Graduate School

The Material Culture of Mass Politics in Scotland, c.1815 – c.1914: AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Studentship

The application deadline for this award has now passed. This AHRC-funded PhD studentship will be awarded for academic year session 2017/18 and run over three years, subject to satisfactory progress.

The Studentship

The ‘long nineteenth century’ witnessed the development of a mass politics replete with material culture. This was especially evident around questions of parliamentary reform. Flags and banners, rosettes, commemorative medals, statues and monuments all made for a rich political life that was prominent in civic spaces and shaped individual and collective experiences.

In exploring the relationship of objects to mass politics the student will be encouraged to develop his/her research with reference to a number of questions:

  • Who made different objects and for what purposes?
  • How were political objects displayed or used and what meanings did they hold for those who owned, used or displayed them?
  • How can we explain the survival, re-use, and collection of the material culture of politics?

By conducting intensive research into the collections at National Museums Scotland and collections elsewhere in Britain, the student will make original contributions to understanding the development of ‘modern’ politics in Scotland and to how historians, museums and educators can best interpret the material artefacts of past political cultures.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Candidates must be suitably qualified at undergraduate and postgraduate Masters degree level, which will include a proven interest in material culture and/or political history.
  • Applicants must submit a covering letter, an application form, a sample of academic writing (c.3000 words) and final or interim transcripts of marks to date for undergraduate and Masters degree programmes. 
  • For candidates who are shortlisted, we also will require two favourable academic references.

Further Information and Application Procedure

In the first instance, candidates should apply for this award solely using this form and the documents listed above, and should not use the relevant University online PhD application procedure at this stage. Completed applications should be sent to

Selection Procedure

A short-listing meeting will be convened and short-listed candidates will be interviewed in Edinburgh or via video conference on 12 May 2017. The successful candidate then be required to submit an application for postgraduate study to the University of Edinburgh.

The application deadline is 26 April 2017.