RAF Museum Midlands Research Bursary Announced

Published on: 27 March 2023

The Midlands region has a long and important connection to the history of the RAF and British aviation, which endures to the present day.

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

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 range 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. Two of the bursaries require no prior academic qualifications.

What is the bursary award?

Four £6,000 bursaries will be awarded. Each will support a research project for a period of 12 months, ending in June 2024.

£2,000 will be paid to successful applicants upon signing of a contract, £2,000 mid-way through the research period and the remaining money will be paid upon completion of research satisfying the terms and conditions of the scheme. The award is conditional on acceptance of these terms and conditions, including the delivery of agreed outputs.

The bursaries will support a programme of research and dissemination sharing the story of the RAF, and its people, relevant to the Midlands region with opportunities to connect this to the RAF Museum’s extensive collection. Research considering the history of aviation, and the history of the aviation industry, may also be involved where it is relevant to the wider story of the RAF.

Bursary-holders will make use of local and national archives as well as published secondary sources. They will have the opportunity to work with research staff and curators at the RAF Museum, to develop their research practice, to share their results, and to co-create new content which will support exhibitions, displays and engagement programming at the RAF Museum’s Midlands site, offsite and online.

Bursary holders will be required to attend meetings at the RAF Museum Midlands to discuss progress and develop their ideas with other bursary holders. The bursary holders will also be required to submit a case study with the results of their research. The case study should also demonstrate the potential uses of the research in future exhibitions at RAF Museum Midlands, and for interpreting our collection for our Midlands audiences.

We would expect the case study to consist of a minimum of 2,000 words. We welcome proposals which propose alternatives to written case studies, but in these instances we would still expect accompanying written outputs such as the transcript of a video or audio production.

The case studies will be published on the Museum website and may be incorporated into exhibitions, or as part of other project outputs.

Who can apply?

The bursaries will be provided to individuals at different stages of research experience and skills development.

  • Two to applicants from the Midlands region, or who have a connection to it. Applicants do not need to have an academic background in history.
  • One to a postgraduate student, who holds an MA in History, and/or staff in heritage institutions such as libraries, museums, archives and galleries.
  • One to academics, Early Career Researchers, Doctoral Students, or those working at a comparable level.

Applicants will need to propose a research project which is relevant to the Museum’s local audience in the Midlands, and which will deepen our understanding of the RAF story. Applications which do not involve a connection to the Midlands region will not be considered.

How to apply?

The project proposal must have relevance to the story of the RAF and the Midlands. Overall, the judges will be looking for researchers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds. They will not prejudge the topics of research, but possible areas for study include:

  • Aviation, aerospace and industrial heritage
  • Material culture and display
  • Politics and aviation in the Midlands
  • Diversity in aviation heritage
  • The people of the RAF
  • Aviation and culture in the Midlands
  • RAF operations and training in the Midlands
  • The RAF and/or aviation, and its connection to sport in the Midlands
  • Networks of participation in aviation, aviation industries, or the RAF
  • The evolution of the language of aviation in the Midlands
  • The history of institutions and organisations connected to, or part of, aviation and/or the RAF
  • The history of RAF and aviation heritage institutions in the Midlands.

This list is not exhaustive, and we are keen to attract the widest possible range of topics.

Please return the application form (link below) with a current CV to the RAF Museum’s Historian and Academic Access Manager, Samuel Hollins (samuel.hollins@rafmuseum.org). If you wish to discuss an application informally, you are warmly encouraged to contact Samuel.

The closing date for applications is 14 May 2023.

[RAF Museum Midlands Research Bursary Application]

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