Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council
Professor John Schofield (University of York, Department of Archaeology)
Dr Megan Leyland (Senior Properties Historian, English Heritage)
Although many heritage sites have examples of historic graffiti, until recently it has not generally formed an integral part of interpretation or research. However, the public response to English Heritage’s recent Richmond Castle Cell Block project, its work on graffiti at Deal Castle and other EH initiatives such as the recording of graffiti at Conisbrough Castle, has shown clear public interest and research potential. This project, focused on the north of England, would form a continuation of research undertaken at Richmond Castle and start drawing together earlier work on graffiti within EH's estate across the region. It will create a typology of graffiti types from sites of all periods. It will also, for the first time and through a participatory approach involving curators working alongside contemporary graffiti artists, examine historic graffiti from the perspective of contemporary ‘mark making’ activities. This part of the project will also therefore address key social inclusion agenda, creating opportunities to work with non-traditional audiences, now increasingly valued within the heritage sector and specifically defined in EH’s Corporate Strategy.
This studentship feeds directly into EH’s research strategy by working to better understand the national picture and by developing assets which could be used to inform interpretation, such as a catalogue of graffiti in a region and a transferable research framework. By better understanding both the historic and contemporary significance of graffiti it will also inform conservation practice. The research is thus a crucial and timely intervention in a significant debate on recording historic graffiti, assessing its significance and taking values-led decisions on their retention/removal.
Historic graffiti can provide information on past lives, and the use of and values attached to particular spaces over time. Working alongside contemporary graffiti artists can help us to build new interpretations, and see these historic spaces and their graffiti from different perspectives.
Research questions fall into three categories. First, there is a human aspect to the unofficial and unsanctioned act of creating graffiti and the appropriation of a small part of a building by 'mark making'. The project will ask:
Second, the project will address questions of value, which tie into heritage protection, resilience and recording:
Third, graffiti also has the potential for new stories which might not be discoverable through more conventional methods such as historic buildings recording:
Together these questions will help the project answer the central questions, being (1) why graffiti matter and to whom, and (2) how understanding graffiti and the processes by which they are made can help better inform their future management and wider appreciation.
Details of Award
*based on RCUK National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2018 of £15,009 plus an additional £550 per annum for CDA students
How to apply
As part of your application, you will need to include:
Application Deadline is 26th April 2019 at 23h59min
Interviews will take place in week commencing 27th May 2019
For further information you may contact:
John Schofield (University of York) - email@example.com
Megan Leyland (English Heritage) - firstname.lastname@example.org