AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship

National Portrait Gallery, London and Centre for Research and Education in Arts and Media (CREAM) in the Westminster School of Media, Arts and Design

Three years, full time

£14,553 pa stipend plus fee waiver

Applications are invited for an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Collaborative Doctoral Studentship, available to candidates who are UK residents with Home fee status (and meet the UK residency requirement, normally consisting of three years residence for purposes other than education), starting in September 2017. The studentship is one of three awarded to the Thames Consortium, which comprises three London-based institutions: The National Portrait Gallery (NPG), The National Archives, and the National Maritime Museum.

What can a woman do with a camera? Women and the practice of studio portraiture, 1890s–1960s

This project aims to explore the rich history of studio portraiture practiced by women in the UK from the 1890s to the 1960s. In 1890 it is claimed that only one woman ran a leading London West End photography business. By 1911 the number of women employed in the photographic industry had reached over five thousand, offering women newfound independence through the profession of photography. This CDA offers an opportunity to explore the careers of professional women photographers in the commercial sector in this period, and the consequences of their work for British social and cultural history. The project will explore how studio photography develops alongside evolving ideas about the role women were to play in British society. The research will also reflect upon the ways in which women photographers have contributed to and fundamentally changed the practice of studio portraiture.

The National Portrait Gallery’s outstanding Photographs Collection will be a key resource. The student will have unique access to substantial collection holdings of portraits by women studio photographers practicing at the turn of the century in Britain, and early to mid-twentieth century studio portraitists. This visual material is supplemented by letters and correspondence, period magazines and journals held in the Heinz Archive and Library.