An Announcement about Our Royal Patronage

Museum announces fully funded PhD

Published on: 13 December 2022

The RAF Museum and King’s College London are currently inviting applications for a fully funded (academic fees and maintenance stipend) Collaborative Doctoral Award Studentship to research, write, and complete a dissertation on ‘Gender, Culture and Class Structure: The influence of women on the RAF’s development in the early 20th Century’.

Commandant Dame Helen Gwynne-Vaughan

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, the project will examine the role of gender on the RAF’s culture and class-structure. Created in 1918, the RAF deliberately sought to create ‘new traditions’, its own unique culture (distinct from the older British armed services), and to promote ‘air mindedness’ to the British public. Historical narratives of the RAF have marginalised the role of gender in this process.

Elite women played a distinct role in the development of the RAF which has been negotiated by treating their presence as being ‘merely’ spouses and family members, rather than actors and influencers. This project will close this gap and identify wider patterns in British history requiring us to reimagine the role of gender in organisational culture.

It will employ nationally significant but under-utilised collections to explore the history of the ‘women behind’ the leaders of the RAF, both military and political, and the gendered nature of their marginalisation. Collections held by the RAF Museum  include the papers of Lady Trenchard previously neglected by scholars who have focused on her husband, Lord Trenchard, the first Chief of the Air Staff.

This project will identify a broader pattern of female influence in the early 20th Century which remains largely obscured within British historiography.

The lead supervisor will be Dr David Jordan (Freeman Air & Space Institute, Defence Studies Department, KCL). The supervision team will include Professor David Edgerton (Department of History, KCL), Dr Sophy Antrobus (Freeman Air & Space Institute, KCL), and Dr Harry Raffal (Royal Air Force Museum).

Candidates should fulfil the appropriate King’s College London admissions requirements for a PhD – Bachelor’s degree with 1st class or 2:1 Honours degree and a Master of Arts with Distinction or Merit in a related subject.

In exceptional cases, particularly strong applicants who do not hold a Distinction or Merit in their Master’s degree may be considered.

For queries specific to the project, please contact the project’s lead supervisor David Jordan on

How to apply

Full details of how to apply and relevant documents can be found on the LAHP website

All candidates must submit their application for a PhD place to King’s College London prior to submitting their CDA application to LAHP. You are advised to apply for your place of study well in advance of the LAHP application deadline to ensure that you have time to discuss your application with your proposed supervisor.

After submitting an application for a programme of postgraduate study at your chosen LAHP institution, you will receive an application ID number from the institution. The LAHP application form asks you to provide this ID number.

You will also need to submit the LAHP CDA Studentship Application 2023-24 via the online portal.

As part of your application, you will be required to submit:

  • a LAHP Diversity Monitoring Form
  • a copy of your CV
  • copies of Transcripts for all relevant degrees
  • 2 academic References, or 1 academic and 1 professional reference (through the online portal you will be able to send reference requests to your referees’ email addresses. Please ensure you enter these correctly and that you inform them that they will need to submit their reference via the online portal. It is your responsibility to ensure that both references are submitted on time for you to complete your application submission by the deadline below.

The full application will need to be submitted by 5pm on Friday 27th January 2023.

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