Midlands Research Bursary Recipients Announced

Published on: 3 August 2023

The Royal Air Force Museum is delighted to announce that four recipients for the Midlands Research Bursary have now been selected. These are Paul Calder, Harry Bennett, Katie Berry, and Karen Pearson. Applications for these bursaries were highly competitive.

These four bursaries (each worth £6,000) are supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and are intended to foster research relevant to the Museum’s local audience in the Midlands which will deepen understanding of the RAF story. They form part of the Museum’s Inspiring Everyone: RAF Museum Midlands Development Programme.

Project Update - thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund

The bursaries are part of our development of a Museum research environment ‘by everyone, and for everyone’. Key to the success of this project will be the participation of researchers from a range of different backgrounds. The bursaries will support an intellectually diverse set of projects, and researchers interacting with each other, with mutual benefits to the various researchers through engaging with other scholars researching a wide range of historical topics.

The Selected Projects

Paul Calder aims to explore “Shared Experience: the relationship between the local community and RAF Lichfield” and will look to unpack the impact of the establishment of RAF Lichfield on the local community. Paul’s research proposes to examine both social and economic factors, and will focus on the relationship between airfield personnel and the local population. RAF Lichfield is of particular interest due to its extensive historical Commonwealth connections. 

Professor Harry Bennett proposes to research “The Impact of RAF Training and Operations in the Midlands during and after the Second World War: RAF Ashbourne 1941-54 A Case Study of the Historical, Heritage, Economic and Environmental and Human Legacies of Former Second World War Airfields”. The purpose of this project is to conduct a ground-breaking longitudinal study of the impact of a former Second World War airfield in the Midlands. Harry’s research will help address what is a very underserved historical area.

Katie Berry has plans to examine “RAF Hospital Rauceby, rehabilitation and recognition”. The proposed research would seek to understand more about the methods, treatments and results delivered at Rauceby, the way in which they are regarded as having influenced modern plastic surgery and how treatment at this hospital contributed to rehabilitation and recovery of badly burned aircrew.  Katie aims to capture and produce a rich tapestry of information and the personal stories of those RAF servicemen treated at RAF Rauceby, and that of any staff members who worked there. 

Karen Pearson will explore “The RAF and the Aerospace Industry in the Midlands: Progress Through Partnership”. Karen proposes to shine a light on pivotal collaborative activities of the RAF and the aerospace industry in the Midlands. This project offers to inspire future Midlands generations, spotlight key opportunities for innovation, and open eyes to career opportunities in and between sectors.

Resource Hub First Image

These projects will extend for one year and will involve close collaboration between the RAF Museum, its staff, and its resources, and the bursary holders. The objective is to produce tangible outputs which benefit scholarship and local Midlands communities.

The RAF Museum’s Inspiring Everyone: RAF Museum Midlands Development Programme has been made possible thanks to a generous investment from The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The Museum is developing plans further and ground works will commence in 2025.

Want to know more about our Midlands Development Programme?

To request a copy of the digital RAF Midlands Development Programme brochure please contact: development@rafmuseum.org

Made possible with the National Lottery Heritage Fund


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