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Funding for three PhD Students

Posted on 19 June 2013

Applications are invited for three AHRC CDA studentships commencing October 2013 on ‘Within the Walls’: Heritage Values and the Historic City

Two of these awards will be based in the Department of Archaeology (supervised by Dr John Schofield), and the third in the Department of History (supervised by Dr Sarah Rees Jones). The projects are in partnership with City of York Council.

Using York’s unique position as a ‘heritage laboratory’, the three closely related projects will together make a critical assessment of contemporary heritage values as they relate to (1) the built environment and (2) the buried archaeological resource (both based in Archaeology) and (3) the archive (in History), in relation to national and international criteria on the one hand, and community-led views and values on the other. They will explore the complex relations that exist between heritage and community, and how these can be better aligned to serve contemporary society. As heritage becomes less expert-led, and more community driven, this critical assessment is timely as is realignment of the way heritage values are construed and applied in practice.

Each award pays fees and an annual maintenance grant (currently £13,726 per year), with City of York Council contributing £2000 pa to project costs, including student research expenses. The usual AHRC eligibility rules apply to these studentships, including having an appropriate masters degree by October 2013 and AHRC’s residential requirements.

Applications should be made online ( and will comprise: an application form incorporating a Personal Statement (which should specify which of the three PhD projects you are interested in, and a statement of how your research interests and experiences to date will contribute to the success of the project); a CV; two references; and two pieces of written work. The closing date is 19th July 2013. Interviews will be held in mid August 2013. Informal inquiries should be made to Dr John Schofield ( or to Dr Sarah Rees Jones (


While the specific details of each project will be discussed with the successful candidates on the commencement of their research, the following parameters have been established:

Traditionally expert-led, the management and administrative frameworks evident across the heritage sector are increasingly hard to sustain, given a growing emphasis on localism, and on participatory and inclusive social practice. This project comprises three separate but linked PhD research topics which overlap in this key strategic policy area, and aim to create new methodologies for future and socially engaged heritage practice. York provides an ideal ‘heritage laboratory’ in which to test ideas and shape practice. The aims and objectives of the three studies are:

i A critical engagement with the UNESCO concept of Outstanding Universal Value (OUV), using York and other comparable historic cities as a case study. Research questions include: an assessment of the relevance of OUV in an increasingly plural and culturally diverse society. Has World Heritage had its day? How relevant is World Heritage to the communities who 'own' and live with it?

ii A York-specific study which aims to critically assess the range of heritage values alongside the expert-led management practices which they seek to inform. Particular consideration will be given to the relative weighting attached to economic and historical/evidential values alongside social values as they relate to both the built environment and below-ground deposits. Sites across York are designated and afforded statutory protection on the basis of their 'national importance' but how do such national judgements relate to locally held views of everyday sites and places? How can local 'heritage communities' participate more actively in and inform heritage practice? This study will identify key stakeholder groups including marginalised (inc Traveller and Homeless) communities.

iii A critical engagement with the historic archives of the City of York. This project will be informed and shaped by national strategic priorities for archives which emphasise partnership, sustainability, and the critical development of access to archival resources (both analogue and digital). Questions concern the value of the archive to local communities and its role in supporting tourism, community cohesion, education and learning, adult health and wellbeing and the young peoples' agenda.