AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, PhD Studentship

AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award, PhD Studentship for ‘The Migrant Eye: Reactivating the Photographic Past through Archives and Exhibitions in Liverpool and North West England’ (Communication & Media, University of Liverpool/Tate Liverpool) 

Closes: 5 February 2021

Type: Full time

Salary: Home Fees + Maintenance (£15,285, in 2020/21) for 3.5 years

Contact: Michelle.Henning@liverpool.ac.ukjblejmar@liverpool.ac.uk

Applications are invited for an AHRC CDA doctoral studentship offered by the University of Liverpool and Tate Liverpool AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership, to start in October 2021.

The studentship will be based in the Department of Communication and Media, School of the Arts, and will also involve periods of research based at Tate Liverpool. The successful applicant will work on a collaborative project led by Prof. Michelle Henning (Michelle.Henning@liverpool.ac.uk) and Dr. Jordana Blejmar (jblejmar@liverpool.ac.uk) with co-supervision from Lindsey Fryer (lindsey.fryer@tate.org.uk) at the Tate Liverpool.

The Project

This collaborative doctoral project between the University of Liverpool and Tate will investigate photography archives and the work of named photographers to address the experience of exiles, migrants, stateless, and marginalised people. The partnership will benefit from Tate Liverpool’s strong interest, under its new director, Helen Legg, in addressing the Liverpool region’s migration history and its multiculturalism, particularly in relation to its vibrant contribution to the arts and photography. Together, we are interested in the photographer as a marginalised or migrant figure, how marginalisation and the experience of migration might inform their gaze, how such photographers have come to contest and to shape a cultural and collective memory, and how that can inform contemporary curatorial, learning and interpretation practices.

The student will bring a prior interest and engagement with questions of diversity and ethnic minorities, in relation to contemporary and historic art and culture. In the recruitment process we will particularly welcome applications from Black and POC candidates. A core aim is to combine archival work with an approach to contemporary collections, exhibition and learning practices. The research will make an important and original contribution to curatorial, interpretation and learning programmes for Tate Liverpool‘s new collection display planned to open in early 2022. Furthermore, the student will be able to contribute to current refugee programmes at Tate Liverpool, which are part of Liverpool City’s Refugee and Asylum Seeker strategy.

The research will draw on archives in Liverpool, the Tate Collection of photography and other archives. For instance, Tudor Hart’s archive is spread across several collections:  Open Eye Gallery’s archive, the Tate Collection, and the National Gallery of Scotland. Other potential archives include the Sankofa project in National Museums Liverpool, the archives of the Merseyside Jewish Community in Liverpool Records Office (for a long time the largest Jewish community in England outside London), the archives of the Isle of Man internment camps, the women’s history archives in Liverpool, the collections of the Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester,) the National Science and Media Museum (Bradford), the Black Cultural Archives, the V&A collections, the National Archives, plus online archives and (potentially) relevant archives overseas.

Combining an historical and contemporary approach, this project will bring to light underexplored images and decolonize the photographic archive, but also activate historical images in the present. Its conceptual framework is informed by Walter Benjamin’s notion that the past is ‘charged with the here-and-now’ (1942) and Georges Didi-Huberman’s idea that images are ‘montages of heterogeneous times’ that anachronistically break the linearity of history (2018). Following such understandings of memory as a bridge between past, present and future, the project will consider what these images can say in relation to immigration, refugees and marginalized communities in contemporary Britain.

More information is on the direct link.