PhD Studentship in Photography and Digital Heritage

Distilling the Photographic Mass: Photography and Digital Heritage at the National Trust

DMU is offering a fully-funded 3-year PhD scholarship for this research project, commencing 1 October 2021. The stipend is pegged to the UKRI rate, currently at £15,609 per annum.

Deadline for applications: Monday 21 June 2021

The Project’s Lead Supervisor is Dr Gil Pasternak (Photographic History Research Centre – PHRC / De Montfort University), the Second Supervisor is Dr Giuliana Tiripelli (Media Discourse Centre – MDC / De Montfort University) and the Third Supervisor is Dr Catherine Troiano (National Trust).

Project description

The National Trust cares for photography collections, numbering over 400,000 image-objects across approximately 250 sites, most of which are under-recognised and under-researched. Spanning the 1840s to the twenty-first century, these photographs are uniquely placed to illuminate social and (globalised) national values through themes such as status, family, travel, leisure, work and labour.

Employing existing image-led digital technologies, Distilling the Photographic Mass: Photography and Digital Heritage at the National Trust is designed to consolidate the National Trust’s photography collections as a means to tease out their dynamic cultural significance in the past and present day. While the National Trust has already digitized part of the photography collections, their potential relevance and employment as digital heritage for public engagement requires exploration and clarification. The project will therefore give particular attention to the question of how digital technologies can diversify audiences, deepen understanding of imperial-era holdings and, as a consequence, foreground less visible aspects of British heritage more broadly. In answering this and related questions, it is intended that the project will demonstrate how digital image cultures may assist heritage industries in fulfilling their aims and social obligations.

As part of the studentship, the successful applicant will have access to the professionally rewarding and challenging institutional environment at the National Trust. They will be given in-house professional training of relevance to their research and have opportunities to gain hands-on understanding of curatorial practices at one of the world’s most renowned heritage institutions. The project is therefore equally designed to equip the successful applicant with subject-specific academic and professional skills alike.

Applicants must:

  • Possess a UK Honours degree with at least an upper second class (or overseas equivalent), a Masters Degree or an academic or professional qualification plus experience in their sector or industry.
  • Demonstrate competence in the use of the English language. Please see section 5b here for further details on meeting our English language entry criteria.

How to apply

This is a two-stage application process:


Please send the following documents to

  • A completed DMU Scholarship Application Form (NOTE: the form downloads automatically as a Word document as soon as you click the link)
  • A 2 page CV
  • 2 Academic References (NOTE: the Academic Reference Form downloads automatically as a Word document as soon as you click the link)

Deadline for stage 1: Monday 21 June 2021


Shortlisted candidates will be contacted to undergo an interview; successful candidates will be required to submit a full application through the DMU PGR Application Portal

Deadline for full application: 21 July 2021

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