Announcement About Our Royal Patronage

Museum announces fully funded multi-disciplinary PhD

Published on: 7 December 2021

The RAF Museum and Newcastle University are currently inviting applications for a fully funded multi-disciplinary PhD focused on the care and management of aviation collections.

This project will involve researching the exhibition and installation of aircraft, and other large objects, in long-term or permanent suspension. The research consists of two, mutually reinforcing sections. The first considers the history and design practice of these installations, and their relevance to visitor experience, utilising a national collection as a primary case study. The second will establish methods for monitoring suspended objects in-situ, using remote sensing and monitoring networks, to ensure an object’s integrity over time.

Drawing these together with an understanding of organisational change, the project will address a deficit in collections management/conservation research and practices with relevance for museums in the UK and internationally.

In line with the aims of the project, the successful candidate will be able to demonstrate that they can work across different disciplines – Museum Studies, Electronic Engineering and Organisational Studies. Recognising that candidates are unlikely to have this breadth of expertise, we are looking for someone whose experience might lie in one area but who can demonstrate a willingness and ability to work in the others.

The candidate will be hosted by the School of Arts & Cultures at Newcastle University but will also spend significant time in the School of Engineering as well as placements at the RAF Museum site. The project is funded as a Staff-led Collaborative Doctoral Award by the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership. As part of this, the successful candidate will receive a full studentship (covering stipend + fees). The studentship is open to both UK and international students.

The successful candidate will have access to training provided by Northern Bridge as well as training provided by the two School at Newcastle University. At the outset of the project, the RAFM Conservation Centre, which operates as a learning environment, will provide an initiation into engineering knowledge and skills which will allow the student, who may come from a non-technical background, to then develop their knowledge further in the context of the training programmes and expertise made available at Newcastle University. By the end of the PhD, we hope that the student will have developed a unique skill set that will allow them to explore future career opportunities in Heritage Management, Collections Management, History and/or Heritage Engineering.

For further information about the project, including a more detailed project outline, please go to: , expand the ‘Projects Now Recruiting for Entry in October 2022’ and scroll down to find, ‘Museum Exhibitions ‘in Flight’: Displaying & Conserving Aircraft as Suspended Objects‌’. The header is a link which will take you to the project outline.

If you would like further information about the project, please contact Bruce Davenport (Newcastle University, ). For more information about the studentship and the application process, please read through the material on the link above. If you would like to apply, please submit an Expression of Interest (2-page CV and covering letter explaining background and suitability for this interdisciplinary project) by February 14, 2022.


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