Fully-funded PhD studentship: 'Geo-locating the spatial and architectural history of pre-modern cities’, University of Exeter

In collaboration with the University of Exeter’s College of Humanities and the creative industry company specialising in geo-located audio tours (AppTrails) Calvium Ltd, we are offering a UK/EU PhD studentship to explore how digital approaches and locative media have unlocked the potential for site-specific narrative and history delivered in the urban realm in direct dialogue with extant sites and objects. The start date of this studentship is flexible but must start by 1 June 2015.
Geo-locating the spatial and architectural history of pre-modern cities
Digital technologies and the fast and ubiquitous adoption of mapping technologies delivered through GPS-enabled devices have renewed and invigorated the ‘spatial turn’ in humanities that cultural geographer Denis Cosgrove identified around a decade ago. Digital humanities are rapidly reconfiguring various research fields, with the spatial turn particularly evident in the application of GIS-technology applied to mapping and engaging users with aspects of past urban environments. That so many European cities preserve extensive portions of historic fabric (and street layouts) make these environments uniquely suited to re-inscribing past meanings to place through tagging of information to them – the city understood as text and palimpsest is one that is now open to translation, and geo-location technologies for smartphones enable this process to be locative, embodied and kinetic.
The proposed PhD will explore significant and transitional moments enabled by innovative digital approaches developed over the last few decades applied to the exploration of narrative and history in the urban realm, while also reporting on current trends and future directions. Themes and issues to be considered will include the application of geo-location technologies to narrative, place and history in urban space; it will also encompass a consideration of objects and their representation and connection to digital as well as physical place. Preference may be given to candidates with previous knowledge or interest in urban and cultural history of the UK and/or Europe before 1700. It is likely that the successful candidate will have a demonstrable interest in two or more of the following: oral storytelling, social media and locative narrative, experiential and performance-based research practices, architectural and urban history and theory, the internet of things.
We are seeking candidates with an interest in these issues and who are able to develop their own research proposal to address some aspect of the broad subject area. While academic supervision of the project will be based at Exeter, the PhD project will combine embedded engagement with the practice of the creative economy partner (Calvium Ltd.), with traditional research-based scholarship and reflection on these activities in relation to their application in contemporary culture and adoption by users among the general public. Regular and prolonged placement activity will take place in Bristol with Calvium.
The research themes above are intended as guidance and candidates are strongly encouraged to familiarise themselves with the work of Calvium through their website. We are looking for a proposal that defines clear research aims (without being overly ambitious), engages with existing case examples and describes approaches that would be applied. The primary supervisor will be Professor Fabrizio Nevola, with a second supervisor from the College of Humanities based on compatibility of expertise.
To apply
To be considered for this doctoral award, you must complete an online application form where you submit some personal details and upload a covering letter, a full CV, your research proposal, transcripts, the details of two academic referees and, if relevant, proof of your English language proficiency, by 1 March 2015.
In addition you must also ensure that your referees email their references to the Postgraduate Administrator at humanities-pgadmissions@exeter.ac.uk by 1 March 2015. Please note that we will not be contacting referees to request references, you must arrange for them to be submitted to us by the deadline.
All application documents must be submitted in English. Certified translated copies of academic qualifications must also be provided.
More information
For more information contact: Prof Fabrizio Nevola – Chair of Art History and Visual Culture f.nevola@exeter.ac.uk

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