AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship

‘Curating Armageddon’: Revealing the Heritage Significance of Dover Castle’s Cold War Collections

  • Funding: £19,237
  • Academic year: 2024/25
  • Open to: International (including EU) and UK (home) students
  • Qualification level: Postgraduate research
  • Number available: 1
Applications for 2024/25 are closed.

The University of York and English Heritage are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded Collaborative doctoral studentship under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships (CDP) scheme.

Using English Heritage’s unrivalled collection of Cold War objects at Dover Castle, this project aims to: 1) help EH develop a better understanding of its collections to inform future conservation, storage and retention strategies; 2) support EH in presenting its Cold War heritage to the public; and 3) set international standards for translating such large contemporary collections into meaningful resources for researchers, site visitors and the wider public.

This project will be jointly supervised by Professor John Schofield and Dr Harald Fredheim (Archaeology, University of York) and Dr Kathryn Bedford (Dover Castle, English Heritage) and Kevin Booth (York, English Heritage). While the student will be expected to spend time at Dover Castle in Kent, and occasionally other English Heritage offices, they will be based at King’s Manor at the University of York, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.

Project overview

Research by Historic England, English Heritage and others since the mid 1990s has produced a good understanding of Cold War infrastructure and how this relates to the fast-changing political landscape of the Cold War era. To date, architecture has formed the basis for this research. Yet alongside the surviving infrastructure are potentially millions of artefacts that can also play a significant role in understanding this period and presenting its history as a local, national and international resource for site visitors and researchers. These artefacts have rarely been subject to primary research yet they hold significant potential, not least through using innovative methods such as object biographies. Many of these artefacts are also in a fragile state partly due to their significance not being fully realised. This project is therefore both original and timely in realising this potential and applying novel approaches to give these items greater (including online) accessibility while defining their cultural significance and conservation needs.

The Cold War collection at Dover consists of about 8,000 objects. Of these, a core collection of around 1,500 objects relates to the tunnels complex at Dover Castle, designated RSG12. The remainder consist of artefacts rescued from other civil defence facilities including Corsham and the Easingwold Civil Defence College, some of which are of national importance.

Details of the award

  • CDP doctoral training grants fund full-time studentships for 4 years or part-time equivalent up to a maximum of 7 years, being six years of part-time study and one year writing up.       
  • The award pays tuition fees up to the value of the full-time home UKRI rate for PhD degrees. Research Councils UK Indicative Fee Level for 2023/2024 is £4,786
  • The award pays full maintenance for all students both home and international students. The UKRI National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2023/2024 is £19,237, plus a CDP maintenance payment of £600/year.
  • The student is eligible to receive an additional travel and related expenses grant during the course of the project courtesy of English Heritage worth up to £1,000 per year for 4 years.
  • The successful candidate will be eligible to participate in events organised for all Collaborative Doctoral Partnership students who are registered with different universities and studying with cultural and heritage organisations across the UK.

As a collaborative award, students will be expected to spend time at both the University and the English Heritage, in particular at Dover Castle in Kent.


Open to International (including EU) and UK (home) students.

Open to students in the Department of Archaeology.

This studentship is open to both Home and International applicants. 

To be classed as a home student, candidates must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter

Further guidance can be found here

International students are eligible to receive the full award for maintenance as are home students. They themselves will need to pay the difference between what the AHRC provides to the university for tuition and the charge made by the university for tuition fees for international students studying for a doctoral degree in Archaeology. This difference for 2024/25 is £17,394.

We want to encourage the widest range of potential students to study for a CDP studentship and are committed to welcoming students from different backgrounds to apply. We particularly welcome applications from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds as they are currently underrepresented at this level in this area. 

Applicants should ideally have or expect to receive a relevant Masters-level qualification in a relevant subject, or be able to demonstrate equivalent experience in a professional setting within heritage, museums and collections management.  

Applicants must be able to demonstrate an interest in the heritage sector and collections management, ideally with an additional interest in contemporary collections and specifically the Cold War. The applicant should show potential and enthusiasm for developing skills more widely in related areas.

All applicants must meet UKRI terms and conditions for funding.

How to apply

Application deadline: Thursday 30 May 2024, 11.59pm BST

You'll complete an online application for a PhD in Heritage Studies, although applicants also have the option to apply for a PhD in Archaeology if preferred. In your project proposal, you should prepare a statement which includes:

  • A short outline of relevant literature - circa  200 words
  • A short statement of how you will respond to the project brief (including some ideas around methods, your approach to the collections and how you will use it to address the research questions) - circa 500 words
  • A project timeline, in the form of a Gantt chart or similar

Interviews will take place at King’s Manor (University of York) on Monday 17 June 2024.

For further information about this project, please contact John Schofield at University of York by email.

Apply now

Contact details