Slave Ownership and the National Portrait Gallery, London. New AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership studentship. Deadline 3 June 2020
Birkbeck and the National Portrait Gallery are pleased to announce the availability of a fully funded collaborative doctoral studentship through the REACH Consortium from October 2020 under the Arts and Humanites Research Council’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Scheme.
This project, Slave-ownership and the National Portrait Gallery, London, examines the links between the National Portrait Gallery and historical transatlantic slavery. In particular, it seeks to understand the impact of wealth derived from slavery on its founders, donors, and the sitters represented in its portraits, thus acknowledging a history that has long remained hidden.
The project will be jointly supervised by Dr Sarah Thomas and Dr Lucy Peltz and the student will be expected to spend time at both Birkbeck and the National Portrait Gallery, as well as becoming part of the wider cohort of CDP funded students across the UK.
The National Portrait Gallery (NPG) was founded in 1856 to collect portraits of those people who made a notable contribution to British history. By closely scrutinising the early history of one particular institution – its personnel, and the collecting choices of its trustees –through the lens of slave-ownership and its profits, this project will have broad implications for the wider museum sector, exploring in particular issues of national identity and the ethics of funding that have particular currency in today’s decolonising debates.
The studentship will offer access to the NPG’s expertise and collections, working with a range of colleagues under the direction of Dr Lucy Peltz, Head of Collection Displays (Tudor to Regency) and Senior Curator 18th Century Collections. This is a particularly timely moment for a research project of this nature as the Gallery will be in the process of developing Inspiring People, a major refurbishment and redisplay of its collection which will see the Gallery relaunch in 2023 as an exciting public cultural space in which to participate, challenge and debate British history, culture and contemporary life. Consequently, this research project’s focus and findings will contribute to the Gallery’s stated commitment to increasing institutional transparency and raising important questions about the legacies of empire in British society today.
Start date: 1 October 2020 [or later, depending on situation]
Application Deadline: Wednesday 3 June 2020, 2pm
Interviews will take place online on Tuesday 16 June, 2020
For further information and instructions on how to apply, see the document attached.
All best wishes,
Dr. Sarah Thomas
Director, Centre for Museum Cultures
London WC1H 0PD
Centre for Museum Cultures Website: http://www.bbk.ac.uk/museum-cultures/