|Funding for:||UK Students, EU Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||Not Specified|
|Placed On:||30th March 2023|
|Closes:||3rd May 2023|
Project Title: Collecting the Ancient Andes: Antiquities, Artefacts, and Their Histories at the British Museum
SRU/UEA and The British Museum (BM) are seeking proposals for a fully-funded doctoral study (CDP) of archival and object collections at the BM.
The BM holds significant ancient Andean collections from the 19th and early 20th century in its Americas Section. This CDP project investigates their history, and aims to help establish their extent, make comparative characterisations, reveal the intellectual networks and connections that led to their formation, and to demonstrate their past and current relevance to a variety of stakeholders.
There is extensive material for which collection data is not currently known but potentially recoverable through dedicated research at The BM. The successful candidate would help document what is in the collection, and also how it got there. This project offers an opportunity to recognise and add value to key BM collections of the ancient Andes. The project also complements new exhibition initiatives, which would be helped by the CDP’s provenance research and new historical framing of the collections.
This project has great potential to illuminate the period’s collecting approach to South America, the intellectual milieu and social networks, especially in relation to these questions:
(1) What Andean materials and kinds/styles can be attributed to the period in question (approx. 1850s-1950s)?
(2) Through what networks and relationships did these objects arrive in London and the BM, and how were these connected internationally (Europe, USA, Peru)? What were the economics and politics that impacted acquisition and circulation?
(3) How can these objects and collections illuminate how Peru, the Andes and Latin America were understood and depicted during the period? Who were the major players and what shifts occurred?
The principal research methods will be close examination and comparative analysis of early collections (principally BM), and forensic research in select museums, university and civic libraries and archives in the UK and Peru. The archives include registers, correspondence, notes and photographic materials. The breadth of the BM collections allows considerable flexibility to select disciplinary orientations and match methodological approaches according to student’s interests and skillset. Given the richness of the Andean collections (esp. ceramics, textiles, metalwork, stone carvings), a wealth of new information and insights should emerge, of value to museums and the academic community as well as to the student’s career development.
The project will be a long overdue, reflexive appraisal of how Andean collections were formed in relation to collectors’ orientations and activities, and to institutional choices during Victorian- and later intellectual and social contexts when objects and collections from Peru and all around the globe played an increasingly seminal role. By elucidating the ways that collections developed alongside these developments, the doctoral study also helps support more transparent curatorial practices and will enrich knowledge transfer in the future.
PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Prof George Lau
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