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PhD Studentship: Recycling and reinvention in Reformation England: Medieval religious textiles in Tudor homes and families, c.1540 - c.1603

University of Exeter - College of Humanities

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: From £16,062 Tuition fees and an annual stipend allowance at Research Council rates, currently, per year, for 2022-23
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 12th May 2022
Closes: 6th June 2022
Reference: 4461

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship on Recycling and reinvention in Reformation England: Medieval religious textiles in Tudor homes and families, c. 1540 – c. 1603 at the University of Exeter in partnership with the National Trust.  The studentship is offered by the REACH consortium under the AHRC’s Collaborative Doctoral Partnership scheme.

Project Description:

Past studies of medieval religious artworks have concentrated on patronage, the process of manufacture and the original context and use, while those concerned with the Tudor period have often been confined either to iconoclastic destruction or the Counter-Reformation reaction. This project aims to connect the artworks that survive with the wider material environment and social experience of the mid-Tudor and Elizabethan periods. It seeks to bridge a long-standing gap in knowledge of the dispersal, preservation and domestic reuse of medieval artforms after the closure of hundreds of churches and the extinction of chantries and the subsequent official sanction of traditional rituals of parish worship.

The point-of-entry into the project will be the collection of medieval textiles formed by Bess of Hardwick at Hardwick Hall; over the course of the project it is anticipated that the research will extend to other surviving artworks held by the National Trust at other sites and those also in the collections of other museums both within and beyond the REACH Consortium. Throughout, there will be a close engagement with the archival records – surviving in national and local archives and libraries – that document the dispersal, sale and onward transmission of preserved medieval artworks and their placement in households and domestic interiors.

The student will have the opportunity to develop individual areas of interest within the general enquiry. These may relate to medieval and Tudor textiles or to other artforms transmitted and transformed in the process of Reformations or to the social and cultural contexts in which this response to religious change occurred. This is a research development opportunity equally for those with a background in cultural and social history, history of art and visual culture and other aspects of materiality.

The student will be expected to engage with the work of the National Trust curatorial team at Hardwick Hall, where they will have (supervised) access to the medieval textile collection. Over the course of the project they are likely to access material in other Trust collections as well as those held elsewhere depending on the developing direction of their project.

The Partnership:

The project has been devised by Emma Slocombe, Senior National Curator at the National Trust, whose specialism is historic house textiles and interiors, and James Clark, Professor of History at the University of Exeter, whose specialism is the Pre-Reformation Church in England and the cultural consequences of the Henrician Reformation. The project benefits from the Trust’s continuing conservation, research and interpretation of the recycled medieval textiles at Hardwick Hall and the studentship awardee will have the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills alongside the Trust’s own team.

AHRC CDP Programme 3:

The aim of the programme is to foster collaboration between universities and non-academic contexts of research, skills development and training, impact and public engagement. Collaborative Doctoral Awards offer an enhanced programmes of doctoral study bringing career development opportunities beyond the standard academic route. CDP students become part of UK-wide cohort of with access to CDP Cohort Development.

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