographs, letters and possessions, the research will explore the significance of places of ancestral residence, departure, journeys, settlement, networks and return in diasporic family history. The research will make a distinctive contribution to broader debates about the relationships between family and diaspora, family and community history, and diaspora and place, as well as the analysis of public and personal archives and collections in diaspora. In addition to the PhD thesis, the research will lead to the development of resources to inspire and facilitate family history at the RGS-IBG for a wide range of individuals and community groups.

How to Apply
Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree and normally have completed a Masters degree by October 2014, in geography, history, migration studies or another relevant discipline. Applicants need to satisfy AHRC eligibility requirements (see the AHRC Student Funding Guide 2013-14). Full details about the studentship and how to apply are available here

The deadline for applications is Friday 28 March and interviews will be held at Queen Mary University of London on Thursday 24 April 2014.

For further information, please contact Alison Blunt ( or Cathy McIlwaine (



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