“Unlike a Version”: Exciting news about a funded PhD research opportunity with National Galleries of Scotland

The Madonna of the Annunciation, Francesco Allegrini, National Galleries of Scotland

UPDATE, 3 April 2019: The advert for this studentship is now live on the University of Edinburgh web site! Closing date is 3 May 2019.


We are so excited about this new PhD studentship that we want to let people know it’s coming. We’ll soon be advertising a fully funded AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (CDP) studentship, for a project we are (for the moment!) calling “Unlike a version: the lives of digitised artworks”. It was a working title, but we all found it so funny that we decided to keep it – and that probably tells you something about the team our lucky student will be joining (and in case you aren’t a 1980s-era Madonna fan, this is the reference (Youtube link) ). The studentship will start in October 2019.

If you don’t know about CDPs, these are amazing funded studentships that not only pay fees and a stipend (for eligible UK/EU students – there are some rules about this), but create really brilliant opportunities for students to be immersed in a cultural heritage organisation over the period of their studies, and support their professional development and scholarship with travel funding, a student development fund, and membership of a network of other doctoral students across the UK.

So: this project is the perfect opportunity for someone whose interests span art, digitisation, digital cultures, engagement and interpretation to spend a few years in Edinburgh working with a team of supervisors from National Galleries of Scotland (Christopher Ganley and Màiri Lafferty) and the University of Edinburgh (Jen Ross and Melissa Terras) on a project that will explore the meanings and movements of digitised artworks in the context of NGS’ collections. We think the right starting position here is that digitised artworks are more than merely versions of the ‘real thing’: they have meaning and value in their own right, and significance for sharing, interpretation, connection and inspiration. The project will develop a richer picture of digital objects and how they contribute to the shifting boundaries of the institution, to curatorial practice, and to NGS’ ambitions to open more of its collections to digital re-use.

The project and the supervisory team are obviously great, but this is also a magnificent time to be a creative/digital/data person in Edinburgh. Do you know about the Edinburgh Futures Institute? The Creative Informatics programme? The city-wide Data Driven Innovation programme? The Centre for Research in Digital Education? What about the festivals, the heritage organisations, the cultural scene? All happening here, with people, projects, networks and opportunities second to none.

If this sounds interesting to you, and you want to know more, please contact me! I’m happy to have informal conversations and answer questions.